David John Vander Werff Sr., age 66, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and formerly of San Diego, California, passed away peacefully to be with the Lord on Wednesday, September 13, 2023. David was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a beloved son, husband, father, and grandfather, known for his unwavering faith and dedication to his family and friends.
David worked alongside his father on construction projects in Grand Rapids and then moved to San Diego where he was a construction superintendent with Vander Werff & Sons, a highly regarded general construction firm. They served the US Navy on over one hundred major projects throughout Southern California and Arizona. Some of his favorite military base projects included Top Gun at Miramar, El Toro, and North Island in Coronado, California. In the later years, David was honored to have his two sons DJ and Ryan join the company continuing the Vander Werff family tradition of father and sons working together.
David went on to start a residential specialty concrete business in San Diego. He worked solely on customer referrals as his creativity and custom design skills were highly regarded.
David, a modern-day cowboy, and member of the West Walker Sportsman Club had a love of antique firearms and ammunition and became an AGI Certified Arms Appraiser. He was known as one of the top antique ammo experts in the country. He traveled throughout the country to various antique firearm shows, meeting an allegiance of like-minded collectors who became lifelong friends.
David leaves behind a legacy of love and faith. He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Joyce Wickline Vander Werff; their daughter, Ashley Jensen (Kyle); and sons, David “DJ” Vander Werff II and Ryan Vander Werff (Jen Hill). A cherished grandfather to Remy Joy Jensen and soon to be born Wyatt Jensen who he was looking forward to with great anticipation. He is also survived by his mother, Grace Vander Werff; brothers, Peter Vander Werff, Edgar Vander Werff (Kelly), Randy Vander Werff (Tricia); sister, Nellie Osterwald (Art); and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and his beloved Pomeranians. He was preceded in death by his father, Clarence Vander Werff; uncles, Peter Vander Werff and Klaas Glas; aunts, Nell Glas and MaryAnn Vander Werff.
David attended Grand Rapids Christian High School and was a member of the varsity football team. His family then moved to Ada, Michigan, where David graduated from Forest Hills Central High School in the class of 1975. He continued his education at Davenport College earning a degree in Construction Management.
David found a church home at The Church at Rancho Bernardo in California. In the decades prior as David and his family grew and moved throughout California, he also found church homes at Saddleback Church in Forest Hills, and Skyline Church in San Diego.
A private Celebration of Life for David will be held at a later date.
David’s unwavering faith, servant’s heart, and loving spirit will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all who were fortunate enough to know him. May he find eternal peace in the arms of the Lord.
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