Abel was born November 6, 1922 on the family farm 1 mile west of Leota in Nobles County Minnesota. His sister, Abelene age 5 remembered that the doctor came to the house with a little black bag and when he left, there was a baby boy. She knew then that the doctor brought the baby in his black bag.
His parents were Leonard & Jennie (Lolkus) Vander Burgh who emigrated from Zuid Holland, The Netherlands in 1893 to Iowa and later to Minnesota. He was the 8th and last child born with 1 older brother, John, and 6 older sisters, Hattie, Johanna, Emma, Alida, Bertha, & Abelene. His father was 49 and his mother 42 when Abel was born.
They moved to Moulton Township in Murray County 2 miles south of Chandler in 1927. Abe was in the hospital gravely ill with purpura during the move and left the hospital to a new home. He attended public school at District #83 but quit school after 7th grade and worked at home and for other farmers. He always preferred to work with his hands rather than books. He recalls there was often a bitter wind during the 1 ½ mile walks to school with his sister and neighbor kids including Margaret DeGroot who recently celebrated her 100th birthday.
Abel was baptized at Bethel Reformed Church in Leota and attended Sunday School and Catechism at Chandler Reformed Church.
He married Claire Curtis August 9, 1942 in Murray County and their only child, Kent Leroy was born in 1943 in Long Beach, California. They returned briefly to Minnesota in the mid 1940’s, but Abe spent the next 70+ years of his life in southern California. Abe worked at the shipyards in the early years in California and then worked in autobody repair at mostly Ford dealers the rest of his career.
When Abe was 14, his parents received a letter on a cold winter day from Jake Vande Brake who lived in California. He described it was so warm he was writing the letter under a tree. Abe remembers that he told his Pa that that’s where he wanted to live and he did. He lived in Long Beach area for many years and then Hemet California the past 40 years. Even though Abe loved living in California, he always kept up with the home news by getting the Edgerton Enterprise every week.
Abe and Claire were divorced in the 1950’s and he was married again 3 more times. The last marriage to Pauline Siler was on his 60th birthday and that marriage ended after 32 years. His son, Kent died on October 8, 2019 in Newport, Oregon.
Abe was a very social guy who loved to play jokes and have fun. He liked nice clothes and Ford/Lincoln cars. He had many friends and had outlived all of them. He is the last member of his family.
Abel died at his home in Hemet on June 12, 2020 after a brief illness. He was 97 years old. His mother and his brother were also 97 when they passed away. He will be interred in the Chandler Memorial Cemetery in Chandler Minnesota at a later date.
Survivors include nieces & nephews: Vincent Vander Burgh, Verla Spannagel, Phyllis DeVries, Glenn DeGroot, Owen & Lloyd Pool, Marlene Kreun, Robert, Larry and Clyde DeBoer, Peter & Galen Youngsma, Rosann Peabody, Rodney, Milton, Clark, & Curtis Schuur, and Sharolyn Achterhoff. He also is remembered by Brad Anderson, whom Abe became a father figure for when his father died when Brad was just 2 years old; and Sarah, a special caregiver the past 5 years.
Preceding in death are his grandparents, John & Johanna Lolkus, Leota MN and Abel & Hendrine Vander Burgh, Zuidland, the Netherlands. His parents; son, Kent; brother John (Margaret) Vander Burgh, Sisters, Hattie, (Hillie) Beckering, Johanna (John) DeGroot, Emma (Steve) Pool, Alida (John) DeBoer, Bertha, (Peter) Youngsma, Abelene (Henry) Schuur. Nieces & Nephews, Viola (Beckering) Johnson, Leonard, Russell, Frank, Wesley Beckering; Leonard Vander Burgh, Harvey DeGroot, Donna (Pool) Westenberg, and Harlan Schuur.