November 6, 2003 at 9:44 a.m.
He was born Oct. 31, 1925, at Silver Creek, Minn., on a farm. Parents were Garrett and Hattie Vande Kamp. He was baptized at Silver Creek Reformed Church and went to Country School in Silver Creek until his 16th birthday (7th grade).
Nov. 2, 1941, he joined the CCC Camp, in Maple Lake, and served on community projects until Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, the camp was closed. He then moved to Hollandale, Minn., to work in vegetable fields for big money––40 cents per hour. After working and earning money, bought his Harley Davidson motorcycle. In 1943 Bert went to Montana to work on a ranch.
Oct. 11, 1944, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. In April 1945 he was sent by ship to Manila, Philippines to L. Company 63rd infantry. He was then sent by ship to Seoul, Korea, was wounded and was given the Purple Heart. Sept. 9, 1946, he was Honorably Discharged from Lawton, Wash., and took a train to Albert Lea, Minn., where his girl (Ruth) met him. Then he married Ruth Ames Nov. 3, 1946, lived in Holland, Minn., and worked in Verdorn’s Garage, 1947-1949. They are proud parents of three sons: Gary, Bob and Bruce, born in Albert Lea, Minn.
In 1950 they moved to a 40-acre farm east of Ellendale, Minn., and milked 17 cows, raised pigs and four acres of onions and corn.
March 1, 1952, they bought and moved to a 93-acre farm halfway between North Branch and Cambridge, on Hwy. 95. They milked Jersey cows, raised pigs, and chickens and farmed corn and hay with a Ford tractor. In the spring of 1952, he worked on the railroad raising tracks. 1953-1955 he mowed state highway right-of-way in Isanti County as well as milking cows and farming.
June 26, 1954, a storm came and blew the barn down. The same night their fourth son, Ron, was born. A year later, Bert and his dad built a new barn in between chores and his mowing roads for the state.
In the fall of 1959 Bert custom picked corn for farmers because he had the only picker of 300 acres with a one row Woods Brother picker and Ford tractor, after he had his own done first.
In winter, between chores, he took sons and relatives ice fishing every chance he could. Summer fishing was special (when relatives came up) because the farm work needed to be done first.
In 1960 fifth son, Ross, was born.
Twenty years of farming, milking 35 Jersey cows, raised feeder pigs, two acres of muskmelons, two acres cucumbers, two acres black raspberries and 200 acres crop farming. Bert and Ruth sold the farm, cow herd of Jerseys to the land buyer, and had one of the largest auctions held in the area at that time July 4, 1973.
Bert and Ruth then moved to Spring Lake, Minn., where they moved a house in where the Country Store stood and lived there for three years.
In 1976, they moved closer to North Branch on a 40-acre farm, built a new home and sheds. This is where he passed away.
Being retired for 30 years, he was still raising corn, a few pigs and beef each year and said: “Once a farmer, always a farmer.”
Bert always went fishing every chance he could––6-1/2 days a week. He always took many friends with over the years fishing in his boat and fish house in the winter. He always made sure his friends, that were longtime acquaintances, would get fresh fish right from the lake to their doorsteps and hung them on their doorknobs if not at home. Bert also supplied filet fish to bus drivers and his church fish fry for everyone to enjoy.
Bert was a successful lifelong farmer, business owner (Van’s Sewer Service), a real caregiver, family oriented, problem solver, a friend to everyone for 78 years and a true believer in Christ.
He is preceded in death by parents, Garret and Hattie Vande Kamp; brother, Walter Vande Kamp; sister, Jennie Rowe; grandson, Kevin William Vande Kamp.
He is survived by wife, Ruth Vande Kamp; five sons: Gary (Gail), Bob (LeeAnn), Ron, Bruce (Carol), Ross (Deb); sister, Effie (Lawrence) Torell; 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Interment at Oak Hill Cemetery, North Branch; Honor Guard, Harris VFW Post 139, Ralph W. Carlson, Commander, Taps - Roger Nelson.