Eric Marshall VanDerLinden, age 29 of Des Moines, IA, son of Raymond Gerrit and Cathy Sue (Driskill) VanDerLinden, was born October 2, 1984, in Grinnell, IA. Eric went to heaven March 20, 2014.
Eric graduated from Lamoni High School in 2003. He then joined the United States Army and protected our country overseas as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Eric began seeing Katie Michelle Clemence while living in Lamoni, IA, and, after a long courtship, they were united in marriage September 1, 2012, in Des Moines. At that time, Eric worked at the Boat in Osceola; when they settled in Altoona, he began to drive a route for Crystal Clear Water and Katie worked at Mercy Hospital.
As a young boy, Eric loved to play outdoors; he was always the good guy, making sure the bad guys never won! He had toy guns that he used to pretend to “shoot the bad guys,” and sometimes he would use sticks as guns. He loved being outside so much, instead of coming inside to take a nap, he would stretch out on the hood of a car and sleep. Eric and his friends often recall the time when they would ride down the stairs in sleeping bags; they sometimes would put the dog, Noot, in the sleeping bag and slide him down the stairs. Noot would come out of the sleeping bag ready to play again and again.
Eric joined the Cub Scouts in 1993 with his friends, and progressed from Tigers all the way through Webelos. Scouting gave Eric a chance to be outside, spend time with friends and with his dad. Raymond often recalled the time during Eric’s Winter Camping Badge trip when the boys and their fathers slept outside in sleeping bags. Raymond woke up hot because Eric had uncovered himself during the night and thrown extra covers on his dad. Eric was cold, rolled up in a ball, so Raymond covered up his son. This story was indicative of Eric’s care for others, and his willingness to put his own needs aside for others.
Eric had many talents and interests. He was an artist and drew many pictures of characters. He also liked to work on cars, and learned a lot by working alongside his dad and his friends. Eric was a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, too, and spent plenty of time over the years mock-fighting with his friends and his sister, Amanda. He even had an opportunity to compete in a cage match in Des Moines.
Eric referred to himself as a ‘geek’ because of his interests in roleplaying characters from “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.” He loved roleplaying fantasy games with his friends, who say they’ll never forgot the night when one of his friends said loudly, "I have no useful skills." It became an ongoing joke, and was brought up from time to time, giving everyone a good laugh.
In Eric's free time, he enjoyed target practice with his family and friends, fishing, and hunting deer, rabbits, squirrel, and pheasants. One of Eric’s main passions was weightlifting and teaching others how to lift weights correctly. Eric was of the Mormon faith.
Preceding Eric in death was his father Raymond VanDerLinden. Survivors include his wife, Katie VanDerLinden of Burns, TN; mother Cathy VanDerLinden of Lamoni, Iowa; sister Amanda Popelka and husband Jeremy, and their two children Alex and Andrew of Kellerton, Iowa; grandparents Donald and Louise Driskill of Murray, Iowa; many other relatives and friends.
A memorial for Eric will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Lamoni Community of Christ in Lamoni, IA. In lieu of flowers, contributions are welcome to assist with family expenses, checks payable and mailed to VanDerLinden Family, c/o Charlie Clemence, 2707 Stuart Street, Burns, TN 37029.