Junior High Volunteer Murdered in Real Estate Office

Post a Comment » Written on July 2nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
MUSKEGON, MI (July 2, 2008) – Troy VanderStelt, a long-time member of Forest Park Covenant Church who was murdered in his real estate office Tuesday, enthusiastically volunteered with the congregation’s junior high ministry and was loved throughout the community, pastor Russ Carlson says.

TroyVanderStelt, 33, attended the church more than 15 years and worked with the junior high ministry for more than seven, Carlson says.

“He was a big and gentle guy,” the pastor says. Avid about physical fitness and weightlifting, VanderStelt used to let the junior high students crawl on him and try to knock him over.

“I think the only person in this town who thought Troy was a bad person was the person who did this,” his father, Dennis, told the Muskegon Chronicle. “All of his family will testify what a great son he was, what a great husband he was, and what a great father he was. He was well-respected, kind-hearted, a friend to many people, loving, caring and all those things you want a husband and son to be.”

VanderStelt was an organ donor. Carlson, a liver recipient, says it was especially moving and indicative of the family’s compassion, that his wife, Bridget, was so willing to make sure others would receive VanderStelt’s organs.

Troy and babyCarlson says that instead of a regularly ordered worship service on Sunday, “We’re going to have a family talk.”

Funeral services are pending.

He leaves behind a daughter, Ava; a son, Corbin; a stepson, Matthew; and a stepdaughter, Lainey. Matthew led worship during the church’s Vacation Bible School last year, and Lainey recently returned from a middle school mission trip, Carlson says.

A trust fund for the children has been set up at Community Shores Bank, 1030 West Norton, Muskegon, MI, 49441.

Authorities charged 73-year-old Robert Arnold Johnson with first-degree premeditated murder in VanderStelt’s slaying. The charge carries a mandatory life prison sentence with no chance of parole.

Covenant News Service will publish more information as it becomes available.

For more information on the crime and the community’s reaction, see VanderStelt.

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