Douglas George Vanderlaan was born in Muskegon, Michigan on July 23, 1957. Doug passed away on July 18, 2023 after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Doug moved with his family from Michigan to Lake Worth, Florida during the summer of 1970, where he would meet his childhood sweetheart and future wife, Doris Jean Schans. They married on December 28, 1976 and have celebrated 46 years of blessed life together.
Doug would earn his Bachelor’s degree in Organic Chemistry from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From there, he would go on to earn his PhD in Organic Chemistry from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL.
Doug spent most of his working life as a research chemist for Vistakon, developing the polymers used in the production of modern-day contact lenses. He earned 48 patents for products and processes while working for Vistakon.
Doug’s passions were his family, his community and his music. He volunteered for many years as a board member of HabiJax of Jacksonville, a Habitat for Humanity group in his Springfield neighborhood. He worked tirelessly at improving his community, helping to address the problems of homelessness, drug abuse and prostitution that affected his neighborhood, helping to improve these conditions by befriending the folks impacted by these problems.
All the while, he would pursue his love of music, through his early music days in a band called Ebenezer, to his more recent duo named Doug and Heather, bringing together fellow neighborhood musicians, including his niece Tracy and her husband Cody, to entertain folks of the community by setting up special shows in various venues.
Doug had a very adventurous spirit and loved to travel, with the list of countries he visited too long to list here. He traveled often with his youngest son, Mark, hiking together in many foreign countries, learning Spanish to communicate with the locals in Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, and Spain. Later in life, he would explore Holland, his ancestral home, with his wife, Doris, and both of his sons, Andrew and Mark. Doug loved learning about his ancestors, going so far as learning to speak and write Dutch, enabling him to communicate with distant relatives in the “Old Country”.
Doug was a lover of long-leaf pines and the music of Todd Rundgren, a collector of beautiful guitars and wonderful friends. Always the consummate scientist, Doug is donating a portion of his brain for research at the Mayo Clinic in hopes of advancing research into Parkinson’s Disease.
Doug was the son of the late Howard Jay Vanderlaan and Kathleen Pearl (VanderMey) Vanderlaan He is survived by his loving wife Doris and two sons, Andrew Colin Vanderlaan (wife Lindsay (Martin) Vanderlaan) and Mark Howard Vanderlaan (partner Diana Marshall). He is also survived by two brothers and two sisters, Dan Howard Vanderlaan (wife Linda Kroll Vanderlaan) and David Lyn Vanderlaan (wife Debra Buwalda Vanderlaan), Sally Kay (Vanderlaan) Oesch (Steve Oesch), and Susan Joyce (Vanderlaan) Branderhorst (Scott Branderhorst), and many beloved nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, and sisters and brothers through marriage.
A Service of Remembrance will be held at 3 PM on August 19th, 2023 in Avondale Methodist Church 1651 Talbot Ave Jacksonville, FL 32205. A reception will be held after the service at 5 PM at Hyperion Brewing Co 1744 N Main St Jacksonville, FL 32206.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Doug’s memory to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in support of Parkinson’s research.