Wednesday, February 1, 2017
11:00 AM EST
West Leonard Christian Reformed Church
1053 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Friends may visit with Ev's family from 10 AM until 10:50 AM at the church, prior to the service.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Everhardt “Ev” Katerberg words such as pleasant, generous, and devoted quickly come to mind. Ev’s 94 years were filled with conviction, drive, accomplishment, and honor. A man firmly rooted in his faith, Ev lived his life in conscious service to others, especially his wife of 70 years, Jean; his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the larger community he volunteered in for many years. While Ev’s convictions ran deep he always had room to listen to others and often reserved his thoughts until compelled to speak his truth. Ev’s pride for his family was evident in his unfailing support, fine example, and generous heart. A man who gave much and will be missed even more.
The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace, a booming economy, rising wages for most Americans and falling consumer prices, resulted in a higher standard of living for most. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade when a person’s success was largely determined by their ability to identify their desires and then work to make them a reality. Locally, this vibrant decade grew even brighter when on August 13, 1922, John and Martha (Helmantel) Katerberg of Grand Rapids Township, welcomed their son Everhardt into their hearts and home.
Ev’s early childhood was spent in the good company of his parents and eight siblings on the family’s farm on Michigan Street just east of the East Beltline. As Dutch immigrants, Ev’s parents created their home on the firm foundation of faith, family, hard work, and service. Though Ev didn’t have much fondness for the labors his life on the farm centered around, he learned the value of hard work that it taught him and the opportunities to sell the vegetables he’d helped grow at the local farmers’ market. Like many children of the times, the Katerberg kids learned to make their own entertainment creatively using the resources on hand. Simple boards and hoops quickly turned into a railroad track rolling game, the barn roof became a partner in a game of catch, and fishing on Twin Lakes easy access to a day of leisurely good fun. Attendance at the simple one room Collins School and Dennis Ave. Christian Reformed Church afforded Ev both academic and spiritual communities in which to continue to grow the values he first learned in his loving home.
While working as an apprentice pipefitter at Midwest Refinery, Ev was introduced by a mutual friend to the love of his life, Jean (Scholten). Instantly smitten, and wise to recognize his good fortune, while driving Jean home he firmly declared that he would marry her and then take her to Mount Rushmore for their honeymoon. Despite his passionate intent, both work and courting were abruptly interrupted by the notice drafting Ev into Army Headquarters Company of the 96th Infantry. After being stationed at several West Coast camps, Ev proudly served in the 1944 amphibious invasion of the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines. In 1945 Ev participated in the largest amphibious landing in the Pacific theater of World War II; the battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg. This is where Ev earned a Purple Heart medal for the injuries he sustained during battle. Fortunately, he fully recovered from his injuries and safely returned home to Jean who had written to him every day he was away. Once home, Ev and Jean married on May 10, 1946, at Creston Christian Reformed Church. As Ev had promised, the couple traveled to the Black Hills for their honeymoon, enjoying the splendors of the Upper Peninsula and the Wisconsin Dells along the way.
The happy couple chose to build their marriage and family life in the Grand Rapids area. This is where they welcomed five children within a span of thirteen years; four sons, William, Kenneth, Steven, and Michael, and daughter Marilyn Joy. Ev and Jean complemented one another well raising their own children on the same firm foundational values of hard work and service they had both grown up with. They were active church members and sent all of their children to Christian School. Ev volunteered to alternately serve on both the church consistory and the school board. Throughout the years, the family enjoyed several vacations throughout the country and hold especially dear the memory of their dad working with four other families to renovate an old bus into the motorhome that transported them on several adventures.
As ways of supporting his family, Ev became a welder for Weidenfeller Engineering and then a journeyman plumber for Medema plumbing. In 1957, Ev put his tremendous skill set into building his own business, Katerberg Lawn Sprinkling. It is here that he enjoyed working with his sons, passing along his wealth of knowledge, and helping secure the funds to pay for their education. Upon retiring, Ev chose to use the building for office rentals. He enjoyed being the landlord to his tenants whom he treated as friends.
With more time on his hands, Ev broadened his service work by volunteering more often. He gave much of his time to the efforts of the World Renew's Disaster Response Services (CRWRC) where he embodied God’s love and brought hope to disaster-affected communities in North America by helping restore the homes and lives of others. Additionally, Ev generously served Senior Meals, ensuring that others had access to the food they needed. Ev was truly a willing servant; he was a man of faith who served as a good witness for his Lord and Savior. Retirement also afforded Ev more time to spend with the grandchildren he was so proud of. He relished in watching them participate in their various activities and especially taking them in small groups on short trips or having them for overnights.
Several years ago, Ev moved to the Christian Rest Home where he spent his final days surrounded by loving care and comfort within a treasured Christian fellowship. Ev's legacy of faith, love, and generosity, will clearly be recognized in his family's inherited good will towards others, nurturing and celebration of cherished relationships, and innate drive to live life in a way that consciously aids others.
Everhardt Katerberg (Ev), age 94, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on January 30, 2017. He was preceded in death by his daughter Marilyn Joy, granddaughter Emily Joy, his parents John and Martha Katerberg, brothers Ralph, Henry, John; sisters Jenny, Mathilda, Roelina, and Ariana. He is survived by his wife and closest friend of 70 years, Jean (Scholten); his sons William (Jane), Kenneth (Arlis), Steven (Cindy), Michael (Laurie); grandchildren Aaron (Aubrey), Rachel (Aaron) Sanders, Craig (Cristina Correa), Timothy (Holly), Kristina (James) Quinn, Bethany (Ajeliti) Ekesa, Thomas (Katy), Mark (Neem Serra), Julie, Deborah, 10 great-grandchildren; sister Alyce Finch, and many treasured nieces, nephews, and friends. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, February 1 at 11 AM at West Leonard CRC with Rev. Henry Admiral and Rev. Henry Entingh officiating. Visitation will be at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW on Tuesday from 5-8 PM and on Wednesday at the church from 10 AM until the time of the service. Private interment at Rosedale Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Christian Rest Home Association are appreciated. His family is so grateful and expresses their sincere appreciation to the Christian Rest Home's dedicated staff for the excellent care and love shown to Ev. To read more about Ev's life, to share a memory or sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com