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Howard (Chic) Wesley Van Essen
May 4, 1934 ~ July 13, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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On July 13, 2023, Howard “Chic” Van Essen went to the loving arms of his Lord and Savior. He was 89 years old, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend and will be missed by those who loved him.
Howard Wesley Van Essen was born on May 4, 1934, to Henry Jr. and Frekea (Jelgerhuis) Van Essen on the family farm east of Edgerton. He had two older sisters, Grace and Gezena (Jo), one younger sister, Rose, and one younger brother, Larry. He attended school through the eighth grade and in his teens, helped his dad and local farmers. Mouw’s Hatchery was his first “real” job. Here he received his lifelong nickname “Chic”.
On December 30, 1953, Howard and Mary (Schelhaas) Van Essen were united in marriage. They lived on Mechanic Street in Edgerton their entire married life. Blessed with six daughters, Howard would wait for his sons to arrive when his daughters married. His daughters always lived within twelve miles of him. Howard led his family by his example to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. He also taught his daughters good work ethics.
For 42 years, Howard worked for Brink Implement in Edgerton. He enjoyed chatting with the customers, always quick with a story or joke to tell. Howard also sold monuments for Family Memorials, comforting families during their time of bereavement.
Throughout his life, Howard was active in his church and community serving on Edgerton First CRC Council, SWC School Board, Edgerton City Council, ambulance, M-2 Prison Ministries, Pro-Life, Edgerton Burial Association, and Gideons. He worked 18 years with the Hope Haven Wheelchair Ministry. Howard had the opportunity to
spread God’s love while delivering wheelchairs to
Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Macedonia.
On October 11, 2017, Mary passed away. God knew Howard was lonely and He provided him a new love. On February 23, 2019, Howard and Judy Koets Zwart were united in marriage. They enjoyed car rides together while discovering new roads and sites which usually ended up at a good place to eat. Howard was always appreciative of Judy’s gentle loving care throughout their marriage.
Nothing brought more joy to Howard’s life than family. As Howard’s family grew through his children’s marriages and the arrival of 24 grandchildren and their spouses and 45 great-grandchildren, his love multiplied. He was an avid fan of anything they did and enjoyed attending activities with which they were involved.
Grateful to have shared his love and life are his wife, Judy, six daughters Beva (Larry) Snyder, Edgerton; Deb (Rod) Christians, Edgerton; Gwen (Clyde) Kreun, Chandler;
Barb (Alan) Van’t Hof, Leota; Sharla (Leon) Vander Woude, Chandler; Lori (Mark) Boeve, Edgerton; his sisters, Jo Vander Werf and Rose (Duane) Koele, Sioux Center IA; his brother, Larry Van Essen, Visalia CA; Judy’s children, Valerie (Vince) Vander Top, Champlin; Preston Zwart,
New Hope; many brothers and sisters in Christ.
Howard was preceded in death by his wife Mary of 64 years; his parents Henry and Frekea Van Essen; his sister Grace Corbin; Mary’s parents Peter and Cornelia
Schelhaas; brothers-in-law Ralph Corbin, William Vander Werf, Peter Schouten; and sister-in-law Betty Van Essen.