Heber Van Gilder, Jr., a pastor in nine GARBC churches across the Midwest and volunteer chaplain for many police and fire departments, died on June 24. He was 87.

Son of Dr. and Mrs. H. O. Van Gilder, former GARBC national representative, Heber Jr. graduated from Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth, Ohio. He attended Baptist Bible College and Seminary at the time it was in Johnson City, N.Y., and graduated in 1944, later doing graduate work at the University of Michigan. He married Lena VanValkenburg soon after graduation.

He was pastor of Sanford Avenue Baptist, Alton, Ill.; First Baptist, Cedar Springs, Mich.; Oxford Baptist, Oxford, Mich.; Thirty-first Street Baptist (now Devington Baptist), Indianapolis, Ind.; Memorial Baptist, Verona, Wis.; Grove Avenue Baptist, Racine, Wis.; Sunrise Valley Baptist, San Jose, Calif.; Valley Baptist, Merced, Calif.; and Cottage Lake Baptist, Woodinville, Wash.

Van Gilder was also a past vice-president of the American Council of Christian Churches and was a member of the original board of directors for Shepherds Ministries, Union Grove, Wis.

For the last 13 years, he and his wife lived in the Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, Wash. During those years he was interim pastor for another two churches and chaplain to the local Fire District #14.

He is survived by his wife, Lena; his sons, Chip, Daniel, and Thomas; two grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a sister; and several nieces and nephews.

  • Download “Racetrack Evangelism,” a Baptist Bulletin profile of H. O. Van Gilder’s chaplaincy ministry.