Part of our Family
William ‘Bill’ and Cornelia ‘Connie’ Malda were never shy about their love of Muskegon Christian School.
‘My dad was known for his love of our Christian schools. When we were growing up, he commuted up to Hart or Shelby to work every day, but wanted us to live in Muskegon so we could attend Muskegon Christian”, shares Sharon (Malda) DeWall.
Bill, who passed away this fall at the age of 96, didn’t grow up attending MCS. He instead attended school in a rural one-room school house. After he served in World War II (receiving a Purple Heart for his service), he married MCS alum Connie Rop in 1948. Together they raised 4 children who all attended MCS. The two grandchildren who stayed in the area attended as well.
Upon his discharge from the war, Bill became a masonry contractor for the next 40 years, helping to build many properties in the greater Muskegon area – including MCS. He helped lay the foundations of the current MCS building in 1954 with help from friends like fellow MCS alum Charles ‘Charlie’ Keur. When he retired in the 1980’s, he spent much of his free time volunteering to maintain the MCS building.
Bill and Connie’s gifting of their time, treasures and talent is a legacy that their children have taken on for themselves. Echoing his father, son Jim Malda serves as the coordinator of our MCS ‘Friday Crew’, a dedicated group of volunteers who tackle maintenance projects around our campus every Friday morning. Daughter Sharon DeWall has faithfully volunteered for years in our SCRIP office, even showing up on the eve of her father’s funeral to serve. “It’s what he would have wanted – to be supporting the school like he did. This school is like a part of our family, and it’s a community that we’re deeply committed to,” explains Sharon.
Friends for 4 Generations
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
Pearl (Vannette) Vanderlaan wrote this as her MCS Class of 1946 personal motto, and over her lifetime, lived this out. She was loved by so many, including her listed ‘favorite pastime’ in the 46’ MCS yearbook– Arnie – who ended up being her husband for 68 years until his death in 2018. Together Arn and Pearl Vanderlaan saw their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren attend MCS, and so many of them have blessed us in their support of MCS. So while we were sad to hear of Pearl’s passing away on November 8th, we are thankful that we know she celebrates in heaven with her Savior today.
We are blessed by the legacy that Pearl and Arn, Bill and Connie – and so many other friends of MCS like them – have left behind through their commitment to Christian education.