James (aka Jim, Jimmy, weenie, and pump-handle) VanderVeen, 80, of Sheboygan Falls passed away on April 10, 2018.

With the patience of Job, his very long wait of 8 years, 4 months and 9 days is finally over and he has been reunited with his wife Ruth “mother”, the love of his life.

He was born in Sheboygan on July 31, 1937 to Gerhard and Hilda (Schaar) VanderVeen and welcomed, adored and battered by his 4 older sisters Marcy, Dee, Helen and Marlene; younger sister Betty would give him what-for in the years to follow.

Except for the time in which he served his country, Jim lived his entire life in Sheboygan Falls. In his youth, he delivered milk by horse and wagon for the Sheboygan Falls Creamery Co. and did a couple of “grease-monkey gigs” before enlisting in the U.S. Army in March 1955. After traipsing around Europe, he was drawn back home where he eventually met his future everything. As he would say, she was “so thin she could stand in the rain sideways and not get wet” and “possessed a voice deep enough to sing baritone”--apparently, these are the keys to a successful marriage. Married on June 27,1959 at The Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. They shared the kind of love and a life together that could consume a person with envy; that is if not already overwhelmed with tears as their beautiful love story unfolded right before our eyes. After 50 years together, Ruth lost her battle with cancer and left Jim broken-hearted but not alone. His children, grandchildren and the occasional straggler denied him peace and quiet as they congregated around his kitchen table every Saturday morning seeking mediocre pancakes and cheap coffee. After 436 Saturdays, he never tired of it and it came to become a highlight for each and every one of them.

Jim worked at the Kohler Co. for almost 40 years and packed his tool box one last time in January 1998. He made a fine housewife before Ruth joined him in retirement in 2006. Not one to take retirement lightly, he kept himself busy and out of mischief with endless projects. Anyone who knew him well, was made richer with the fruits of his labor. Everything from beehives to wine-racks and each one tagged with a penny from the year it was made. He claimed this ensured that all of his work was worth at least 1 cent.

Regarding all of that “stuff” he refused to throw away (regardless of any argument to purge), it would in the end haunt each and every one of his children and grand-children. By the grace of ingenuity, he would eventually re-purpose portions of his collection for undertakings in each of their own homes. Leaving them speechless and in awe as apparently father really does know best. And now those doting children are left wondering what the heck to do with it all, since each lacks their father’s vision for any potential from a partial roll of rusted chicken wire.

Jim is survived by his above-average children; the nurturing Faye (Jeff) Flom of Sheboygan Falls, the generous Joy (Earl) Mueller of Manitowoc, the well-intended Gail VanderVeen of Kohler and care-giver-extraordinaire, Gary VanderVeen of Sheboygan Falls. He is also survived by the bestlooking grandchildren, Katie (David) Martin, Therese (friend Nick Schipper) Gabrielse, Jared Flom; and greatgrandchildren, Aaron and Seth Wade; two sisters, Helen Winter of Appleton and Betty Schirpke of Marshfield; and one sister-in-law, Judy Bruggink of Menasha, and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth (Onnink) VanderVeen; an infant daughter Nancy; parents, Gerhard and Hilda (Schaar) VanderVeen; father and mother-in-law Reuben and Olive (Bloomers) Onnink; three sisters, Marcella (Harold) Hopp, Delores Krueger, Marlene (Jim) Gross; and two brothers-in-law, Bob Winter and Owen Bruggink.

A tremendous and heartfelt thank-you to all of the truly wonderful health care providers who lovingly assisted him through so very, very much. A special thanks to Jeffrey Tomasini MD, Cheruppolil Santhosh-Kumar MD, Ron Rekowski RN, Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice staff and most certainly “doctor” Brenda Mauer RN.

A funeral to celebrate Jim’s life will take place at the Wenig Funeral Home in Sheboygan Falls on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 10 am. Burial will follow at Sheboygan Falls Cemetery.

Friends and family can visit at the Wenig Funeral Home on Friday from 4-7 pm, and on Saturday from 9 am until the time of the service at 10 am.

For online condolences and additional information please visit www.wenigfh.com

A memorial fund is being established in his memory to the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice.

The staff of the Wenig Funeral Home in Sheboygan Falls is serving the VanderVeen family.

Have the mints ready, Ruthie‚“he’s coming for you!

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