Clarence  Vander Bleek, Jr.
CLARENCE VANDER BLEEK, JR., 85, of Fulton, IL, passed away peacefully at OakCrest DeKalb Area Retirement Center on Sunday, October 6.
A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, October 10, 2019 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fulton with Rev. Father Matthew Camaioni officiating. There will be a visitation from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 9th at the Fulton Chapel of the Bosma-Renkes Funeral Home, followed by a Rosary service at 7:00. Interment will be at Calvary Hill Cemetery in Fulton. A memorial has been established to the Father Matthew A. Vander Bleek Scholarship Fund.
Clarence was born on January 7, 1934, in Chicago, IL. He was the oldest child of Clarence, Sr. and Gertrude (Vogel). He attended Chicago Public Schools and Fulton High School. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and earned his GED. He later returned to college as a non-traditional student and earned his Bachelor's Degree from Mount Saint Clare College in 1988. A Master's in Business Administration from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA, would follow in 1991.
He was united in marriage to Sally Ann Olson on July 2, 1960. They had 12 children in the span of 13 years.
Clarence proudly worked as the Refinery Superintendent at Clinton Corn Processing, later ADM. He was proud of the plant, his "guys" in the refinery, and the innovative work that they accomplished. In his 39 years there, Clarence never counted down the days to the weekend. He never counted down the years to retirement. He jumped out of bed each morning and counted up the days. After his first retirement, Clarence worked for the next twenty years as Head Bookkeeper at Fitzgerald Pharmacy in Morrison, IL. He was honored to have worked alongside Mr. Steve "Steve-a-Reno" Van Osdol.
Clarence's interests were many and varied. He made a seamless transition from tough love father to the Opa who bought lots of treats. His favorite grandchildren were Olivia and Hillary (the latter was his "second favorite" only because she was born after the former). Their immunity to Opa's tormenting made them especially suited for his companionship.
Clarence loved family picnics and celebrations. He attended countless music performances and plays for his children and grandchildren. With his wife, Sally, they enjoyed plays at the Clinton Area Showboat and Timber Lake Playhouse. Clarence welcomed to his home all the friends of his children. From his rocker in the den, he always enjoyed the noise of a full house; even after his strict, 10 o'clock bedtime each night, the main floor was raucous with noise, and he never complained.
Clarence was a dedicated blood donor for many years and served as a Cub Master with his sons' Cub Scout Pack.
Clarence was an avid reader of the news, subscribing and reading cover-to-cover the Quad City Times, The Clinton Herald, the Wall Street Journal, and The Fulton Journal.
Clarence and Sally went on several cruises and took many trips to visit their children in the U.S. and in Europe.
Clarence is survived by his wife, Sally Ann (Olson) Vander Bleek, of Fulton and eleven children. Five daughters: Elizabeth (Joel) Hoppenworth of DeKalb, IL; Gillian (Thomas) O'Malley of Santa Maria, CA; Jessica (Richard) Winkel of Fulton, IL; Cassy (Gregory) Mate of McHenry, IL; Rachel (Timothy) Frick of Fulton, IL. Six sons: Mark (Julia) of Cookeville, TN; Luke (Joan) of Morrison, IL; John (Lisa) of Hoffman Estates, IL; Bartholomew (Maureen) of Clinton, IA; Peter (Julie) of DeKalb, IL; Paul (Sarah) of DeKalb, IL. Clarence was proud of his forty-six grandchildren and his great granddaughter. He also leaves behind a brother, David Vander Bleek, of Moline, IL, and a sister, Barbara Mask, of Fulton. Clarence was preceded in death by his parents, one son (Reverend Father Matthew Vander Bleek), and one grandson (Benjamin).
The family wishes to extend special thanks to the staff at OakCrest DeKalb Area Retirement Center for the special care they gave Clarence. To Jessica, who was Dad's staunchest advocate and favorite daughter until the end, bless you. Dad couldn't have had a better person in his corner.
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Published on October 7, 2019


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Showing 10 of 9 posts

Phillip Mask
Oct 30, 2019
I always enjoyed chatting with Clarence,fishing, boating. Always a hoot to be around.
Amy Jo
Oct 10, 2019
May you many cherished memories sustain you during this time and God hold you close.
Amy Jo Ketelsen
Oct 10, 2019
May your many cherished memories sustain you during this time and may God keep you close.
Amy Jo Ketelsen
Oct 10, 2019
May your many cherished memories sustain you during this time. May God Bless and keep you close.
Andy and Pam Pfister
Oct 09, 2019
Our condolences to your family. You are truly blessed to have a lifetime of memories and traditions.
Taso & Tula Korovilas
Oct 09, 2019
Taso of coarse new Clarence & his beautiful family before I came into the picture, but when we first got married I was so welcomed as I was family from the beginning. Clarence always enjoyed teasing! We will miss his beautiful smile, personality and loving quality he always had! We feel as we lost our loved one! God bless his family & May he Rest In Peace. You are now with your son & Grand baby, that welcomes you with open arms! Love you, Taso & Tula
Michael and Brenda Munson
Oct 08, 2019
Sending condolences to the family.
Oct 08, 2019
Heavenly Light was purchased for the family of Clarence Vander Bleek, Jr..  Send flowers
Oct 07, 2019
God speed, Mr. Vander Bleek.