Cover photo for Jan Van Dam's Obituary
Jan Van Dam Profile Photo
1929 Jan 2023

Jan Van Dam

June 29, 1929 — April 10, 2023

Jan Van Dam, of Bozeman, MT, went to be with the Lord on April 10, 2023, after 93 fully lived years.  He was born in The Hague, Netherlands, on June 29, 1929, to Marinus and Albertina (Wals) Van Dam.


Jan had the unique experience to live under Nazi occupation between the ages of 11 and 16, and worked with the Dutch underground, transporting paperwork in his clothes as he biked from place to place. His parents’ cigar store afforded them a means to “trade” for supplies and they helped feed many people during the occupation. He had huge respect for those who liberated them.  


He went on to serve in the Dutch military (Lieutenant, maintenance). He also received a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Technical University in Delft. The first 30 years of his life were characterized by the effects of WWII, working hard to improve his life, having fun, making music when possible, and marrying Helena Klouwen in 1954 and starting a family, with son, Frank, and daughter, Ellen. He also started a long career with Philips, formerly one of the largest electronics companies in the world.


Over the next 30 years, he explored some new opportunities, including building F-5 engines, six months of reconnaissance work in China for Philips, starting a business, and partnering in a hotel, bringing it from a 2-Star to 4-Star level. As Jan’s work focus changed, the family moved all over The Netherlands. He was always striving to improve things, and obtained several patents, including for a keelboat trailer.


In his 60’s, Jan retired to Leesburg, Florida where he met and married Kathleen in 1995. While in Florida, Jan obtained US citizenship (dual), something he was very proud of (although he still seemed to get great pleasure rooting for the Dutch athletes in the Olympics). In 2018 he and Kathy moved to Bozeman to be closer to family.


Jan’s life-long interests were many, but while in Holland, sailing was a love, with a boat he passed on to his son. Travel, photography, and painting were also loves and talents, but the biggest was music. From a young age, even during the war, he played piano as the family gathered around. He loved jazz and was once part of a jazz band. He also became proficient on the guitar, ukelele (playing with a small group in Bozeman for a while), and the violin he completely refurbished and learned to play (between the ages of 89 and 93!). The last song he was learning was Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.”


Jan is survived by his wife, Kathleen; two sisters, Tineke and Hannie; his son, Frank (Karen) Van Dam with grandchildren, Joost and Dorian; his daughter, Ellen Van Dam (Rick) Zimmerman with grandchildren, Harmen (Wies) and Margot (Sebas); his step-daughters, Dyanne Russell and Cynthia (Mike) Huempfner; step-grandchildren, Shane (Christine), Shannon (Matt), Melissa (Matt); and 5 great-step grandchildren. Another sister, Miep, preceded Jan in death.


A Funeral Mass for Jan will take place Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., at Resurrection University Catholic Parish, 1725 S. 11th, in Bozeman. MT. A reception with light refreshments and time for sharing and remembering Jan will be held in the Parish Hall immediately following the Mass.


Memorials, if desired, are suggested to Doctors Without Borders (www.donate.doctorswithoutborders.org <http://www.donate.doctorswithoutborders.org>).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jan Van Dam, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Mass

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

Resurrection University Catholic Parish

1725 South 11th Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715

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