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Mike Vankempen


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Mike was a member of the now defunct Midwest Marble Club (Minneapolis, MN) and also traveled to Amana, Iowa for the shows there. He was a dear friend and my marble mentor.

Michael Keith VanKempen

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Michael VanKempen 11/28/1953-10/23/12 With sadness we announce the passing or our husband, father, son, brother and friend, Mike VanKempen. Mike was a valiant fighter for almost 3 years in his battle against pancreatic cancer. Though his body lost the battle, his spirit won. Mike was born November 28, 1953 in Minneapolis where he grew up, went to school, and worked. He was employed by the the City of MPLS for 31 years until his retirement. He is survived by many loving family members and friends; wife Connie; children Andy, Laura and Olivia; parents Ruby and Ervin; brothers Ron(Joyce), Jim(Mary), and Gary(Beth), plus many other cousins, aunts, nephews, and nieces. He was preceded in death, by his brother Steve. Mike loved fishing, so it was appropriate that he left us on a perfect fishing day; overcast, a slight breeze and with colors of fall bright against the grey sky. This was the first in 40 years that his absence was felt from the annual Northsider’s Muskie Tourney, where he fished Lake of the Woods with his childhood friends from the North side. He was an avid collector of antique marbles and was very happy to share his interest with anyone who wanted to learn or just look. He was also a skilled and meticulous carpenter and woodworker who helped many friends and relatives with projects over the years. Mostly he was a loving and dedicated husband and father. He was present at all school events and his kid’s activities, and consistently reinforced the importance of education. He coached many sports over the years and was able to see his children graduate from college and begin their careers. He was a very strong, funny and honest man who always made his family feel safe and loved. He will be deeply missed. Celebration of life at 11 AM on Thursday, November 1st at Shepherd of the Valley Church in Apple Valley. Gathering of family and friends one hour prior. Memorials preferred in lieu of flowers. The family would like to thank the Fairview Hospice team, the SOTV pastoral staff, Aunt Joyce and all the friends, neighbors and relatives who blessed us, helped us, and encouraged us during Mike’s illness. The light of God shines through all of you.

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Marlene, thank you so much for the post on Michael. We are so sorry to hear this tragic news and our hearts and prayers are with the family during this time. I knew Mike and have talked quite a few times with him at the shows. We always had a great time togather talking and discussing marbles, great man and i for one will really miss him. Prayers always Chuck G--

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Sorry to hear this news.

Mike always had a big smile when he first saw anyone at a show he knew!

He had a big heart, a great passion for marbles and was very mindful of what other people were experiencing in their lives:-) !!!!!

Peace Mike.


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Well, I went to the Celebration of Life today. I'm not too good at those, but it was very nice. And a lot of people were there. A lot. They had a slide show that was wonderful. And too sad.

Yes, I am sure going to miss him, too. He lived just a few miles from us, so I've been over there many, many times. He even came over to our place a couple times and looked at some of my marbles. Mostly he would say "not that old" because he liked the really old lutz and others. But once in a while, we would come across some in my hoard, I mean collection :), that he would judge to be old. Once in a while.

Really going to miss him.

And I feel so bad for his wife and kids that I can't even express it here.

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