Duly Noted

In Memoriam
Robert VanderLaan
1952-2017


Robert "Bob" VanderLaan entered into eternal life peacefully and surrounded by family on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. He was 64 years old. Bob was born to Donald and Betty VanderLaan on August 22, 1952. A native of Grand Rapids, he attended Holy Spirit grade school and West Catholic High School (class of 1970) before accepting a basketball scholarship to the University of Detroit, class of 1974. He earned his J.D. from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1977, where he was a law review editor. VanderLaan’s ambition in the legal profession led him to national recognition as both an attorney and an educator with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He was admitted as an attorney to the Supreme Court of the U.S. in 1981, was a founding member of the U.S. District Court Historical Society and president of the Federal Bar Association (1996-97).

VanderLaan also proudly remained active in the Grand Rapids community through his involvement in organizations including the Grand Rapids Jaycees (president, 1986-87), Catholic Secondary School Board, Grand Rapids Usher's Club, and Kidney Foundation. He was a beloved coach of women's basketball and an avid golf, squash, and basketball player.

He is survived in death by his wife of 33 years, B.J.; daughters Elizabeth, Catherine, and Sarah; brothers Ron VanderLaan M.D. and Rod (Emily) VanderLaan; many other family members; and his weimaraner, Buck, whom he adored.

VanderLaan will be fondly remembered by friends and family as a proud father and brother, animated story teller, talented athlete, and tenacious trial lawyer. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 6.

Memorial donations in Bob's name can be made to The Leukemia And Lymphoma Society.