Rock Valley, IA: Harlan Jay Van’t Hul, 80, of Rock Valley, Iowa, died Saturday, December 24, 2022, at Whispering Heights of Rock Valley. A funeral service will be held Thursday, December 29, at 10:00 AM at First Christian Reformed Church of Rock Valley with Rev. Matthew Haan officiating. The service can be livestreamed at https://www.christianworldmedia.com/livechannel/firstcrcrv. Burial will follow at Valley View Cemetery of Rock Valley. Visitation, with the family present, will be held Wednesday, December 28, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at First CRC of Rock Valley.
Harlan Jay Van’t Hul was born to Bert and Gertrude (Van Maanen) Van’t Hul on January 15, 1942. He grew up on a farm 3 ½ miles east of Rock Valley, Iowa with three brothers and eight sisters. He was a lifetime member of the First Christian Reformed Church of Rock Valley where he professed his faith in Jesus Christ and later served as an elder and attended Bible studies. Harlan attended Rock Valley Christian School and Western Christian High School and later served on the board at RVCS. After graduating from high school, he worked at the Rock Valley Creamery, Van’t Hul Well Digging, B&H Hatchery, spreading anhydrous for the Farmers Elevator, went to auctioneering school, and did some farming in the evening.
On March 15, 1963, he was united in marriage to Mary Humme. They moved to a farm 2 ¼ miles east of Rock Valley. Together they were blessed with three children, Mark, Tim, and Rachelle. In April of 1966, Harlan experienced a life altering accident resulting in the loss of his eyesight. He had countless cornea transplants and trips to Iowa City. He attended the Iowa school for the blind and was taught mobility with the use of his white cane, and to strive to do anything a sighted person can do. There were times he could see for short periods of time only to be disappointed in rejection of the cornea.
Harlan’s heart was in farming and he continued to manage the farm with the help of family and neighbors. Harlan’s sons took interest in the farm, and it became a family farm operation. In 2011 he received an artificial cornea and enjoyed limited vision for six years. This allowed him to enjoy riding his bike to play cards at the Senior Center, making some good friends and having many good laughs. In February 2021 his Parkinson’s disease became unmanageable at home. Harlan took up residence at Whispering Heights where he was cared for by loving nurses and his wife.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife of almost 60 years, Mary; son, Mark (Deb) Van’t Hul and their three children: Tyler Van’t Hul, Christa Van’t Hul, and Megan (Alex) Sykora and their son, Brooks Sykora; son, Tim (Debbie) Van’t Hul and their three children: Brandon (Bri) Van’t Hul, Miranda Van’t Hul, and Lucas Van’t Hul; daughter, Rachelle (James) Vanden Bos and their three children: Ashley (Colton) Van Otterloo, and their daughter, Hayden, Carter Vanden Bos and Levi Vanden Bos; brother, Orville (Arlene) Van’t Hul; three sisters, Harriet Vande Kamp, Joyce (Fred) Smits and Joanne (Rod) De Weerd; sister-in-law, Carol Van’t Hul; and in-laws: Alan Vander Meulen, Sylvia Humme, Wilma Humme and Donna Humme.
Harlan was preceded in death by his parents, Bert and Gertrude; two brothers: Lawrence (Maxine) Van’t Hul and Junior Van’t Hul; three sisters: Dorothy (George) Van Beek, Albertha (Louis) Altena, and Geraldine (Norm) Vande Vegte; brother-in-law, Marv Vande Kamp; and two sisters at a young age. Harlan was also preceded in death by Mary’s parents, Arnold and Kate (Vos) Humme, three brothers-in-law: John, Pete and Jim Humme, and two sisters-in-law: Nelverne (Ted) Marra, and Norma Vander Meulen.
May the challenges that Harlan endured and the courage he showed drive each one of us to press on.