Paul VanderLeek Biography

We cannot adjust the wind,
but we can adjust our sails

Paul VanderLeek took great pleasure in sailing and meeting fellow sailors. He was a gifted architect and community leader. He loved life, was full of faith, and made every minute count.

Paul served as Commodore of the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in 1981. He and his family spent most summers sailing and racing on Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. They were active members of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club and spent many weekends on their sailboat at the club.

Professionally, Paul served as President of KSV Architects, in Holland, until they merged with Progressive Architecture Engineering Planning in Grand Rapids. He became President of Progressive in 1989. Paul received several awards for his projects including Holland’s US Post Office and Christ Memorial Church, and Grand Haven’s Coast Guard Station. Paul also worked on Old Kent Bank’s (now Fifth/Third’s) downtown restoration, United Methodist Church and Trinity Reformed Church, the Library at Hope College, and Western Theological Seminary.

Paul believed in giving back to his community. He served on several boards including the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, Good Samaritan Ministries, and Leadership Holland. He was an active member of Rotary Club, Holland Chorale, Christ Memorial Church choir and Lakeshore Link, and was a Laketown Township Planning Commissioner.

Paul was a family man.  He and his wife, Joyce, raised three daughters, Judy Johnson, Brenda VanderLeek and Susan LaFontaine.  His grandchildren are Heather, Elizabeth, Katie and Nick.  Paul’s wife, Joyce, lived in Holland until her passing in the spring of 2016.  Most of his family still lives in the greater Holland area and maintains close ties with the Holland community.

Sadly, Paul’s life ended all too soon. He passed away at age 57 due to complications from prostate cancer in December 1992. As it became clear that God was calling Paul home, Hospice of Holland was invited to be with Paul & his family to support them through Paul’s end-of-life journey.


Paul shared the following poem at a meeting. It truly sums up his attitude toward life.

One day at time –
this is not enough
I do not look back and grieve over the past –
for it is gone
And I am not troubled about the future –
for it has not yet come.
I live in the present and try to make it so beautiful
that it will be worth remembering.