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Ottawa County commissioner Dennis Van Dam dies after illness

By Andrea Goodell/The Holland Sentinel • Dec 8, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Ottawa County Commissioner Dennis Van Dam died Tuesday morning, Dec. 6. He was 64.

The Hudsonville resident had been undergoing treatment for cancer and had recently begun hospice care, according to a news release from the county.

His son, Matthew, 29, died five months ago, to the day, also of cancer.

Van Dam was surrounded by loved ones in his home at the time of his passing, Tuesday, according to the statement.

Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg remembered Van Dam as someone with an enthusiasm for politics and for his role as a county commissioner, a caring person who had a passion for doing things right.

Van Dam always researched topics before the commission and always had constructive questions, Vanderberg said.

"He wasn't the kind of person to just take up space — he was the kind of person to contribute ideas," Vanderberg said.

Van Dam would text him at all hours, working through solutions to problems before the board, Vanderberg said.

"Something would come to his mind — early morning, late at night," Vanderberg said. "... He was always thinking, always had questions or comments or observations about things."

Van Dam was re-elected to his Ward 6 seat in a landslide Nov. 8.

The county will make a statement after the funeral next week on what has to happen next in order to fill the seat, Vanderberg said.

Van Dam also served on the Ottawa County Planning and Policy Committee, the Ottawa County Talent and Recruitment Committee, the West Michigan Enforcement Team Board, and the state Community Corrections Board. He was appointed district director for state Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-Olive Township, in 2015. He was a broker with Visser Development for more than 30 years.

Yntema Funeral Home of Zeeland is handling the arrangements.

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