Vander Ark, Judy

Judy Lynn Vander Ark

October 9, 1946 - October 6, 2017

Judy Vander Ark was a dedicated Christian, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and caregiver extraordinaire.  She was loved by many, admired by many, respected by many, and considered by many to be their best friend. All would agree she was a positive influence on anyone who knew her. 

Judy was born in Detroit, Michigan on Oct 9, 1946 to Tom and Clara Straatsma.  She was the second of four siblings, with one older sister and two younger brothers, and grew up in Dearborn, Michigan.  She attended a Lutheran elementary school, and graduated from Fordson High School in 1964.  From there she entered Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and enrolled in the 3year nursing program.  At Calvin she met Doug Vander Ark, and Judy and Doug were married June 30, 1967, which would begin the next 50 years of their life together.

From there Judy and Doug moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1967.  They had their first daughter, Kimberly, in July of 1970. In May of 1971 they took the big step of moving away from the security of friends and family and moved to Dallas, Texas, where Doug had a job offer from Texas Instruments. They spent the next 46 years of their life together in Plano and most recently Allen, Texas. They joined Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church where Judy served in leadership roles.  Judy began working in the nursing float pool, at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital.  During that time daughter number two, Kristin, was born in July, 1974, and daughter number three, Kara, was born in Oct of 1976.   She began her career as an ER nurse at Plano HCA when it opened, which became her vocation for the next 25 years.  Judy, Doug, and the girls became charter members of the Reformed Church in Plano (RCP).  She remained a faithful member and leader at RCP until it closed its doors some 35 years later. They then joined Grace Presbyterian Church.

After 25 years Judy decided it was time for a career change.  This was after raising 3 daughters and sending them off to college. Two of them graduated from Texas A&M and one from Texas Tech.  A new opportunity arose that would change her career path.   Judy became employee number 8 of a new venture called the T-System.  For the next 15 years she travelled the United States selling and implementing the T-System emergency department documentation system with clients in 49 states.

In addition to the importance of her relationships with God and family, Judy prided herself in being physically fit, active, and willing to expand her horizons. Over the years she became an excellent snow skier with annual trips to Vail for 35 years.  When the girls were younger there were annual trips to Michigan.   Up until her recent hospitalization she maintained a routine of walking 4 miles per day. She also participated in mission trips in the U.S., Africa, and travelled extensively in recent years.

Remaining active, experiencing as much of God’s creation as time would permit, building relationships, and serving others were the primary focuses in Judy’s active life.  Her greatest joy was serving others.  As Mission chairperson at RCP she became intimately involved in two local organizations.  One was Family Promise, the other to which she devoted most of her volunteer time was City House.

Judy is survived by her sister, Joyce Heetderks; brothers, John Straatsma and Doug Straatsma.  She is survived by her husband of fifty years, Doug Vander Ark; daughters, Kimberly Burch, son-in-law John Burch, Kristin Harding, son-in-law Kevin Harding, Kara Hannon, and son-in-law Hunter Hannon; grandchildren, Emily Burch, Victoria Stephens, Tatum Stephens, James Douglas Stephens, Avery Harding, Easton Harding, Grace Harding, Holland Hannon and Van Hannon.  Each of us is proud to be part of our matriarch’s life together and the challenge “Momma Judy” left us; that is, to seek and to serve.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Grace Presbyterian Church, 4300 W. Park Blvd., Plano, Texas 75093.

Memorial donations may be made to:  City House of Plano, 901 18th Street, Plano, TX 75074 or


