Cover photo for Alvin "Al" Vandenberg's Obituary
Alvin "Al" Vandenberg Profile Photo
1923 Alvin 2023

Alvin "Al" Vandenberg

October 19, 1923 — December 3, 2023

Alvin Peter “Al” Vandenberg was born on October 19, 1923. He grew up on his family’s farm in Freedom, Wisconsin, where he attended Saint Nicholas Catholic School. Even as a very young boy, his father gave him tasks to let him help out on the farm. As he grew older, he assumed more responsibility for the farm, which produced almost all of their food. He learned to use horse-drawn implements like plows before they eventually switched to tractors. To supplement his income from the farm, he worked at a variety of businesses in the community. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping.

During World War II, his conscription into the Army was deferred so he could keep the farm running, since by then, his father was too old to do it on his own. In 1949, after training at Camp McCoy, he was stationed in Washington state for a year, then returned home and spent several years in the Army Reserve.

On a blind date arranged by his friends, he met Leona Brown, who would become his wife on May 25, 1954. With her encouragement, he quit farming and took a job at the paper mill in Combined Locks. There he became a skilled welder.

Al and Leona had three children, Daniel, Sue and Dennis, who consider him to be a wonderful father. In 1972, they moved from Freedom to De Pere. Their new house was significantly smaller than their old one, so it was rather cramped at first. Al, with some help from his family, built two large additions to that house, turning it into the loving home where his children continue to live, surrounded by constant reminders of both his skill as a craftsman and his care for them.

In De Pere, he joined Saint Mary Parish, remaining a member even when the church was relocated to Ledgeview.

After thirty-eight years, he retired from the mill. To keep himself busy, he became a handyman doing assorted jobs for many of his elderly neighbors. He also enjoyed traveling, especially to Tennessee to enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. When he was home, he spent much of his time doing woodworking in his garage. He did many different projects, but letter-openers became his specialty. He made a large number of these, being sure that everyone in his family had one.

In 2013, after fifty-nine years of marriage, his wife Leona died. Losing her was difficult and as he moved into his nineties, he faced more challenges to his health and abilities, but with the support of his children, he persevered. On October 19 of this year, Al reached the goal he had long set for himself and celebrated his 100th birthday with his children and his special sister-in-law, Nancy. Sadly, in the middle of November, his health took a sudden turn for the worse and he died on December 3.

Al is preceded in death by his wife, Leona Irene (Brown) Vandenberg, father, Gilbert Vandenberg, mother Mary (Vanden Eng) Vandenberg, father-in-law Edwin Brown, mother-in-law Elinora (Reschke) Brown, step-brothers, William Vandenberg (Hilda), Edward Vandenberg (Mary), step-sister Mary (Vandenberg) Geurts (Albert), brothers Sylvester Vandenberg (Ceil), Clarence Vandenberg (Lorraine), Leo Vandenberg (Marion/Merry Jo), sisters, Sister Germaine (Stella) Vandenberg, Regina (Vandenberg) Hendricks (Edward), Margaret Vandenberg, brothers-in-law, Leo Brown (Rose/Veronica), Cletus Verheyen and sister-in-law Loretta (Carter) Brown.

Al is survived by his children, Daniel Richard Vandenberg, Sue Ann Vandenberg, Dennis James Vandenberg, brothers-in-law, Harvey Brown, Richard Brown (Gail), sister-in-law Nancy (Brown) Verheyen, godson Gary Brown and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Al on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 11:00 am at St. Mary Catholic Church, 4805 Sportsman Dr, Ledgeview.

Al’s children would like to thank Prevea clinics and St. Vincent Hospital for caring for his health over the years. Woodside Lutheran Home for helping him recover from surgery earlier this year and Unity Hospice for making it possible for him to spend his last days at home with them.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Mass

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Mary Catholic Church - Ledgeview

4805 Sportsman Drive, De Pere, WI 54115

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