St. Joseph, MO: Michael John DeJong of St. Joseph, Missouri, passed away Sunday, November 26, 2023. Mike’s memorial service will be held Saturday, December 16, at 11:00 AM at Porter Funeral Home in Rock Valley, Iowa with Kevin Schneider officiating. The family invites everyone to the Rock Valley Pizza Ranch following the memorial service.
Michael John DeJong, MSW, LCSW, was born December 17, 1958, in Sioux Center, Iowa to Charlie and Eileen (Van Olst) DeJong. He grew up an “army brat” and lived nearly everywhere Charlie was stationed. He especially liked Germany because he could visit relatives in the Netherlands. He went to Sterling College for his BS in Behavioral Science, 1981; to Fort Hayes State University, Graduate Clinical Psychology Program; to the University of Texas – Arlington for his Master of Science Degree in Social Work, 1985; to the University of Minnesota Graduate School of Social Work, where he completed all his doctoral classes but did not complete his dissertation due his health and the Covid Virus. Michael’s unpublished Dissertation was, “Therapists’ Perception of Intimate Partner Violence in Routine Marriage and Family Therapy.” He was a good student and won the following honors and awards: Student Teaching Assistantship at Fort Hayes, Student Government membership and representative in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Texas – Arlington; University of Texas Competitive Scholarship; Alpha Delta Mu National Social Work Honor Society, MSW level; and Hersh Assistantship, University of Minnesota Graduate Scholarship.
His professional goals were to teach and do research. He was an Adjunct Instructor at Alvernia College in Reading, PA; an Adjunct Instructor at Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD; an instructor at Gillette Campus, NWCCD, Gillette, WY; Teaching Assistant, University of Minnesota, Graduate School of Social Work; and Instructor, St. Benedict/St. John’s.
He authored and coauthored many articles, both published and unpublished, and textbook chapters. There are too many and too wordy to address. The subject areas he was interested in included: how professionals identify and treat intimate partner violence, professional social work values, professionals transitioning into education, work with teen parents, motivational factors for students, case management with pregnant teens, and correlation factors between certain tests, alcoholism and spousal abuse.
Michael was a dedicated Social Worker/ Counselor and teacher for many years, and he helped many, many people find a way to a better life. He retired in 2021 because of his health. His hobbies were fishing, reading, music, reptiles, and having nice long talks.
His health started to decline with his first stroke in 2015, followed by four strokes, December 26th, 2019. It was discovered that he had polycythemia which is a type of cancer of the blood that thickens the blood and affects the organs.
Michael loved his family. He married Penny (Sharp) DeJong on February 12, 1994, in Stillwater Oklahoma. He loved our sons and daughters, our many and various grandchildren, and our great grandson. He loved his grandparents, his parents, his aunts and uncles and cousins. He was a good husband, best friend and partner. He took care of me when I had cancer and I took care of him through his strokes. We traveled and celebrated together. We mourned our two daughters together as well as several friends and family members that went on before.
He was preceded in death by his daughters; Maria Rena DeJong, who was born and died August 3, 1996, and Catherine RoseAnn Sharp Argo, born 1980, died 2017. He was also preceded by his sister and brother-in-law, Cleanne and Tony Schieber. On the DeJong side of the family, he was preceded in death by his father, Charlie DeJong, his Uncles Fred, Herman, Arnold, Kenneth, and Henry W. Vis. On the Van Olst side of the family by Ray Reinke, Fred Ymker, Lambert and Kathlene Van Olst, and Marie and Daryl Addinck.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Penny; our daughter, Elizabeth (Rick) Argo; and sons, Matthew DeJong, Dale (Kelli) Sharp, Jon (Jeanette) Sharp, grandchildren and one great grandchild. Also surviving are sisters-in-law Priscilla (Amos) Clampitt and Diane Ferguson. On the Van Olst side he is survived by his mother, Eileen Van Olst DeJong; Gerri Reinke, Gertrude and Dennis Overweg, Lucy Ymker, Kathy Van Olst, and John Van Olst. Michael is also survived by dozens of dearly beloved cousins whom he considered his brothers and sisters.