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I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Judy. I was privileged to know her from my internship at City House. Judy was truly an amazing and genuine person. She accomplished many wonderful things in her life, but she was the most proud of her family, whom she spoke of frequently. Judy will be remembered fondly, and I pray for her family and friends at this difficult time. Megan Young, October 23, 2017 Never in a thousand years did I think I would be doing this! In my mind, Judy and I would be friends forever - and forever did not have a time limit. We would grow old laughing at each other and our experiences while growing old. We would see all of our grandchildren marry and then welcome our great-grandchildren into the world. God planned things differently and while I just don't understand, I know He has a reason for needing Judy at His side. Judy had hundreds of friends and I always told myself I was her favorite - until I realized ALL of Judy's friends were her favorite. That was just how Judy was - her heart was big enough to love hundreds and make each one of us feel 'special'. I'll miss her warmth, her sense of humor, her laugh, the sound of her voice, the excitement I always felt when I received a text or call from her, our 'times' together, and most of all, knowing she was my friend. I consider myself so very fortunate to have had this "Oh SO Special" friendship for almost 30 years and I thank her for the example she set for everyone. She filled our world with grace, eloquence, and a passion for life. I continue to love her dearly! Betsy McIntyre, October 16, 2017 I WAS VERY SURPRISED TO HEAR OF THE PASSING OF JUDY AND VERY SADDENED. HER WHOLE FAMILY WAS A BLESSING TO KNOW. EVERY ONE WHO KNEW HER WERE HER FRIENDS. SHE WILL BE MISSED . MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO DOUG AND THE FAMILY. JOHN JAEGER JOHN JAEGER, October 15, 2017 Judy always had smiles and loving care for all when she entered a room. Enjoy sharing your many priceless memories of her--especially with her precious grandchildren-in the coming days. God bless each of you. Becki W. Herrick October 15, 2017 Becki W. Herrick, October 15, 2017 May God bless you and your family during this difficult time. The service was beautiful! Your mom was an amazing woman! I always enjoyed visiting with your mom at Williams and Sivie although it might have not been her favorite place to be she always had a smile on her face! I speak for the entire office she will be truly missed! Janie Janie , October 14, 2017 I met Judy when I started volunteering at My Friends House. She was always there to answer my questions and help in any situation. I'll miss her smile, her laugh and her giving spirit. The front desk won't be the same without her. She will always be in my heart. Carol Carol Goode, October 13, 2017 I am so sorry for the loss of Judy. What a sweet, sweet lady. I was employee t0 or 11 at T-System and worked with her for 13 years. Always a joy she was. The world lost a good one. Again, I'm sorry for your loss. Robin Cannon, October 12, 2017 I was so very very sorry to hear of Judy's Passing. My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. Judy was my High School best friend. We had such a good times together. I have often thought about her and was so glad that we were re-aqauinted on facebook over the past couple of years. I hope the love you had for her will help ease your pain and sorrow. And the memories of her remain in your hearts forever. She will be watching over each of you as I'm sure she did while she walked on this earth. God Bless Her. Carol Ann Terry Brinkman, October 12, 2017 I started in Registration shortly after the hospital opened and was welcomed to the ER family immediately. Judy was one of the first people to reach out to me and make me feel as part of the group. She was kind and considerate of helping me fit into the new role. We would often talk and she would share thoughts about her family and their experiences. Being young and single at that time made me strive to find a loving spouse and build a family base. I worked with her for years. After she left I would see her at Medical City -Plano every so often looking as always blonde, fit, lively and ready to pick up from the last conversation. She made a difference in my life. Kathy Bell Bohanon, October 12, 2017 This world will miss Judy's vibrant presence, but heaven will be blessed with her. Don and I were fortunate to spend time with Doug and Judy on our trip to Uganda. She "doctored" all on the trip. Our prayers are with all her beautiful family who are so heartbroken now. But we know she is in a better place. She and Jack may be starting a new church up there....with Barry, Margaret, Carl...... Sincerely....... Lisa Waugaman, October 12, 2017 Judy was truly one of the most beautiful people I have ever had the privilege to have known. She was always vibrant and kind with words of wisdom for any situation. She was funny and passionate about relationships and living a meaningful life. I trusted her as a friend and wise mentor. Her faith and perspective made her the perfect counselor in any situation. She will sincerely be missed but I know she is with her our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have to think heaven is an even brighter place with her there. Love you always, Belinda and Harley Belinda Warren, October 12, 2017 My sympathies to all of you on the loss of your wife, mother, grandmother and sister. Judy was one of the very first people I met when I started at Plano General Hospital in the Laboratory in 1980. She was a very good teacher in helping me "learn the ropes" of the how the hospital functioned and what my role was as the only lab tech in house on the weekends. She had a great sense of humor , yet was dedicated to all of the patients she helped to treat in the ER. There was not task too big for her or too small. Thank you for making a difference in each life you touched Judy. You have earned a special place in heaven Diane McClurg Laboratory Director Medical City Plano Diane McClurg , October 12, 2017 Judy, your wonderful spirit may be gone but it will never be forgotten. I was so blessed to have known you and you were always a joy to work with at T-System. Until we meet again... Carol and Ken Baker, October 11, 2017 As a nursing classmate with Judy, I always admired, loved, and had a lot of fun with her. My sincere condolences, love, and prayers to Doug and her family. May Judy have peace and love everlasting! Charyl Moss, October 11, 2017 Our deepest condolences. Frank and Domenica Sarratt, October 11, 2017