Rev. Walter de Velder, 1907-2005


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Published in the Post-Star on 2005/01/28, Glen Falls, Warren co. New York [Note. Rev. Walter de Velder, In 1973 Oct, Volunteer, Evangelism on East Coast, Taiwan. 1975 Aug. Assignment completed. Left Taiwan. 1979 Summer. Volunteer on East Coast, Taiwan. 1981. 3 months volunteer work on East Coast, Taiwan. ,,,,]

He was a lifelong missionary of the Reformed Church in America in China, the Philippines, ... In 1972 Walter and Harriet retired but soon volunteered to help in Taiwan..

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The Rev. Walter de Velder, 97, died Saturday, Jan. 22, 2005, in Saratoga Springs. He was a lifelong missionary of the Reformed Church in America in China, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Walter was born on May 17, 1907, in Boyden, Iowa to Franklin and Aartje de Velder.

He received his B.A. from Hope College, Holland, Michigan in 1929. After a three year mission assignment to Xiamen, China, he entered New Brunswick Theological Seminary, graduating in 1935. He won a fellowship to study at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. He was fluent in the Dutch language and eventually in Chinese.

Upon his return he was ordained and commissioned at First Reformed Church, New Brunswick, N.J. In 1936, his mission assignment was to Xiamen, China. In 1940, Walter's first wife, Margaret Otte, daughter of R.C.A. missionaries, died giving birth to a son, Philip. Later Walter married Harriet Boot, missionary nurse, also a daughter of China missionaries. Together they had four children.

Their lives were often filled with danger. In 1944, they became refugees and were flown over the Himalayas into India by the 14th Air Force of Chennault's Flying Tigers. At the end of World War II, in 1945, Walter, was asked to re-open the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which had been used by the German navy during the war years. Eventually returning to China they were once again forced to leave when the Communist took power in 1949. After four years in Cebu, Philippines, Walter and family moved to Hong Kong to work with the Church of Christ in China, Hong Kong Council. He helped refugees through Church World Service, taught at Chung Chi College, served as treasurer for many missions and was a chaplain to the U.S. Navy, who used Hong Kong for R & R.

In 1972, Walter and Harriet retired but soon volunteered to help in Taiwan. In 1981, they made a trip back to Xiamen, China, where they had reunions with Christian friends not seen for 30 years.

Since 1986, Walter lived at Embury Apartments in Saratoga Springs. He was a member of the Golden Kiwanis, volunteered at Wesley Health Care and was a member of the Old Saratoga Reformed Church, Schuylerville, and the R.C.A. Classis of Schenectady. Walter loved music and travel. He participated in the Hong Kong Oratorio Society for 17 years and made numerous trips around the world.

Walter's love for God translated into a great love for people. He was a loving missionary and friend, assisting countless numbers of people throughout his life.

His wife of 59 years, Harriet, and his son, Philip, preceded him in death. Survivors include one daughter and three sons and their families: Margaret and Edward Hougen of Boston, Mass. (children, Sarah and Edward); Dirck and Marielle de Velder of Paris, France (children, Marc, Sabrina and Alan); John de Velder of New Brunswick, N.J. (children, Rebecca and David); and David and Joyce de Velder of Schuylerville (children, Nathaniel and Mikael); great-grandchildren include: Vladimir, Maximillian, Fiona, Thomas, Tabitha, Theodore and Tristan.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at the Old Saratoga Reformed Church, Schuylerville. Burial will be at Prospect Hill Cemetery, Schuylerville.

Memorial contributions may be designated for missions in China, payable to Old Saratoga Reformed Church, 48 Pearl St., Schuylerville, NY 12871.



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