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Vander Heide, Jan S. (1905-1988) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Vander Heide, Jan S. (1905-1988)

Historical Note:

Jan S. Vander Heide was born in Grand Haven, Michigan on May 6, 1905. The Vander Heide family moved to Chicago and then to New Jersey. While growing up in New Jersey, Vander Heide was a successful high school basketball player. Later on in 1974, Vander Heide and his old teammates would even be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After high school, Vander Heide made his way back to west Michigan to enter Calvin College. At Calvin, Vander Heide met his bride-to-be Anne Heyboer. Anne's father was the owner of Holland American Wafer Co. and Vander Heide began to work for his future father-in-law as the company's East Coast salesman. In 1943 he began his long service as the chief executive officer of the wafer company, which he would serve until his death.

When World War II broke out, Vander Heide began working for the federal government in the Office of Price Administration. During the Korean War would serve as the director of foods for the U.S. Department of Commerce. He was on special assignment to development a biscuit that would survive for years in bomb shelters.

Vander Heide was also very involved in the Grand Rapids community. He served as president of the Grand Rapids Symphony Society board of directors. He also helped in the early development stages of the Christian school system. He even arranged for the Queen and Prince of the Netherlands to visit Grand Rapids in 1952.

Due to an apparent heart attack, Jan S. Vander Heide died on August 23, 1988. He was survived by his wife, Anne, their 4 children, and their grandchildren.

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