Joe Glas, 90 of Portage, passed away peacefully on September 24, 2023.
Joe was born on July 16, 1933, in Heerhugowaard, the Netherlands, to Abram and Grace (Smit) Glas. Joe grew up on a chicken farm in The Netherlands. He was the second youngest, with 4 brothers and 3 sisters. The whole family worked hard to run the farm. When he wasn't working or going to school, Joe enjoyed ice skating and riding his bike.
Joe and his family survived the Nazi occupation during World War 2, during which time they supported the Dutch resistance. Food was scarce and towards the end of the war they survived on tulip bulbs and fruit from their orchard. In 1949, determined to provide a better future for his family, Joe's dad emigrated with his entire family to Kalamazoo. In 1954, Joe met the love of his life, Martha Korendyk, who had also recently immigrated, and they married in 1955. Joe and Martha had 6 kids between 1956 and 1964. Joe and Martha sacrificed to send their kids to Kalamazoo Christian schools. Joe loved the Lord and attended Parchment CRC for many years where he faithfully served as an elder and taught catechism.
Initially upon immigrating, Joe worked the tulip fields of Kalamazoo picking weeds, but quickly realized that was not for him, and happened upon a local builder who he asked for a job because he figured that had to be better than picking weeds. And that's how he got his start in the building business. Joe proved to be a skillful builder and learned the trade. In 1960 he went into business for himself, building homes throughout Kalamazoo County. Building was a family affair, with Martha helping with design and keeping the books, and the boys helping on the job. In 1980 at the height of the recession he took a chance and started the Swan Creek neighborhood, focusing on larger custom homes. Joe's vision for meeting customer needs and insistence on quality led to success at Swan Creek, followed later with the Whispering Meadows neighborhood.
Joe enjoyed singing in the choir, and he and Martha enjoyed traveling with the family. Early on the family went on two camping trips a year and saw much of the US and parts of Canada. Later, Joe and Martha were able to travel to different parts of the US, Canada, and Europe. Joe and Martha enjoyed volunteering and spending time with their friends at Second Impressions.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife Martha, son Roger, and son-in-law Randy VanderMay (Mary), as well as his siblings and their spouses: Abram (Alida) Glas, Anne Glas, Jake (Tres) Glas, Grace (Art) Mulder, Jo (Arie) Gritter, John (Sena) Glas, and Nick Glas, in-laws Harm Korendyk and Ben Korendyk
Joe is survived by his children Don (Miriam) Glas, Carl (Jan) Glas, Charlie (Deb) Glas, Mary VanderMay, and Ed (Cathy) Glas, 16 grandchildren, Annalise (Andrew), Linea, Camillo (Kelly), Isaac, Simeon, Shaleah, Jaxson, Rob (Amanda), Jaelynne (Casey), Rachel (Ben), Laura, Jake (Emma), Will, Lydia, Peter, Nathan, and 3 great grandchildren, Obi, Leo, and Theo. Also surviving are his sister-in-laws Tina Dyxhoorn Hoiting, Clara (Randy) Blackard, Eena Korendyk; and cousin Grace (Jim) Pestoor; as well as many nephews and nieces.
Special thanks to the exceptional caregivers at StoryPoint Portage and Promedica Hospice.
Services for Joe will be on Thursday, September 28, 2023, at Langeland Family Funeral Homes 3926 S. 9th St., Kalamazoo, MI 49009. A visitation will be held from 10:00 am to 11:00 am with a service beginning at 11:00 am. A lunch will follow the funeral service before a private family graveside service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Joe's name may be directed to Kalamazoo Christian Schools. Please visit Joe's memorial webpage to share memories and condolences with his family at