John Van Rees

Aug. 19, 1952 - Feb. 7, 2024

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John Andrew Van Rees, 71, of Vancouver, passed away on February 7th, 2024. John was a beloved father, grandfather, business owner, and friend. He lived with compassion for others and love for the universe. John was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa August 19, 1952, and was raised in Knoxville, Iowa by his parents Vernon and Lenora Van Rees with his sister Bonnie, who proceeded him in death. He couldn’t wait to see around the bend in the road; so, he left Knoxville, soon after graduation from high school. John had some very "interesting" experiences in his early adulthood, and he was always appreciative of those. It was through these peaks and valleys of his life that he developed his enormous amount of compassion for all people. It was in this period that he began his own recovery of his true self, and in that learned how to help others in that same process. He truly learned for himself what was to become his motto: "that every individual, regardless of past or present experience, is whole, complete and perfect, and without limitation." John always had a passion for spirituality. He became an ordained minister in 1992 and founded Gifts of Divinity Prison and Alternative Ministries. In 1999, John combined this passion with his expertise in retail with his passion to found his online business, Exquisite Crystals. John appreciated the natural beauty of crystals and sincerely believed in the power of their energy. He once said, “Whatever’s wrong, there’s a crystal to help.” John met many lifelong friends through his work with minerals. He maintained generational relationships with people worldwide, from Brazil, China, and India. In 2016, John opened a storefront and gallery in Vancouver, Washington. John Sr. often said that his most significant accomplishments were his business and family. John was very proud of his two children, Stephanie Renee, and John Andrew Jr. His children gave him much pleasure as he watched them grow into adults with their own loving families. John is survived by his former wife, Mary, his two children, and his beloved granddaughters, Nora VanRees and Emily Soderberg. John’s celebration of life will be held at 1:00 pm on Sunday, April 21st, 2024, at Hidden House, 100 W 13th St, Vancouver, WA 98660. Make any donations to honor John’s life to the equality or environmental organization of your choice.


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Earth specializes in soil transformation, an environmentally-friendly alternative to burial and cremation. Over a 45-day process, we gently transform a body into nutrient-rich soil. We then send this soil to our local conservation land where it’s used for restoration projects such as reforestation and nourishing challenged ecosystems.

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