Life Story / Obituary
Donald Linders was the type of person you would be proud to call friend and would be even luckier to call husband, dad, or grandpa. Described as a father figure to many and a devoted Christian who would help anyone in need, he proudly gave of his time and resources without reserve. He was a man of great integrity and commitment who loved serving others. Don’s life was richly blessed by the many relationships he nurtured and there is no doubt he will be deeply missed.
In the year 1939, Lou Gehrig retired from the New York Yankees, the much-loved classic film, The Wizard of Oz held its Hollywood premiere, and the first commercial air flight crossed the Atlantic Ocean. In the small town of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Gerard and Mary (Louis) Linders welcomed home their newborn son, Donald, on February 10th. His birth brought much happiness to the family home.
Don lived a typical childhood of the times where his father worked tirelessly as a mason and his mother was a homemaker. He learned the value of a hard day’s work at an early age and began working as a young adolescent at a local drugstore where he once saved enough money working as the soda jerk to buy himself a horse. With an ambitious mindset, he graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and set off to make a successful career in banking. Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the woman of his dreams, Judy! The two of them met at the popular drive-in restaurant, Schwartz’s on Westnedge in the sixties. Judy had heard of Don before they first met and the two of them hit it off right from the start! Eager to settle down and start a family, the happy couple joined in marriage just a few days shy of Don’s twenty-second birthday, on February 4, 1961. They were blessed with four wonderful children; Lori, Dave, Mike, and Dan.
As a father, he shared his passion for being outdoors and his love of horses. For part of their growing years, they lived on a small family farm with many animals. He taught his children the value of enjoying nature and never taking anything for granted. As a provider, he worked his way up the banking ladder to branch manager working for several different branches during his career. It was important to him and Judy to raise their children with a strong faith life and they attended the First Presbyterian Church. Don shared in many of the household responsibilities as well often cooking meals for the family including his delicious chicken and biscuits as well as homemade fudge. In the winter months, he favored ice fishing. As a treat, he and Judy loved to cook up his fresh catch! In the summers, Don would travel up to Canada with a group of friends and fish to their heart’s delight! No matter what challenges came their way as a family, Don always met it with a light heart and faithful prayer. He modeled for each of his children the importance of gathering together and having gratitude for all that life had to offer.
When Don finally retired from his years of banking in the year 1995, he turned to many of his special interests. He found great pleasure in working in his yard and tending to his large vegetable garden. Known to grow an abundant supply of tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers, green peppers, and raspberries, his neighbors looked forward to whatever he shared when it came time to harvest them. Nothing tasted better than a fresh pick from Don’s efforts in the garden! Athletic by nature, Don also played a significant amount of tennis over the years. He bowled for a while, but tennis was by far his favorite physical activity. He and Judy wintered in Gulf Shores, Alabama each winter where he continued his love of the game. A lover of the great outdoors, a perfect day for Don included fishing in the morning hours and playing tennis in the afternoons. Gulf Shores also afforded him the opportunity to visit many different restaurants where he would often try to replicate the dishes when he returned home. Remarkably, he and Judy went to the Iowa nationals for square dancing! Dancing kept him from sitting idle and they both loved the entertainment as well as the lasting friendships they made over the years.
Hard to believe he ever had a chance to relax, but when he did, he treasured the peacefulness of many art forms. Don had a natural artistic ability and loved to spend hours drawing, especially horses. He enjoyed listening to Southern gospel music as well as a variety of piano music. Above all else, Don was most content when he was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He found great pride in each and every one of them. Sharing in their successes and experiencing their unique personalities always brought him comfort. Don wanted nothing less than the very best for his family. Described as hard-working, generous, humorous, as well as supportive, Don leaves behind a rich legacy of loving unconditionally and seeing the good in everyone. May his loved ones always feel his warm embrace and encouragement as they move on without his physical presence.
Donald P. Linders, age 79, of Vicksburg, MI went peacefully to be with his Lord and Savior on January 20, 2019. Surviving Don are his loving wife, Judy; their children: Lori (Kevin) VanDyke, Dave (Laura) Linders; Mike (Donna) Linders, and Dan Linders; grandchildren: Ashley (Leland) Lickfelt, Jordan (Katelyn) VanDyke, Matthew (Kristina) VanDyke, Zackery Linders, Joshua Linders, Chelsea Linders, Kylie Linders and Jeremy Linders; siblings: Howard Linders, Richard (Nancy) Linders, Karen (Bill) Kannegieter; sister-in-law: Ruth Linders; and many special nieces and nephews. Don is preceded in death by his parents, Gerard and Mary; siblings; Jack Linders, Mary-Beth Wyant, Judy Smith; sister and brother-in-law: Marilyn and Herb Roseboom; sister-in-law: Leatha Linders; and granddaughter, Kara Linders. The family will receive friends on Friday, January 25 from 4 pm to 7 pm at McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main St. Vicksburg, MI 49097 (269-649-1697). The memorial service will be held the following day, January 26 at 11 am at the First Presbyterian Church in Schoolcraft. Please visit Don’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can sign the guestbook and archive photo or share a memory. Those who wish may make contributions to the Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or the First Presbyterian Church of Schoolcraft or other charity of your choice.