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April 7th, 2009

Vander Plaats’ Father Passes Away at Age 74

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Written by: Craig Robinson

“Love this country, Serve this country, Give your life for this country if you have to, and defend this country, and you start by Defending our country on your knees every night.” Those were the words that John Vander Plaats told his son Bob and his grandson Hans a few years ago when they recorded his account of his experience in World War II. John Vander Plaats passed away last night at the age of 74.

Vander Plaats released the following statement about the passing of his father.

Many of you have heard me talk about my Dad. He is a hero to me. He lost both of his parents and one of his brothers due to a tragic car crash when he was 13 years old.

He served his country as a member of the US Navy in WWII. He was trained in amphibeous landings. He participated in the invasion of Iwa Jima. He was honored by Sheldon High School as an honorary high school graduate in the year 2000 at age 74.

When he returned home from the war, he served his Church, his spouse, his children, his community, and his country. As a parent he had the most difficult task of burying three of his eight children. Barbie passed away at age 6 on Christmas day due to complications of a rare kidney disease. Bradley was stillborn at birth. And Harlan passed away at age 21 as a result of injuries incurred in a car crash.

At 8:41 last evening, April 6, my Dad joined his parents, his three children, and many of his WWII peers in the Heavenly Hosts.
Best of all, he has met his Savior face to face and cheek to cheek and every tear has been wiped away.

I can only imagine his singing, his laughing, and his feasting at the Lord’s table. One of his favorite hymns is, “By The Sea of Chrystal.” Today, I am confident he is walking streets of gold by that Chrystal Sea.

Our mourning of a great loss of a great man is lightened by knowing where he is. Thank you for your prayers during this time.

Please keep Bob and his family in your prayers.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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