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John & Phyllis Vander Wert


Phyllis Vander Wert

April 16, 1929 – August 8, 2022

Phyllis Anne (Van Hemert) Vander Wert was born April 16, 1929,  to William and Thelma Van Hemert, in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Phyllis attended and graduated from Pella Community Schools.  John and Phyllis were united in marriage on September 2, 1948 at the home of Phyllis' parents.  To this union, four sons were born: Randall Jay, John William, Terry Alan, and Craig David.  John and Phyllis made their home in Pella. Together, they purchased The Garden Square restaurant on the south side of the square.  While owning the restaurant, John also became a rural letter carrier. In 1956, they sold the restaurant and relocated to Council Bluffs then to West Des Moines.  As happy as they were to be closer to home in West Des Moines, Pella was their true home.  They returned to Pella where John continued to work for the Postal Service until 1966 when he started working for Vermeer.  In 1962, when their youngest son started kindergarten, Phyllis started working as the school secretary at Webster Elementary School.  She remained there until 1978 when she became a full-time homemaker and travel companion to John.  They enjoyed travelling together both for business and pleasure.  One of their favorite places to visit was the Lake of the Ozarks where they went on their honeymoon.  Together, they purchased a lake home in Osage Beach MO, where they enjoyed making great memories and wonderful friends. They also enjoyed wintering at their home in Arizona for many years.  Phyllis was a long-standing member of First Reformed Church in Pella where she was active for many years.  Phyllis enjoyed golfing, playing bridge, attending Pella High and Central College sporting events, bible studies, women's social groups, and every day journaling.  John and Phyllis were married for 72 years until John passed in November of 2020.  Phyllis was patiently waiting to be reunited with John and her life was forever changed after his passing.  


John Vander Wert

December 6, 1928 - November 29, 2020

John J. Vander Wert, Jr. was born on December 6, 1928, at the Mercy Hospital in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He was the oldest of five children that were born to John E. and Henrietta (Steenhoek) Vander Wert. John was raised on the Vander Wert family farm east of Pella, Iowa and during his early years enjoyed working with animals and machinery. He attended Pleasant View Country School and graduated from Pella High School with the Class 1946. He was a member of 4-H and Future Farmers of America, raising hogs for his projects. He earned an FFA Iowa Farmer Award and was active with the agriculture program judging hogs, cattle, and horses. He then attended Central College in Pella majoring in business and mathematics. On September 2, 1948, he married Phyllis Ann Van Hemert at her parent's, William and Thelma Van Hemert, home in Pella. To this union four sons were born: Randall Jay, John William, Terry Alan, and Craig David. On June 5, 1952, his parents, John and Henrietta, and his youngest sister, Bonnie, were killed in a tragic automobile accident near Pella that claimed the lives of six people. John and Phyllis purchased the Garden Square Café on the south side of the square in Pella in 1950. In 1956 he started working for the United States Government with the postal service in Pella. Then in 1966 he began working in the Accounting Department at Vermeer Manufacturing Company in Pella. John, along with his accounting responsibilities, became a sales representative for the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada in 1969. He was very much involved in setting up and starting many of the current Vermeer dealerships. John earned his pilot’s license in 1967. He spent many hours flying to the dealerships and bringing many customers to the factory. John had better that 8000 hours flying the Vermeer planes. John, with his business discipline and acumen, later joined Gary Vermeer in the Development & Research Department as Vice President of Research & Development. He was very involved in the development of the large round hay baler which revolutionized the haying industry. John became Vice President of Sales & Marketing in 1976 where he was involved the rest of his career at Vermeer Manufacturing Company, retiring in December of 1994. Following his retirement John continued to use his time wisely. He became President of Bos Landen Development during the development and early days of operation. He was active in the Pella Community throughout his life. He served on the Pella City Council for 8 years and on a committee to plan the future of Pella.

He assumed leadership roles with Central Club, Kiwanis Club, Fair Haven West and served on the boards of Pella Recreation Commission, Cross Roads, Dollars for Scholars, Boy Scouts of America, Pella Regional Health Center for 25 years, and the First Reformed Church consistory. John was inducted into the Pella Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame for Business & Industry, received the Pella Community Service Award, and awarded the Central College Service and Stewardship Award. John was a member of the National Safety Council for Agriculture & Construction Equipment and was recognized in the book of Who’s Who for Business & Industry. John was an avid sports fan and an enthusiastic supporter of both Pella High and Central College sporting events. He was recognized as the “fan of the year” in 2017 by the Pella Community Schools. For the past several years he spent many hours taking long walks around Pella, stopping to visit with friends along the way until his death on Sunday, November 29, 2020, at the Pella Regional Health Center at the age of 91 years. He enjoyed very much going to the Central College Fitness Center to work out with his friends, coaches and athletes, as well as golfing. The highlight of his day was meeting his “coffee buddies” at Int’ Veld’s Meat Market and Happy Joe’s for the fellowship and gossip in the community. During his life John experienced losses that tested his tenacity and faith, the tragic deaths of his parents and youngest sister, Bonnie, and sons, Terry in 1983 at the age of 28 years and Craig in 2010 at the age of 54 years.

Those left to cherish their memory. . .

Arlene VanderWert (late Randy VanderWert)

     Chad VanderWert

John W. VanderWert

     Tiffany and Joel Ehler

          Alex and Aanna

     Travis and Julie Vander Wert

          Parker, Logan and Cooper

Karla VanderWert (late Craig VanderWert) and family

     Angela Remer

          Katen and Ana

     Tonya and Dan Schutte

           Wyatt and Hailey

      Aaron and Arenda Van Whye

            Kylee, Kody, Karter, and Karson

Phyllis and John were preceded in death by their sons Randy, Terry and Craig, her parents William and Thelma Van Hemert, his parents John E. and Henrietta Vander Wert, brothers and sisters: Dale (Arlene) Van Hemert, Bonnie Vander Wert, Shirley Rhode, Loren Vander Wert, Evan (Linda) Vander Wert.



To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


October 8, 2022

1:30 PM
Oakwood Cemetery
1308 Columbus Street
Pella, IA 50219


To the family for future designation

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