Adam D. Verdoorn


Adam David Verdoorn, age 49, passed away May 24, 2024, after a short battle with cardiac AL amyloidosis and multiple myeloma. 

Born Feb. 6, 1975, to David and Karen Verdoorn in Worthington, Adam grew up in the house he helped his dad build in Byron. That experience taught him so many of the skills he would eventually use in his career and in his own home. During summer months, he loved helping his uncles with chores on their farm. 

He was always his mom’s helper in the kitchen, and all he asked for in return was a backrub. When he was nearly three years old, his sister Michele decided he was way too old to still be drinking from a bottle and threw it out the car window as they were driving down the highway. He never really forgave her for that, but he did love his only sister all the same. Adam’s future wife, Heather, was a little jealous when he doted on his sister in college, making her baked potatoes and mac ’n’ cheese in his dorm room. 

In eighth grade, Adam played football, and in high school, he had his first job at Fleet Farm, and also obtained the rank of Eagle Scout. Adam made lots of memories with his close friends, cruising the streets of Rochester going on a ski trip to Breckenridge, and eventually standing up in one another’s weddings. Their tradition was to sing “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” to each bride. If you were lucky enough to be Adam’s friend, you knew he was a kind, generous and genuine man.

In summer 1993, Adam graduated concurrently from Byron High School and Rochester Community College with an Associate of Arts degree. Attending Bemidji State University in fall 1993, he met Heather while living in the same dorm, Tamarack Hall. Adam lived on the 10th floor and Heather lived on the 11th. Given that social media and smartphones were not the norm back then, Adam and Heather passed messages to one another by shouting through the heating vents. Many thanks to Jamie Johnson for playing matchmaker and bringing them together. While attending BSU, Adam was a resident assistant of Maple 1A. Many of the students from that hall became lifelong friends. 

In spring 1996, Adam graduated from BSU with a Bachelor of Science in industrial technology with an emphasis in model making and industrial design. He immediately accepted an internship with Prince Corporation in Holland, Michigan, which turned into a full-time position later that summer. Adam continued to work in the automotive industry for his entire career as his company transitioned ownership to Johnson Controls, now Yanfeng Automotive Interiors. As a senior prototype engineer, it was important to Adam to maintain a high level of quality and perfection in his work. To him, his work was not only a means to support his family, but also something he took great pride in doing.   

Adam and Heather were married in November 1996 at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Sauk Centre. Those who were in attendance will remember the massive ice storm that occurred during the ceremony and reception that froze everyone’s car doors shut. Thank goodness for the hair dryers that were used to thaw the door handles the following morning after a night of rain, sleet and ice. 

Despite a frigid beginning, their marriage of 27 years was a warm and loving one. Blessed with a son, Schuyler, and daughter, Scout, Adam loved being a dad. He wanted to provide them with all the experiences and opportunities possible, from making sure they got a good education by traveling abroad, attending summer camps and taking music lessons. He supported them in all their interests and throughout their schooling as providing a strong foundation for his children was a top priority for him. He often fretted about whether Heather and he were making the right decisions along the way, always wanting the best for them and doing everything he could to help them succeed. Schuyler and Scout adored their dad and greatly valued his guidance. 

Adam and Heather welcomed their daughter-in-law, Destiny Wilson, to the family last fall and he was looking forward to walking Scout down the aisle during her upcoming June wedding to CJ Walters. He loved his new daughter and soon-to-be son as if they were his own children. As Adam often did with the people he liked best, he loved to tease Destiny and talk “shop” with CJ who now has big shoes to fill. 

Always researching something new, Adam had many interests like watching spaghetti westerns, “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” “Svengoolie,” and many YouTubers such as Serious Eats, Vice Grip Garage and DD’s Speed Shop. If the kids wanted him to watch cartoons or movies with him, he was all about it. “Reservoir Dogs” and “The Big Lebowski” were two of his favorites. Adam loved all kinds of music, from Neil Diamond to Pink Floyd as well as listening to podcasts, reading and taking online classes just for fun. Whether it was learning about bourbon or religion, he enjoyed exploring the backstories behind everything. 

Adam was a true do-it-yourself kind of guy and enjoyed working with his hands. He could haul or move anything with his mini-van, a few ratchet straps and lots of ingenuity. He was like an M&M — tough on the outside and sweet on the inside. Whenever Heather and he held hands, his hands were always warm, even in the depths of winter. Babies and dogs loved Adam. He had a knack for calming a crying baby by snuggling them in his big chest. When dogs would look his way on the street, their tails would wag, their ears would perk up, and then lay back as if to say, “Hello friend!” 

Adam’s love language was feeding people. He was passionate about the art and science of cooking including sous-vide, smoking, searing, flat-top and cast iron cooking. He could AeroPress a cup of coffee like no one else. Adam was constantly emulating chefs such as Alton Brown, J. Kenji López-Alt and Bob Belcher. He especially enjoyed dining with friends at The Fat Burrito. When preparing meals for his family and friends, it was like he was feeding an army — so much food. At home, Adam and his family always made the time to sit down and eat together.

Adam is survived by his wife, Heather (Nathe) Verdoorn of Zeeland, Michigan; his children, Schuyler (Destiny) Verdoorn of Zeeland, Michigan, and daughter, Scout (fiancé CJ Walters) of Allegan, Michigan; his parents, David and Karen Verdoorn of Zeeland, Michigan; sister, Michele (Stephen) Isban of Marietta, Georgia; in-laws, Debra (Harold) Schmitz of Sauk Centre, and Mark (Sue) Nathe of Wadena; brother-in-law, Andrew Nathe; step sister in-law, Jacqueline Laube; aunts and uncles, Marsha (Patrick) Bruner, Greg (Lori) Stackhouse, Harold (Ellen) Verdoorn and Tom Verdoorn; nieces and nephews, Maxim and Aydrie Isban, Georgia (Berkley) Weber, Hunter and Alivia Nathe, Liam and Levi Laube; great-niece, LaBree Weber; as well as numerous extended family members, friends and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Joe and Bernice Verdoorn; maternal grandparents Bruce and Janet Stackhouse; uncles, George Stackhouse and Walt King; and his beloved dogs, Belle and Honey.

A celebration of life will be 4-8 p.m. Monday, July 1, at Drenthe Grove Dozeman Center, 615 68th Ave., Zeeland, MI 49464. Hawaiian shirts are not required but strongly encouraged.