Jack Eugene Van Arsdall, age 89 years of Niles, Michigan, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, and devout Christian, was ordained to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and nearly equally called to share a joke in every situation. During the early morning hours of January 15, 2022, Jack’s heavenly Father tapped on his shoulder saying “well done My good and faithful servant; your work here is done and it is time for you to come home”.
Jack was born on January 10, 1933 at his parents’ home in Martinsville, Indiana to Frank M. and Maud R. (McKinley) Van Arsdall. He graduated from Lizton (Indiana) High School, and continued his education at Lincoln (Illinois) Christian College, completing a bachelor’s degree. He was Ordained in 1952 by the Maplewood (Indiana) Christian Church, and was called to his first pastorate in 1956 by the West Point Christian Church in Russiaville, Indiana. In 1958 he transitioned to the Michigantown (Indiana) Christian Church where he served until 1963. Jack then was called to the Jamestown (Indiana) Christian Church until 1968, when he then transitioned to the First Church of Christ – Christian in Niles. He served there until 1972 before completing his service at the Three Oaks (Michigan) Christian Church from which he retired in 1979. Though he was retired, he continued to assist with new church plants, and officiated at funerals for families with no church association.
In addition to his many pastoral works, Jack was also employed by the Niles Community Schools Transportation office for twenty years, and in “retirement” he delivered new recreational vehicles for Coachman Industries, and in doing so, visited much of the United States. He has lived in Niles since 1968.
Jack was a member of the Fairland Christian Church in Niles, and former member of the Niles Lions Club. Jack loved a good meal, but he preferred dessert, particularly when it was ice cream, and especially when it was the Dairy Queen Heath Bar Blizzard made with chocolate ice cream. Jack would never turn down any sweet treat. He was also well-known as a joker, anywhere from the usual lame “dad” jokes, to the funny stories that clergy often employ to draw attention to a sermon, and most notable had a very quick wit, offering a well-timed joke for various situations. Or, a semi-appropriately timed joke to lighten the mood. Jack’s love of humor did not prevent his show of other emotions. Also known as the “Weepy Preacher”, he was often unable to make it through a funeral or wedding service without shedding a tear. Above all else, Jack’s greatest joy was his family, and especially his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Jack married on August 17, 1952 in Defiance, Ohio to Frances Dunbar, with whom he is now joyfully reunited. Jack and Fran celebrated the remarkable Fifty-sixth anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on May 31, 2009. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and sadly, unexpectedly by a granddaughter, Melissa Zicarelli on September 3, 2018.
Surviving family includes his children, Jack M. (& Sherry) Van Arsdall of Niles, Sue (& Sam) Maxedon of Dowagiac, Michigan, Dave (& Chris) Van Arsdall of DeWitt, Michigan, and Amy Jo Van Arsdall of La Crosse, Wisconsin; grandchildren Mindy (& Chris) Langsdale, Mary (& Justin) Brubaker, Lori (& Shallu) Singh, Ryan (& Jourden) Van Arsdall, Katie Zicarelli (& fiancée, Emily Gesell), and Corey Maxedon; great-grandchildren Seth, Benjamin, and Ysolde; and an amazing circle of former congregation members and friends.
The family will gather privately at his graveside in Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles for Committal Services with Don Fleischman of Fairland Christian Church officiating. A memorial gathering to share memories and honor his life will be held at a later date, and will be announced on this website. Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. A recorded video of the Committal Service will by available to view beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Friday at the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/ .
Contributions in memory of Jack may be made to the Fairland Christian Church, 1811 River Bluff Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://fairlandchristianchurch.com/ . His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the staffs of Harvest Home and Caring Circle Hospice at Home. Online condolences may be left at:
Psalms 90, verse 10 tells us that we might expect to live 70, or possibly 80 years, but Jack was blessed with nine more years, and he used every one of those years well. He never met a stranger, being willing and interested to greet every new person, learn about them, find an anecdote to share, or more likely a pun or joke, but most likely sharing a mention of Jesus. His “congregation” was not limited by four walls, but was his entire community. Most importantly, his family of “Preacher’s Kids” know that they were loved by both their father, and by God.
A Celebration of Life for
Jack E. VanArsdall
will be held
Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at
Fairland Christian Church,
1811 River Bluff Rd., Niles, Michigan.
Lunch will be served in the fellowship hall following the service.
To honor Dad, please consider wearing an Hawaiian shirt
or a plaid shirt.
And feel free to bring a story or joke to share as well.
Due to a number of health issues,
masks would be appreciated but are not required.