Timothy Joel (TJ) Van Valkenburg died unexpectedly Sept. 13, 2020, upon leaving church.
He was born in Wauseon, Ohio, on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 1984, the youngest son of Pastor Bill and Rosalyn Van Valkenburg. He had two older brothers, Billy (and Aumend Cunningham) of Adrian, Mich., and Andy (and Desireé) of Maumee, Ohio.
TJ grew up in Seneca, Mich., where his father served as Pastor of Seneca Community Church. When TJ was young, his parents purchased the Sager property across the road from the church primarily to give the three boys plenty of room to run and explore. Early in his life, TJ developed a great interest in athletics and it was not uncommon for a large group of neighbor boys in Seneca to converge in the Van Valkenburg back yard for a game of tackle football or baseball and their infamous in-the-road hockey games. One of those neighborhood boys, Josh Etter, became family and remains the fourth brother to this day.
While attending Morenci High School, TJ served as the starting quarterback for the JV football team, and he lettered in baseball and golf. He was Morenci’s #1 golfer his senior year, served as captain of the golf team and was selected as a member of the All-County golf team. His interest in golf continued throughout his life as he was willing to drop whatever he was doing to head to a golf course if given the opportunity.
TJ was a die-hard Red Wings hockey fan in his younger years, and he enjoyed attending the games in person. Throughout his life he remained a loyal University of Michigan football fan and you did not want to disturb him while either the Detroit Lions or Tigers games were being broadcast on TV.
TJ graduated from Morenci High School in 2003 and received one of the first scholarships ever awarded by the Morenci Education Foundation. He attended Cedarville University for one year, but decided attending college was not for him. He much preferred working with his hands and creating things made with wood. In 2006 he was offered a job with Dow Construction Company in Portsmouth, Va. He spent the next 10 years working in Virginia and was able to learn much about the construction business.
In 2009, a friend arranged for him to go on a blind date and there was an instant connection between Tim and Lydia Hill. It was great shock to learn that Lydia was originally from Adrian and that they had attended Lenawee Christian Elementary School together. After dating for two years, they were married on the campus of Hillsdale College on Sept. 17, 2011, and attended a Detroit Lions football game the next day, the first day of their honeymoon.
After the birth of their first daughter, Payton, Tim and Lydia decided to move back home. On a leap of faith they both quit their jobs and moved to Hudson, Mich., in December 2015. Tim took great pride in his work and found meaning in mentoring and teaching young men the carpentry trade. Tim loved his work, his life, his friends and especially his family.
In 2017 the Van Valkenburg’s welcomed daughter number two, Blake. Tim valued traditions, so birthday hats were worn and cupcakes were served as the group of close family sang Happy Birthday for Blake’s arrival.
Tim was completely unapologetic for who he was. He was strong as ox, a cat-man to Lydia’s dismay, proud of his superior beard and would take the opposite side of an argument purely for debate’s sake.
He enjoyed sitting out on the front stoop talking with his wife nearly every night from the day they met. And above all, Tim will be remembered for his huge heart.
Visitation is planned from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at Faith Baptist Church, 3625 Hunt Road, Adrian. A funeral service is scheduled at 11 a.m. Saturday, with Tim’s father, Pastor Bill Van Valkenburg officiating. Visitation begins at 10 a.m. at Faith Baptist Church. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are highly encouraged.
A private burial will be in Packard Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to his daughters.
Arrangements were handled by Eagle-Marry Funeral Home in Hudson.