Johannes van der Velden Obituary (1929 – 2022) – West Seattle, WA


Johannes (Hans) Hubert van der Velden was born on May 22, 1929 to Hubert van der Velden and Gertrud (Wegers) van der Velden in Breyell, Germany. He passed away at age 93 in West Seattle, Washington on May 30, 2022.

Hans grew up on his family’s farm located near the Dutch border during the difficult years of World War II. Even in the midst of war, he was mesmerized by the sight of the American’s gleaming Boeing B-17 bombers flying overhead and dreamed of designing airplanes someday.

He attended Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany receiving the equivalent of a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and then worked for the Bauer and Schaurte company in Neuss, Germany. Wishing to hone his engineering skills he took a short-term job in the US at the Toledo Pipe Threading Company in 1957.

That “short-term” job turned into 65 years of living the American dream, starting when he met Joan Baumgartner, the beautiful and brilliant medical doctor he married in February, 1959. After a short stint with AeroQuip Company in Jackson, Michigan he accepted his dream position as a mechanical engineer with the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company in Seattle, Washington, beginning in January, 1961 and where he was to stay for 45 years.

Hans and Joan led very busy lives juggling five active children and their professions, as well as their world travel, cultural, athletic, and outdoor pursuits. While Joan was working as an anesthesiologist at Burien and Riverton Hospitals, Hans worked on the development of 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, and 777. He designed and held patents on a number of parts and was named a Boeing Technical Fellow. He also served as Chairman of the International Fluid Systems Standards Committee for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for many years. He finally retired for good at age 85 but continued to remain keenly interested in happenings at both Boeing and the SAE until Alzheimer’s disease made that no longer possible.

In his “spare time” Hans helped found the West Highline Soccer Association and served as a coach and referee. An active outdoorsman, he climbed Mt. Rainier seven times. He and Joan were avid world travelers and season ticket holders and donors to the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, PNB, and the Intiman Theater.

Hans is predeceased by his wife Joan (Baumgartner) van der Velden, his parents, Hubert and Gertrud van der Velden, sisters Maria and Sophia, and brother Karl. He is survived by Karin (Paul) Allen, Karl (Lisa) van der Velden, Eric van der Velden, Elaine (Drew) Yager, Mike (Courtney) van der Velden, children Heidi van der Velden, Leslie (Brad) Cheezum, Gretchen Allen, Teddy and Johnny van der Velden, and great Set Rebecca Derek and Mila Cheum.

Funeral Mass to be held Tuesday, July 5 at 2pm at St. Francis Catholic Church in Burien, Washington. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in his honor to the Seattle Opera or the Seattle Symphony.

Published by Bonney-Watson from Jun. 8 to Jun. 9, 2022.

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