Douglas George Vanderlaan

Douglas George Vanderlaan

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.


  • Joan Maberry Posted July 20, 2023 4:03 pm

    Doug was a soft spoken, gentle yet powerful man. I was honored to have known him, as he enriched every life he touched. Doug was the epitome of honor, civic pride and genuine friend. He enriched the lives of everyone he met. I was honored to have known him, to call a friend and to work alongside of to improve Springfield. He leaves a legacy that is unmatched and one that words are simply inadequate to justify all that he was and stood for.
    My heart goes out to Doris, his sons and the family. He leaves a wonderful legacy, as he impacted so many. He will be dearly missed.

  • Beverly Morgan Posted July 20, 2023 5:08 pm

    I didn’t know Doug as well as I wish but I enjoyed our conversations when he visited at church or attended church functions. He was always so kind and I loved it when he sang. Reading his obituary made me realize what a truly amazing man he was and I’m sad I didn’t know him better.

  • Gloria Devall Posted July 20, 2023 7:35 pm

    Thank you Doug for taking care of us all

  • Gloria Devall Posted July 20, 2023 7:38 pm

    Thank you Doug for taking care of us.

  • Susan Noonan Posted July 21, 2023 11:12 pm

    Springfield would no be what it is today without Doug’s time and dedication to its revitalization.. His hard work was an inspiration for others and he moved all of us to to work hard along side him to clean up the neiborhood. He was one of a kind for sure, loved and respected by all in Springfield.

  • Noel Brennan Posted July 23, 2023 5:32 pm

    I had the good fortune of knowing Doug through our links to Johnson & Johnson Vision. I think I first met him when we were Both expert witnesses in court cases concerning patent disputes in England and Ireland and I found him to be an interesting person. When I moved to Florida to work with Johnson & Johnson Vision, Doug and Doris made my wife, Chantal, and I welcome by inviting us to join them at the Open Mike night at Three Layers cafe in Springfield where Doug was a regular performer. There were numerous such nights as well as dinners with them and other work friends. We were most saddened by the Parkinsons diagnosis and subsequent deterioration.
    Doug was a very thoughtful, well-considered, gentle and amusing man. We will miss him very much. Sincere condolences to Doris.

  • Chantal Brennan Posted July 23, 2023 5:40 pm

    Good bye dear friend! Thanks for teaching me to drive a tennis cart (in your backyard 🙂 and for guiding me to drive Tom’s boat at full speed whie tilting the boat right and left!! (not sure you liked that too much!) All and all i really loved our times together and miss you so very much !! Rest in peace now. We will miss you always. Chantal

  • Amanda Searle Posted July 23, 2023 6:56 pm

    He was such a kind person and always uplifting to be around. Mark and I were sorry to hear this news. Thinking of you all .

  • Paul Koza Posted July 24, 2023 2:27 pm

    My condolences to Doug’s family. Although I did not work closely with Doug in R&D since I was on the engineering end, I do know that he was an outstanding scientist. His expertise helped Vistakon overcome patent challenges for their contact lenses. He will be missed by his Vistakon colleagues.

  • Annabelle Gallois-Bernos Posted August 19, 2023 12:01 am

    Rest in peace, Doug. The world is a better place because of you. Thank you for your inspiring courage and your multiple talents as a scientist and a musician. I am so grateful for having had you as a colleague at Vistakon and for all the fun musical events in your company.
    My sincere condolences to you, Doris, your children, and the whole family.

  • Deb Williams Posted August 19, 2023 11:15 am

    Our hearts go out to the Vanderlann family. We’re so sorry for your loss.
    The obituary was so beautifully written, as it described Doug so well. We’ll miss seeing Doug at Springfield music events and we’ll think of him when we attend one. Love and peace, Deb & Wayne

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