Sidney Van Sinderen

July 26, 1923 - February 12, 2017

Sidney Van Sinderen

July 26, 1923 - February 12, 2017


Sid joined family, friends & angels at the Pearly Gates in Heaven on Feb. 12, 2017, for the celebration of a lifetime in his honor. He was 93 years old.

Sid set the bar high in all areas of his life. Love for God, country, family, church, & friends were all priorities for Sid. In every task, he gave his all. He was intelligent, loving, kind, caring, compassionate, dedicated, committed, & a shining example of what a man, a Marine, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an athlete, & a friend should be. Sid was truly one of a kind; he was well respected & loved by everyone who knew him. He touched many lives & made the world a better place for the time that he was here.

Sid was born in 1923 to Sidney & Jessie Van Sinderen in Big Lake, WA. In 1926 they moved to Bellingham, WA where he would live for over 90 more years. Sid graduated from Bellingham High School & Western Washington College, where he was a basketball star & graduated with a teaching degree.

A true patriot, Sid served his country well. Sid’s adult life was greatly shaped when he proudly joined the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17, to fight in World War II and eventually at Iwo Jima as a Master Sargent. He loved his country & he loved the Marines – once a Marine, always a Marine – Semper Fi. He also worked 20 years as a senior immigration officer at the Canada-United States border in Blaine.

Sid’s involvement as a young adult in “Grant Whipple’s original men’s Bible study group” at the Firs provided the foundation for his strong personal relationship with Jesus throughout his life. He was active in church at Central Lutheran, helped build and establish Geneva Community Church, The Firs, & lastly Northlake Community Church where he was an active member for the last 23 years.

Mr. Van Sinderen loved being a science teacher, and took his position of instructor & role model very seriously, creating a well-structured, positive learning environment for 35 years at Whatcom Junior High. Mr. Van Sinderen had a positive and lasting impact on the many generations he influenced.
Sid traveled the world with his wife Jettie (d. 2002), including their beloved timeshare condominium on Kauai for 40 years, & to Alaska often in the early 1950’s to visit relatives, over the Yukon highway before it was paved. Sid absolutely loved animals. This tender affection for animals he passed on to the generations – his dream trip was traveling to Africa several times with his daughter Sharon & son Steve.

Sid excelled in many areas of life, he was a great fisherman, making his own bamboo fishing poles & tying his own flies. His largest sport fishing catch – a blue marlin weighing over 350 pounds! As a fabulous outfielder for the Bellingham Bells semi-pro baseball team, Sid had close to a 400 batting average. Mr. Van Sinderen could often be seen running up & down the basketball court, initially as a superstar basketball player for Western Washington College & then later in life as an official for high school, college, & tournament level games. After retiring from his baseball career, he became an official umpire for the local high school, college, & semi-pro baseball games. Sid was active on the local golf courses playing several times a week for many years. He was a longtime member of the Bellingham Country Club & Bellingham Yacht Club where he loved to dine & dance.

Sid met Jettie McLane (d. 2002) when he returned from the war & registered at Western Washington College. They were married for 55 years. They had three children: Steve Van Sinderen (Kathryn Johnson), Prosper, TX; Susan Van Sinderen Woodell Alba (d. 1999); & Sharon Van Sinderen Lyon, Birch Bay, WA. Sid was also blessed with many grandkids: Kerri & Steven Perret, Bellingham, WA; Judd Woodell, Bellingham, WA; Elise & Luke Whitfield, Zambia, Africa; Jennifer & Ryan Ward, Prosper, TX; Tim Alba, Las Vegas, NV; Mike Alba, Custer, WA. He also had 17 great-grandkids: Kendra & Caleb Lee, Jacob Perret, Riyan Woodell, McKenzie Woodell, Khenna Woodell, Gavin Woodell, Ginger Woodell, Mason Ward, Ella Ward, Campbell Ward, Macie Whitfield, Emma Whitfield, Payton Whitfield, ChiChi Whitfield, Taziona Whitfield, & Avery Whitfield, & 2 great-great-grandchildren: Khysen Woodell & Cali Perret.
We want to thank everyone who has been so loving & kind, & who took such great care of Sid these last few years in assisted living. A special thank you to Christian Healthcare Center in Lynden. They only knew him for a short time but the extra love & care that they gave him was exceptional, truly a blessing from God. Even up to the end, he was a true testament, being jovial, telling everyone that he loved them, blowing kisses & wrinkling his nose and giving a wink saying, “You’re a good guy, Mr. McGee!” Our memories of you are greatly treasured!!
Memorials may be made in his honor & memory to: Wounded Warrior veterans, Christian Healthcare Center, Northlake Community Church, or the Eleeo Project in Zambia, Africa.

A jubilant celebration of Sid’s wonderful, complete life will be held on March 31, 2017, 2:00 p.m. at Northlake Community Church in Bellingham. All are invited to attend at that time & to share memories of how he touched your life.

Celebration Of Life

  • Date & Time: January 17, 3312 (12:00 AM)
  • Venue: Northlake Community Church
  • Location: 1471 McLeod Rd Bellingham, WA 98226 - (Get Directions)

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2 responses to Sidney Van Sinderen

  1. My wife and I are a part of a Good News Fellowship group that serve coffee and cookies to residents at Louisa House of Ferndale, Wa. This is how we met Sidney. Sometimes he did not come out of his room to join the activities, so I asked the Director if I could bring my Golden Retriever, Trevor to visit him.Of course she said yes, so we played a game of finding the cheese treat in one of both clasped hands. They played the game until the treats ran out. When I asked Trevor (at home) if “He wanted to go see Sidney” he just jumped up and down! He would lead me to Sid’s room and gently nudge his hand if he was dozing to wake him so they could play. Sid would grab him by the scruff of his neck and hug him and put his forehead on Trevor’s, laughing out loud until they both shook. Sidney said “animals are a lot nicer than people”. We all enjoyed our visits with Sidney. We even left him a picture to enjoy between visits.One day Trevor led me down the hall only to be puzzled by the locked door to his room.
    Good by Sidney, and Rest In Peace My Friend!
    Stan and Mildred Schmidt.

  2. Kurt Aemmer says:

    In my 64 years I have had many blessings. One of those is the education I received while attending Bellingham Public Schools; Roosevelt, Whatcom & Bellingham High. I had many exceptional teachers. Mr. VanSinderen was one. I will remember him.

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