Ralph Vander Horst

ralph vander horst

Ralph  Vander Horst


Ralph Vander Horst (baptized Roelof) was born Nov. 8, 1924 on a farm near Crookston, Minn., the 2nd of three sons born to Dutch immigrant parents Herman & Hilda (Byker) Vander Horst.  His older brother, Joppe, died in March 1931 when Ralph was 6 and younger brother, Joe, was just 1 year old. The family moved back to the Netherlands later that same year.  There they lived with Ralph’s Grandpa Vander Horst in the town of Hasselt until Ralph was 10, then returned to the US because of Herman’s asthma.

They settled in Bellflower, Calif. where Herman partnered with Bert Middel in the cattle buying business and Ralph started school, having to learn the English language.  In 1937 both families moved to Denver due to Mrs. Middel’s asthma.  In 1940 both moved to west Evans Ave. where they started the Dutch Mill Dairy.  Ralph attended Denver Christian Schools.  He milked cows each morning before biking to Englewood High School.

Ralph joined the Navy during WWII, taking boot camp at Pendleton, Id.  He was based on a submarine tender in the harbor of Sasebo, Japan.  He was able to jeep to Nagasaki to see were the 2nd atomic bomb was dropped.

After discharge in May 1946 he made Profession of Faith in the 1st CRC Denver.  It was then that he also met Irene Spoelstra who was living next door to his family on west Evans Ave.  Ralph & Irene were married August 26, 1947 in the 2nd CRC Denver.

After graduating from the University of Denver he worked in furniture sales, bought a sales route, then sold Real Estate for Moore Realty for over 25 years, retiring from that after a heart attack.

He dearly loved to travel, seeing most US states, into Alaska, Canada & Mexico.  He visited Diane & Tony in Lebanon and to Damascus, Syria.  He enjoyed a month with Craig & Anita in Singapore.  He toured Europe, England and Scandinavia.

He was a life-long member of the CRC denomination: 1st CRC Denver, then a charter member of 3rd CRC Denver where he was a Sunday School teacher & superintendent; served as both Deacon and Elder; attended Bible studies; and sang in choir.  He also sang in the Knights of Song (a men’s choir).

The 11 years he wintered in Arizona he joyfully worshipped with the Evangelical Free Church of Green Valley, attended their Sunday School & Bible classes, and sang in the choir.

Ralph took great joy in his family: loving wife Irene of almost 70 years; 4 children: Craig (Anita), Tomm (Joy), Diane (Tony Brake), and Keith (LuAnne); 16 grandchildren; and 27 (and counting) great-grandchildren.  He was deeply touched by the love they showed back to him.


Memorial services will be held at Hope "Third" Christian Reformed Church (2400 South Ash Street, Denver, CO 80222) on Saturday, June 17th at 10:00 a.m.  Private family interment will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery.


Friends who wish may make memorial contributions in Ralph's name to:

Denver Christian School

3898 South Teller Street

Lakewood, Colorado  80235

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. We express our deep sympathy to the Vander Horst Family. Ralph was wonderful person whom I loved to practice my speaking Dutch with. Ralph will be missed, he set a fine Christian living example.

    Lois and Wilbur(Duke) Doeksen

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle