Waste no time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one. -Marcus Aurelius
Day 123 of 365: Stan Vanderkleed
A straight-shooter with a heart of gold, Stan Vanderkleed is celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary today! Happy Anniversary, Stan and Nancy!! I am told that my Dad was the best man at that wedding half a century ago, so perhaps that explains why Stan and his wife Nancy have always been a fixture in my life too! It seems like a great day to celebrate some of the things that make Stan the man just a fantastic guy!
An epically talented storyteller, with an affinity for Elvis Presley, I truly don’t think I know a single soul who can match Stan’s wit when it comes to holding a room captive with a tale. Oh my goodness, he can tell a story about a dead rabbit and make you laugh about it for a week! He’s a blue collar guy with an incredible work ethic who always seems to me to be happy when I see him. Stan is the definition of integrity. He takes pride in doing a good deed for others, and he wears his heart on his sleeve.
Good-hearted and faithful, Stan is a husband and also a grandfather to several terrific kids– some in Lafayette and some in Chicagoland. He’s inspiring for the way he productively uses his time to benefit those around him….with his skills as a plumber, or his time as an involved father and grandfather, or as a friend. Being around Stan is plain good for morale. He takes pride in his community and everyone around him knows he can be counted on to help in any way he’s able.
For instance, once several years ago, Tom and I had a bad water leak that seemed to be coming from inside the walls in our home. We didn’t know what to do about it and the initial plumber we had out couldn’t figure out the source of the problem. Somehow, Stan became aware of the situation and he drove an hour from Lafayette down here to Indy to take a look at the situation. Thankfully, it didn’t take him long to find the source of the crisis and he saved the day. Who offers to make a two-hour round trip to take a look at a mystery leak? Stan Vanderkleed. That’s who.
I’m posting the fancy picture of Stan and Nan today because it is after all their 50th anniversary, but also there’s a photo here of them both with some of the grandkids who they were getting ready to take on a mission trip. In it, Stan looks more like the guy I know. He’s an unfancy and very authentic guy who loves the Indy 500, and he’s as genuine a man as you will ever find. His word is as good as gold, but don’t ask him for fashion advice. I am pretty sure he’s colorblind. In fact, I remember his daughters, Jill and Erin, having some good natured fun teasing him about having a purple toolbox– and he had no idea if they were telling the truth or not! This world would be a MUCH more integrity filled place if there were a few more guys like Stan. That’s what I know for sure this Friday afternoon!
Stan, knowing you and watching you live your life and the way you love others has definitely made me a better person. Tom and I are so blessed to know you! I wish you many more years of happiness and health with Nancy, Jill and Tony, Erin and Brad….and all the grandkids! You are the real deal!!