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Clair Van Zeelt

Obituary for Clair Van Zeelt

February 14, 1934 - June 6, 2020
Holland, Michigan | Age 86


Livestream link for Clair's service

Clair Van Zeelt, age 86, of Holland, entered his heavenly home on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

Clair's passion was sharing his faith. At age 40, his involvement with Prison Ministry dramatically impacted his life. The faith that was planted as an 11-year old, blossomed as he walked with other men who were hungry for the gospel.

To read Clair's testimony in his own words, please read below.

Clair is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Diana Van Zeelt, children: Beth (Jeff) Fink, Mark (Theresa) Van Zeelt, Cathy (Mike) Van Donselaar, Kristin (Scott) Driesenga; 12 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren; brother, Fred Van Zeelt; sister-in-law: Grace (Dave) Altena; as well as many extended family and friends. Clair was preceded in death by his sister, Marilyn Baar.

There will be a private family funeral to honor Clair's faith and life. Following the service, friends are invited to join the family at Beechwood Reformed Church, 895 Ottawa Beach Road, Holland, MI 49424 at noon on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Along with an opportunity for public viewing, there will be an outdoor gathering of celebration and remembrance.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to Bible League International, Bethshan Association, or Beechwood Reformed Church. Arrangements are by Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home, 315 East 16th Street, Holland, MI 49423.

Autobiography and testimony of Clair Van Zeelt

To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

I was born to Christian parents, Henrietta and Bernard Van Zeelt. I have one sister, Marilyn who has passed, and one special needs brother, Fred. I married the love of my life, and partner in service and ministry, Diana, over 60 years ago. She has stood by me faithfully and lovingly all those years. That marriage resulted in 4 children (Beth, married to Jeff, Mark, married to Theresa, Cathy, married to Michael, and Kristin married to Scott), 12 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. I have an impressive family tree of 33.

I graduated high school at age 17 on a Friday night, and Saturday morning I was employed by my father at his garden store. I worked there until I was 30 years old. Then I worked 4 years at Standard Oil, and then worked for 32 years as an Allstate Insurance agent. I was successful as an agent, earning a few awards. I lived in Chicago during my childhood and raised my family in the suburbs of Chicago. I am a Cub fan and a Bear fan, and always will be. I am a conservative Republican. I loved to ski and bike. At age 40, I became involved in Prison Ministry which had a dramatic effect on my spiritual life.

If this is all you know about me, you only know the surface. This is not what defines me, or what makes me who I am. I am a Child of God, purchased in full by the blood of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit! That happened at age 11 when I invited Christ into my heart. It was a quiet transformation with a lasting impact. No one knew, but God and I. However, this answered the most important questions humans ask themselves, "Who am I?", and "What am I doing here?". My answers are not based on my accomplishments, money, or my vocation, but my answers are based in Jesus Christ. I am a child of God, here to do his work. Yes, I was an Allstate Insurance Agent, a Cubs fan, a Bears fan, a Republican, a skier and a bicycler, but those do not tell you the deepest and most fundamental thing about me. Those are all facade. My true identity is in Christ.

From age 11 to age 43 I lived a comfortable, Christian life, but mostly I went through the motions. Then God gave me a new calling through John 15. Verse 16a says" You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit- fruit that would last" and verse 8 says "This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples." God placed that calling heavily on my heart, and I became involved with Prison Ministries, and I stayed involved in it for many years. My own spiritual walk deepened as I walked with other men who were hungry for the good news of the gospel.

For years, when I read Proverbs 3: 8 & 9, "Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine," I thought that God would give material blessings to those who gave to Christian causes. However, now I believe that those barns that are full, and those vats that are running over, are full of the faces of people, all sorts of people wearing white robes, that have also come to the saving knowledge of Christ.

So, brothers and sisters, find your identity in Christ and commit your lives to live for him. Listen for God's calling on your life that you may be used by him to bear much fruit. May you have your own story to tell of how God has blessed you to overflowing.

You brother in Christ,


Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Bible League International
    Bibles for Mexico
    1 Bible League Plaza
    Crete, IL 60417-9902

Arrangements By

Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423
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