Rev. Gerard Nonnekes
Jan. 2, 1927 - July 16, 2007
Rev. Gerard Nonnekes, teacher, evangelist, missionary, and pastor, passed away July 16, 2007, from complications of Alzheimer’s.
Nonnekes was born in The Hague, the Netherlands, and grew up near the city of Middelburg, where he attended grade school and high school. His teen years were deeply affected by the traumas of World War II, but a conversion experience helped him find peace amid the violence of those times.
In 1946, at age 19, Nonnekes decided to become a missionary and enrolled at St. Luke’s Bible College in London, from which he graduated in 1949. That same year he married Teuntje (“Tony”) van den Berg, who was also a student at the college. She was to play a quietly supportive role in his ministries.
In January 1949, the young couple began serving as missionaries in Nigeria. In 1952 they immigrated to Ontario, Canada, where Nonnekes taught for two years at Holland Marsh Christian School. In 1954 he enrolled at Calvin College. He was admitted to Calvin Theological Seminary the year after and graduated in 1958.
Rev. Nonnekes served the following Christian Reformed congregations: West End CRC, Edmonton, Alberta (1958); Orangeville (Ont.) CRC (1964); Emo (Ont.) CRC (1975); and Fredericton (N.B.) CRC (1985). He retired in 1992.
Gerard is remembered as a self-effacing pastor whose convictions were rooted in humble faith and love. His pastoral practice was marked by kindness and sincerity. Nonnekes preached a God rich in grace and forgiveness. His parishioners intuitively knew that what their pastor confessed about God he had experienced deeply himself. His colleagues remember him as a friend with broad theological interests thoroughly grounded in the Word of God. His children remember him as a wonderfully kind father.
During their retirement years the couple lived in Kitchener, Ontario, where they continued to serve nearby churches in a number of capacities.
Nonnekes is survived by his children, Naomi Mensink, Josie and Ted Boswell, Helen and Mike Berghoef, Rick and Maaike Nonnekes, Joanne Nonnekes, and Paul Nonnekes, and by 14 grandchildren.