Life Story Funeral Homes®
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Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Charles VanZoeren

June 1, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI




VAN ZOEREN, Charles Andrew, age 92, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed away on June 1, 2024, in his home at the Heritage Community in Kalamazoo.

Charles was born on November 1, 1931 in Holland, Michigan, the son of Albert and Irene (Van Zanten) Van Zoeren. A graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School class of 1949, he attended Kalamazoo College and then graduated from Ripon College, in Ripon, Wisconsin, where he met his wife, Joan. They were married on June 12, 1954, in Chicago, Illinois on his weekend pass from the U.S. Army and began their lives together at Fort Bliss, Texas, settling in Kalamazoo in 1956.

His entire career was with the family company, Alvan Motor Freight, Inc., headquartered in Kalamazoo, with local freight terminals through Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and in Chicago, Illinois. When the company closed in 2008, he published a company history "It was a Good Run", that he deeply enjoyed writing and distributing to former employees and friends.

Active in the community, he was past president of the Kalamazoo Jaycees, past chairman of the Kalamazoo County Chamber of Commerce, and served on local boards, including the YMCA and the Gilmore International Piano Festival. He was a longtime member of the Kalamazoo Rotary Club and Trinity Lutheran Church, singing in the choir for over 50 years. He and Jo enjoyed many winters in Florida. Among his activities were politics and government at all levels, tennis, biking, skiing, choral singing, local theater, and writing the book, several journals through the years and many delightful rhyming poems to recognize special occasions and holidays.

Chuck and Jo travelled extensively throughout all of the United States and also parts of all seven continents in the world, including Antarctica. They volunteered for Rotary International projects in India and Haiti, and for extensive Lutheran Church relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, in 2005-06. They took a sabbatical from business in the mid-1980s to Washington, DC where he served as interim Executive Director of Business for Executives for National Security for one year. Additionally, for 30 years he served as a trustee of his and Jo's alma mater, Ripon College.

He was preceded in death by his wife in 2018, parents, brother Paul and sister-in-law Joyce Van Zoeren, sister Dorothy and brother-in-law William Beardmore, nephew Alan Beardmore and niece Nancy (Mark) Koch.

Charles is survived by sons James (Cynthia) Van Zoeren, Thomas (Rebecca) Van Zoeren and daughter Carol Van Zoeren, four grandchildren Eliza (Nick) Kinni and Caroline, AJ and Jenna Van Zoeren, plus nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday July 29, 2024 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 504 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. Memorials may be sent to Trinity Lutheran Church, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, the Heritage Community of Kalamazoo, 2400 Portage St., Kalamazoo, MI 49001 or a charity of your choice. To view Chuck's personalized webpage please visit