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Rev. Orwin W. Duistermars

1922 – 2007

Rev Orwin W. Duistermars, who entered the ministry in the Christian Reformed Church at age 39, passed away March 20 in Sacramento, Calif. He was 84.

Duistermars was born in Le Mars, Iowa, and attended grade school and high school in Orange City, Iowa. The young Orwin had a passion for flying, and in 1941 he entered the Army Air Force Pilot School in Marfa, Texas. For the next four years he served the U.S. military as a pilot and a flight instructor, marrying Arlene W. Van Pelt in 1942.

First Lieutenant Duistermars was discharged in October 1945, though flying remained one of his passions. He applied for a position as a commercial airline pilot but was told he was too tall.

Following some years in business, Duistermars enrolled in Calvin College in 1954, and, upon graduation, entered Calvin Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1961.That same year the Duistermars accepted a call to Trinity CRC, Fremont, Mich. In 1964 they moved to Bellflower, Calif., where Orwin became pastor of Bethany CRC. Four more congregations profited from his diligent service: Beckwith Hills CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich. (1970); Third CRC, Lynden, Wash. (1974); Battle Creek (Mich.) CRC (1979); and Second CRC, Wellsburg, Iowa (1984).

Rev. Duistermars retired in 1988. After retirement he served vacant churches in Barstow, Calif.; Redlands, Calif.; and Napa, Calif.

His congregations remember Duistermars as a faithful pastor who loved to call on his parishioners. The elderly, especially, appreciated his pastoral care. He had a reputation of preparing sermons with meticulous care, with a deep love for the Word of God and reading in general. He was careful not to draw attention to himself but to Christ. Duistermars carried himself with dignity, but those who knew him were also struck by his wonderful sense of humor.

Rev. Duistermars is survived by his wife, Arlene; by their children, Allen Duistermars, Ricky and Marilyn Duistermars, Dean and Mary Duistermars, and Linda and Tom De Kleer; and by eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

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