January 18, 2011 — 1915 – 2005
As Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States, Peter Ymen De Jong was translated to glory following apparent heart failure.
De Jong, 90, was born into a pastor’s family in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1915. He attended Grand Rapids Christian High School and studied at Calvin College and Seminary, graduating from the latter in 1939. That same year he enrolled at Hartford Theological Seminary, earning a Ph.D. in 1942. He and Joanne H. Heyns married in 1940.
While at Hartford he served the Preakness Christian Reformed Church and was ordained to the CRC ministry in 1940. In later years he served in many ministries: Alpine Avenue CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich. (1942); Oakdale Park CRC, Grand Rapids, (1948); missionary for the CRC to South India (1952); First CRC, Pella, Iowa (1953); First CRC, Hamilton, Ontario (1960); Alger Park CRC, Grand Rapids (1963); professor of pastoral theology at Calvin Thelogical Seminary (1964); First CRC, Sioux Center, Iowa (1970); and First CRC, Sheldon, Iowa (1976). He retired in 1980. In 1982 he affiliated with the United Reformed Churches.
De Jong was as much a pastor and preacher as he was a scholar and teacher. He related with warmth and affection to his parishioners and his churches remember him as a caring shepherd. He was widely sought as a speaker at religious conferences and rallies and was a prolific writer of theological works, Bible studies, and articles for a variety of magazines. He was delegated to many CRC synods and served several as an officer. He was a man of firm convictions who had a deep appreciation for the Reformed faith.
De Jong is survived by his wife, Joanne, and their children James A. and Lois De Jong, Deanne and E. Robert Tigchelaar, Peter Y. and Charlotte De Jong, Stephen and Deanne De Jong, Corinne and James Hentges, and Christine and Dale Zylstra; 24 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.