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Edward "Ed" James Vanderpoel, Jr.

September 7, 1932 April 27, 2020
Edward "Ed" James Vanderpoel, Jr.
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Obituary for Edward "Ed" James Vanderpoel, Jr.

Edward James Vanderpoel Junior went to be with his Lord on Monday, April 27th, 2020, at the Central Montana Nursing and Rehab Center of natural causes. Ed was born on September 7, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, to Edward and Grace (Stavinga) Vanderpoel. His sister, Laverne Joy, completed their family in 1936. Ed’s dad had wanted to return to Montana to farm: his mother had lived in Chicago her whole life, so the family moved to a Michigan farm for 2 years (1943-44) as a compromise. They returned to Chicago for a few years, then moved to the Fairfield Bench in Montana in 1948 to farm. Ed graduated from Power High School in 1950. He was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was stationed in California. 

After returning home from the army, Ed wanted to start farming and found a great opportunity on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in 1957 where he leased and bought land. On November 29, 1958, Ed married the love of his life, Holly Beckman, in Great Falls. Three daughters were born to them in the 19 years that they lived on the reservation. Since Ed Sr. wanted to retire from farming at Coffee Creek, Ed and his family moved to Coffee Creek in the spring of 1976. The farm had been purchased in 1927 by Ed’s uncle and aunt, Hank and Nellie Eelman, who then sold it to Ed’s father in 1954. Ed’s grandfather, Jacob Vanderpoel, homesteaded in the Denton area. Ed’s father graduated from Denton High School in 1923. Ed and Holly’s girls enjoyed attending the school where their grandpa graduated from so many years before. 

Ed and Holly were always building something. They built 2 houses, 2 shops, and many grain bins over the years. He worked with other church members to move and remodel the abandoned Coffee Creek schoolhouse to become the Denton Bible Church. They also remodeled the 1912 Coffee Creek farm house for the next generation (Bob and Shari Grubb) to come to join the farm. 

Ed’s purpose in life appeared to be to eradicate pesky weeds wherever he found them, sometimes over the neighbor’s fence. Ed loved farming: in 1957, he started with $2,000 and a small Allis Chalmers crawler tractor. He broke up native sod, turning many acres into productive farmland. Little by little, his operation grew. 1975 will be remembered as one of his best crop years. When the family moved to Coffee Creek, Ed acquired more property and worked very diligently to weather the good years with the bad all the while killing those pesky weeds. Holly was his ever faithful assistant. They made a great team. 

The next generation moved to the farm in 1998. Ed was a very good teacher in all things farming as well as mechanicing and building. He was always willing to tease his grandkids- “Are you pretty awful or awfully pretty?” seemed to be one of his favorite jokes! 

Ed was a lifelong learner until a series of strokes seriously impaired his ability to read. His interests included the Bible, history, politics, family genealogy, Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company, and all machinery painted John Deere green. His hobby was restoring Model T and A vehicles piece by piece. 

Before the strokes, his avid reading along with his excellent memory produced a vault of knowledge and wisdom in his keen mind that he willingly shared with others. He was a problem solver and humble leader who was always willing to give a hand to anyone that needed it. This came from him living out his deep and quiet faith day by day. 

Many thanks are due to the nursing home staff during his time residing there, especially these last several weeks when he could not have outside visitors. His “brother” Irv is especially appreciated for the kindness and care that he bestowed to Ed, shaving his face, brushing his teeth, and reading from Homestead Fever each afternoon.  

Ed is survived by his wonderful wife, Holly of 61 years; three daughters: Janet (Tim) Antozzi of Estes Park, Colorado, Wanda (Jim) Jorgensen of Maple Valley, Washington, and Shari (Bob) Grubb of Coffee Creek, Montana; sister, Laverne (Irvin) Sweat of Lewistown; 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandsons as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.  

Private Funeral Services (family only/social distancing) will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 8, 2020 at the Denton Bible Church. Interment will follow at the Coffee Creek Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor can be given to the Denton Ambulance Fund or the charity of your choice. 

Arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Ed’s family and friends can share memories and condolences at

To send flowers or plant a tree in memory of Edward "Ed" James Vanderpoel, Jr., visit the Tribute Store.

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11:00 AM 5/8/2020 11:00:00 AM
Denton Bible Church

Behingd the High School
Denton, MT 59430

Private Family Service (Social Distancing)

Denton Bible Church
Behingd the High School Denton 59430 MT
United States

Memorial Contribution

Donor's Choice

Denton Ambulance Service

PO Box 1047
c/o Denton Endowment/Ambulance Fund
Denton, MT 59430

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