John Vander Heyden, a well-known figure in southern Alberta’s feedlot industry, died Feb. 12 at the age of 85.
Born in Gemert, Netherlands, Vander Heyden moved to Canada in 1957 and settled near Picture Butte, Alta. He and his wife raised six children while establishing and operating Vander Heyden Ranches Ltd.
That initial operation remains in the family, now operated by John Vander Hayden Jr., who expanded the feedlot business to become Grandview Cattle Feeders Ltd.
Described as a passionate supporter of the beef livestock industry, Vander Heyden was a delegate to the former Alberta Cattle Commission for more than 10 years.
At a local level, he was a founding member of the North County Interfaith Food Bank and a key fundraiser for the North County Recreation Complex in Picture Butte.
Vander Heyden was among those who received the International Patriot Award for his 1995 work to honour Canadian soldiers who helped liberate the Netherlands in the Second World War.
He is survived by his wife, Mary, three sons, three daughters, 20 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A funeral mass was scheduled Feb. 16 in Lethbridge. Donations in Vander Heyden’s memory can be made to the North County Interfaith Food Bank, 326 Highway Ave., Picture Butte, Alta., T0K 1V0.