Dr. Margaret DeWitt Van Wylen

  • Born: August 5, 1924
  • Died: August 4, 2018
  • Location: Holland, Michigan

Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423

Tel. (616) 392-2306

Tribute & Message From The Family

Dr. Margaret DeWitt Van Wylen of Holland died on Saturday, August 4, 2018, one day shy of her 94th birthday. As a loving and lovable wife, a creative and caring mother, an adored grandmother and great grandmother, a woman of deep and abiding faith, a treasured First Lady of Hope College, a trusted physician, and a greatly appreciated friend and community member, her earthly life will be will be sorely missed.

Margaret was born in Grand Haven and graduated from Grand Haven High School in 1942. She was a 1945 graduate of Duke University and attended Biblical Seminary in New York City for a year before entering the University of Michigan Medical School. As she was completing her medical degree, Margaret contracted tuberculosis; the illness hospitalized her for 16 months and delayed her graduation from medical school. She graduated in 1952, but rather than pursuing medicine at that time, she devoted herself to her home and family, returning to medicine in 1975 to complete her internship and residency in psychiatry before pursuing a medical career.

She retired from a widely appreciated career as a psychiatrist in 1994, having served on the staff of Holland Hospital, Ottawa County Community Mental Health, and Child and Family Services. She also maintained a private practice.

From 1972-1987, Margaret distinguished herself as the First Lady of Hope College, where her husband Gordon served as the President. She is remembered for her warmth and grace, hosting countless guests who visited the President's House, including students, faculty, staff, trustees, friends of Hope College, and members of the Holland community. Faculty, staff and friends of Hope established the Gordon J. and Margaret Van Wylen Scholarship Fund at Hope in 1982 in honor of the couple's service to the college, and Hope presented Margaret with an honorary degree during the college's Commencement ceremony in 1987. One year later, in 1988, Hope unveiled its new library, named in honor of both Margaret and Gordon. The college's Alumni Association presented the couple with Meritorious Service Awards in 1998.

Through the years, Margaret was extensively involved in the community, where among other activities she was a member of the boards of Hospice, Community Action House, and Evergreen Commons, and an administrative elder at Christ Memorial Church. For seven years she was a Kids Hope Tutor at Van Raalte School. Prior to moving to Holland, Margaret helped launch and was deeply involved in the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church and, with Gordon, hosted and led a Bible study for years for international students.

In recognition of the remarkable manner in which she balanced family and professional life, she was named "Michigan Mother of the Year" by the Michigan Mothers Association in 1980. Along with husband Gordon, Margaret was the grand marshal for Holland's Tulip Time Volksparade in May 2005.

Margaret, Margo, Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma, Doctor - Thank you for enriching and inspiring us by your attentive and empathetic listening, your wise counsel, your vibrant and profoundly personal faith, your enjoyment of all things big and small, your sparkle when up to something fun, and for gracing this earth for nearly 94 years with your kindness and compassion.

Margaret is survived by Gordon, her husband of 66 years, along with five children: Elizabeth (Jack) Rudenga, Steve (Kathy) Van Wylen; Ruth (Neil) Jasperse; Dave (Pat) Van Wylen, and Emily (Tim) Overway. In addition, Margaret has 16 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Visitation will be on Thursday, August 9, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home at 315 E. 16th St, Holland, MI. A memorial service will be held on Friday, August 10, at 11 a.m. at the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts at 221 Columbia Ave, Holland, MI.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be designated for the "Gordon J. and Margaret Van Wylen Scholarship Fund" for deserving students with financial need at Hope College or the "Dr. Margaret DeWitt Van Wylen Scholarship Fund" for female junior or senior pre-medical students (preference for those interested in serving in medical missions) at Hope College; for both funds online donation is possible at hope.edu/give. For more information, please visit www.langelandsterenberg.com.


Condolence & Memory Journal

After reading the obituary of this outstanding woman and her accomplishments throughout her life I will add one more attribute; humility. I recall attending an Intervarsity Fellowship conference many years ago when our daughter was young as were her children. My memory of Mrs. Van Wylen is of her sitting quietly beneath a tree darning socks during an afternoon break. She epitomized the Biblical worthy woman.

Posted by Lois Van Dahm - Kenosha, WI - Acquaintance   August 17, 2018

Posted by Sam Scholtens - Grant, MI   August 14, 2018

Posted by Thomas Bos - Palmetto, FL   August 14, 2018

Posted by Jim Lillian& Kuiper - ANN ARBOR, NM   August 12, 2018

Posted by Jim & Lillian Kuiper - ANN ARBOR, MI   August 12, 2018

Sincere sympathy to you, Gordon and your family

Posted by Roger Mulder - Holland, MI - Friend   August 10, 2018

We have lost an amazing person in Margaret Van Wylen. In every respect she was a special. As a neighbor for many years in Ann Arbor, a faculty member under Gorden Van Wylen and as a former board member at Hope, I saw an absolutely astounding woman who lived her life as a true Christian and outstanding woman. My wife Carol and I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Van Wylen family. We grieve with you but also realize she is now in a special place with our Lord and Savior. Hallelujah! Carol and Dave Cole

Posted by David Cole - Ann Arbor, MI - Friend   August 08, 2018

We feel so sorry for your loss of Margaret, your loving wife, mum and grand mum. So unreal that she really passed away....We are convinced that there are so many good memories but for this moment we can understand so well that you are all very sad. We are very greatful that we have got the opportunity to know Margaret and we will never forget her and the good times we had together!

Wish you all many strength, especially during the memorial service on Friday 10th. We are with you in our minds and prayers.

Love from your Dutch Family, Dick, Corrie, Anne, Silke, Bep, Joop, Jeanette and André.

Posted by A friend   August 07, 2018

I will miss my Margaret and doing her hair each Wednesday at Freedom Village beauty shop. We would chuckle that if I got her face wet while trying to wash her hair; that I was throwing in a free facial or that I was re-baptizing her. We talked and sang some old hymns and I truly loved her..... no more pain my Miss Margaret....I was so blessed to know you and you made me stronger in my faith to know that whatever situation I am facing that Jesus loved me and I promise to always take care of Gordon's haircuts.
Oh my lovely butterfly that fluttered into my life... I hope I gave you a bit of joy doing your hair the last year you forever imprinted a small piece of yourself on to me. You are free! I will miss you......

Posted by Dawn Bosch - Holland, MI - Family Friend   August 07, 2018

Aunt Margaret was and will always be a major influence in my life. She will be greatly missed. But I rejoice that she is in Heaven.

Posted by Ann Beck - Pensacola, FL   August 06, 2018

Long before it became vogue to discuss a work / life balance Dr. Margaret Van Wylen lived it she made a difference supporting her family and her community. The world is a better place because she was here. Thank you for setting a high standard for all of us to aspire. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Posted by Jon Lunderberg - Grandville, MI - Friend   August 06, 2018

Dr. Margaret van Wylen has left a wonderful and blessed legacy. I will always remember her wonderful hospitality to the faculty at the presidents home on Hope's campus.

Posted by Anne Larsen - Holland, MI - Family Friend   August 05, 2018

Family Album