SIOUX CENTER—Walter Vander Wilt, 79, Sioux Center, died Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at UnityPoint Health — St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City. Walter had suffered from a variety of health issues for many years. His family rejoices that he is free from pain and now spending eternal life with his Heavenly Father.

There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Middleburg Free Grace Reformed Church, with the Rev. Mark Schwarz officiating. A private family burial will take place before the service at Capel Township Cemetery near Middleburg. Visitation with family present will be 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Memorial Funeral Home in Sioux Center.

Memorial money will be shared between the Luke Society and Middleburg Free Grace Reformed Church.

His first love was for his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He treasured time spent together as a family. He especially loved the annual fishing trip to Northern Minnesota. His fishing skills and accomplishments were often discussed (or rather bragged about) at the evening campfire.

His church family at Free Grace Reformed Church held a special place in his heart. He was honored to hold several church offices. He enjoyed visiting with the church family and especially enjoyed conversing with the young people. He also was thrilled to be the “church Santa” to the young children for over 30 years.

Walter was born Dec. 25, 1939, to Tony and Anna (Hollander) Vander Wilt in Middleburg. He attended country school from first through eighth grades. Then he attended high school in Sioux Center, graduating in 1957. It was at Northwestern College that he met Sharon Westenberg. They were married Dec. 23, 1961.

He felt it a privilege and honor to be a farmer. He enjoyed both the livestock and growing crops. Riding his horse to check on the stock cows and to check how the crops were doing was a favorite part of his day. He loved watching his grandkids play on the farm: playing with the puppies, building forts, riding horse and flying kites.

Walter loved nature. Hunting and fishing were passions from the time he was a young boy fishing in the West Branch Creek right up to his final years. Driving through the countryside, he was quick to remember which slough they had walked and how many birds he shot.

In 2008, Walter and Sharon moved from the family farm to Sioux Center. He could often be found back on the farm to “see how things were going” or to have a cigar on his tailgate watching the cattle in the pasture.

Walter was preceded in death by his parents, Tony and Anna (Hollander) Vander Wilt; his in-laws, Stanley and Helen (Kleinjan) Westenberg; sister and brother-in-law, Donna and Martin Jones; and sister-in-law, Bonnie (Westenberg) Pedersen.

He is survived by his wife of almost 58 years, Sharon Vander Wilt of Sioux Center; two children and their spouses, Melissa and Bill Reecher of Byron, IL and Marc and Tracy Vander Wilt of Sioux City, IA; his grandchildren, Zachary and Megan Reecher of Chicago, IL, Jacob Reecher of New Orleans, LA, Mitch, Mara, and Arlo Reecher of Colorado Springs, CO, Sophie Reecher of Toledo, OH, Wade and Marisa Vander Wilt of Denver, CO, Nick, Julia, Thomas and Vivienne Tillo of Sioux City, IA; sister, Frieda and Richard Olin of Chaska, MN; brothers-in-law, Harlan and Eilene Westenberg of Portland, OR, and John and Leah Westenberg of Missoula, MT; nieces, nephews and other extended family members.

He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was a friend, encourager, and a wonderful storyteller. He will be missed by many.