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Prominent Olivet College alumna and former employee dies
Sep 21, 2009

Laura Berghorst Verplank, former alumni director and 1938 graduate of Olivet College, died Saturday, Sept. 19 in Holland. She was 93.

From 1981-89, Verplank served as Olivets director of alumni relations, where she directed Homecoming and Alumni Weekends, corresponded with alumni, organized trips and arranged for alumni to return to campus to speak about their work experiences.

As a student at Olivet, she majored in English literature, which led to her love of theatre, participating in the Grand Rapids Civic Players and the Brattleboro Summer Theatre in Vermont. After graduation, she became a decorator for Steketees of Grand Rapids and then worked in sales for Schumacher & Co., New York.

In 1941, she married Marvin Verplank and returned to her hometown of Zeeland. From 1967-69, she taught in the Zeeland Public Schools and then became the librarian at Zeeland High School, where she retired in 1979.

Widowed in 1971, she was the mother of four children, Peter, who died in 1987, Richard, Kate and William. She had 10 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Verplank received a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from Olivet in 1986. In 1974, she earned a masters degree in library science from the University of Michigan.

A visitation will be held Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 11:30 a.m. at Second Reformed Church, 225 E. Central Ave., Zeeland. A memorial will be held following the visitation at 1 p.m.

Contributions in memory of Verplank may be made to the Laura Berghorst Verplank Scholarship Fund at Olivet College.


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