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Kenneth "Van" VanDerveer Polhemus

April 27, 1935 - May 26, 2020


Age 85. Passed peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family. Kenneth (Van) was born on April 27, 1935, the only child of Kenneth & Wilma Polhemus.

Van graduated from Perry High School in 1953. He married Glenda Cowell in 1954 and together raised four children; Vanessa (Terry) Eaton, Shelly (Jim) Nyquist, Joe (Candace) Polhemus, and Jenni (Matt) Mansour. Their children later gave them eight grandchildren; Monica (Kurt) King, Angie (Jason) Warren, Ken Eaton, Kelley (Aaron) Goldberg, Tom (Ashley) Nyquist, Katey (Brent) Balkema, Trey (Liana) Polhemus, and Savannah (Karis) Polhemus, along with 16 great-grandchildren.

Van married Joyce Nanasy in 2008 and added to his family; Ben (Tonya) Nanasy, Ken (Jennifer) Nanasy, and Kevin (Tara) Nanasy, 13 grandchildren; Julie (Paul) Bacak, Page (Antonio) Fuentes, Andrew (Kendra) Nanasy, Leslie (Daniel) Godfrey, Lori (Chris) Nanasy, Liza (Rocky) Diamond, Stormy Nanasy, Jessica Polhemus, Toby Martin, Xavier Martin, Stacy Nanasy, Amber Nanasy and Jade Nanasy, along with 19 great-grandchildren.

Van worked as a heavy equipment operator for most of his life. In his earlier years, he loved to fly planes, and race motorcycles and cars. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He also loved his dogs and horses. He particularly enjoyed taking his draft horses to the Shiawassee County Fair to help pull surreys, as well as compete in the pulling contests. His pride and joy was the family farm which was recognized as a Michigan Centennial Farm in 1967.

He was predeceased by his first wife Glenda, son-in-law, Terry Eaton, and grandson, Xavier Martin.

A memorial gathering will be held Tuesday, June 2, 2020 from 2-4 & 6-8 pm at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes, Perry Chapel. Due to the current restrictions, the number of visitors allowed inside may be limited at any given time. A graveside committal service will be held at 11:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at Graham Cemetery.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Anas Al Janadi, Dr. Daniel Isaac, Dr. Anas Alsara and Nurse Natalia at the Breslin Cancer Center for their friendship and compassionate care over the past few years. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the Breslin Cancer Center. Online condolences may be shared with Van's family by going to

Those we love, don’t go away
They walk beside us everyday
Unseen, unheard but always near,
So loved, so missed, so very dear