Elder John Henry Vandenberg, an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served as presiding bishop for 11 years, died June 3, 1992. He was 87.
He was named an assistant to the Twelve in 1972 after serving as presiding bishop since 1961. He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976 and received emeritus status two years later.Elder Vandenberg was born in Ogden on Dec. 18, 1904, the fifth child of a Dutch immigrant couple, Dirk and Maria Alkema Vandenberg.
While attending high school, he delivered packages for a dry goods merchant and later worked in the shipping department at the candy factory where his father was a mechanic.
After graduating from the Weber Academy in 1923 (now Weber State University), he accepted an accounting position with John Clyde and Co., livestock commission agents at the Ogden Stockyards.
Elder Vandenberg was called to serve a mission in the Netherlands in 1925. During part of his mission, his accounting and other office skills were put to use as mission secretary.
While in the mission home, he became acquainted with a young convert named Ariena Stok. Some time after he returned home, Elder Vandenberg learned that Stok had immigrated to Utah.
He sought Stok out in her new homeland and the pair were married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 10, 1930. They have two married daughters, Lenore V. Mendenhall of Alpine, Utah County, and Norine V. Francis of Sandy, and 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
During the early years of their marriage, Elder Vandenberg worked in the Salt Lake office of the sheep and wool merchandising firm of Merrion and Wilkins. The company later transferred him to its Denver office.
While in Denver, Elder Vandenberg served in several church positions, including stake mission president from 1941 to 1942 and first counselor in the Denver Stake presidency from 1942 to 1955.
Elder Vandenberg became a partner in the sheep and wool merchandising firm. After several years, he sold his interest in the firm to start a new business venture in Denver, the Audio Visual Center.
He returned to Salt Lake City to serve as vice chairman of the Church Building Committee in charge of finance, a position he held for six years. He also served as a counselor in the Ensign Stake Presidency.
In 1961, he was called to serve as presiding bishop of the church. He described this calling as one of the greatest surprises and thrills of his life.
While serving as presiding bishop, he was a member of the Church Expenditures Committee, the General Priesthood Committee and Church Correlation Committee.
He also served as chairman of the Church Welfare Committee, presided over the Aaronic Priesthood of the church and was chairman of the General Scouting Committee and Health Services Corp.
On April 6, 1972, he was sustained as an assistant to the Twelve. Along with that calling he served as managing director of the church's physical facilities department. In that new assignment, he supervised three major divisions: real estate, building and maintenance.
Throughout his life, Elder Vandenberg won many awards. In 1968, he was named honorary Master M-Man of the MIA, the Mutual Improvement Association.
Four years earlier, he was named an honorary colonel in the "Deadeye Association' of the 96th Command Headquarters, U.S. Army Reserve while a guest of the unit during summer training at Fort Lewis, Wash.
In 1970, he received the third annual Health Service Award of the Salt Lake Kiwanis Club. He was praised for leadership and understanding in running 10 church hospitals in Utah for nine years.
Funeral will be Saturday, June 6, at noon in the Crescent 13th Ward meetinghouse, 2135 Pepperwood Drive (10900 South). Burial will be in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.