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Former Holland Mayor, First West Ottawa School Chief Both Pass Away

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Neil Berghoef as a Holland City Councilman in the 1980's (photo courtesy Joint Archives of Holland)
Neil Berghoef as a Holland City Councilman in the 1980's (photo courtesy Joint Archives of Holland)

UNDATED (WHTC) - Two pillars of the Lakeshore community have died within five days of each other.

Last Friday, Lloyd VanRaalte passed away at the age of 89. The Hope College graduate was a principal at Beechwood School when he was among those who organized a consolidation of schools on Holland’s North Side into breaking away from Holland Public Schools and creating the West Ottawa School District in 1958. Mr. VanRaalte also helped form West Ottawa High as the district eventually became the Lakeshore’s largest by student enrollment. He served for a time in the state Education Department before his retirement in 1980. His funeral is this afternoon at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Newaygo.

Yesterday, one-time Holland City Councilman and Mayor Neal Berghoef died at the age of 91. The Dutch immigrant was a plant manager at the Baker Furniture factory on 24th Street before turning to local politics and earning election to council in 1983. Six years later, he was voted mayor, serving two two-year terms before being succeeded by Al McGeehan. Funeral plans are being arranged by the Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home in Holland.

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