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On Friday, March 27, 2020, Darren Lee VanDalen passed away after fighting a valiant battle with cancer and went straight into the arms of Jesus. He was always quick to share his faith and life experiences with others and how God’s grace had saved him. That personal relationship was always the most important thing in his life. Darren was born on July 21, 1967, to Mick and Jeanne VanDalen. He said he had the best parents ever. He was the oldest of three brothers with whom he shared an unbreakable bond and deeply cherished their relationships. In 1996, Darren met the love of his life, Michelle Willemsen. They married the following year and together raised their five children. There was never a dull moment – just years of awesome memories. Darren loved his family more than anything. They were always a priority to him. He was a simple man who loved his family, his friends and anyone who crossed his path. He was different than most, he would say, and went against the grain. Our family shares words to describe the person he was to each one of us: gearhead, I.B., teacher, honest, humble, forgiving, independent, lighthearted, charismatic, warrior, kind, put others first, truck driver, laughter, Storm, God-fearing man, father to many, fast lane, passion, inviting, steady, prestigious, timeless, truck puller, incessant, awesome friend, hardworking, gentle spirit, family man, tough guy, heart of gold, best friend, cool, gracious, amazing, kind eyes, loving, proud, caring, amazing, forgiving, loyal, honorable, noble, generous, youthful, positive, good listener, aviators, 80’s rocker, black leather jacket, son, brother, uncle, loving husband, Papa D and dad. Darren leaves behind his wife of 23 years, Michelle; children Marcus, Matthew, Dani (Jared) Witman, Dylan (fiancé Ashley), and Laine; his grandchildren Jordyn, Jadyn, Marcus, Patience, Ruger, Rowdie, Riot, Rush, Kasen and Bransen; parents Mick and Jeanne; brothers Dwayne (Shannon), Mike (Raelene) and Brent (Jackie); In-laws Henry and Karen Willemsen and Stan and Leia Sytsma; and numerous nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his beloved dog, Storm, who never left his side. Darren was an amazing human being. How lucky we all are to have known him, in one way or another. A celebration of life will be held at a future date. In honor of Darren, memorials can be made to the Lighthouse Mission, 910 W. Holly Street, Bellingham, 98225, or at www.lighthousemission.org. It was a place where he often shared his testimony and expressed a love for everyone there.
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