March 3, 1917 - October 28, 2006
Rev. Nicolaas B. Knoppers, who served churches in three countries, died peacefully at home in Alberta, Canada, Oct. 28, 2006. He was 89.
Knoppers was born in Almelo, the Netherlands, but grew up in the city of Amsterdam, where his father pastored a Gereformeerde church. There he studied at the Gymnasium and at the Faculty of the Theology of the Free University, from which he graduated in 1942. That same year he married Barthie Boon, and a few days later the young couple moved to Lollum, Friesland, where Nicolaas had accepted a call from the Gereformeerde Kerk.
Two more churches in the Netherlands were to profit from Knoppers's capable ministry: Hardenberg, 1946, and Hilversum, 1949. During the post-war years Knoppers also served the Dutch Royal Air Force as a reserve chaplain.
In 1955 the Knoppers family moved to Canada, where Nicolaas accepted a call to Maranatha Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1960 he accepted a call to First CRC of Montreal, Quebec, which he served until 1968, when a new ministry chapter opened up to him: a church-planting challenge in El Paso, Texas. While there he did extra duty as Civil Air Defense Chaplain. Service to one more Canadian congregation followed: First CRC in Red Deer, Alberta, from 1971 to 1983, when Knoppers retired from the ministry. He served as a part-time pastor at Fellowship CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, and also served as stated clerk of Classis Alberta North.
Rev. Knoppers was a man of patrician bearing but had a warm heart for the people he served. His studious mind and broad interests kept him abreast of theological as well as societal developments and challenges.
He was highly esteemed in denominational circles for his wise and balanced counsel. And he had a passion for Christian higher education, ably assisting in the establishment of The King's University College in Edmonton. During his retirement years he was widely sought as a preacher and speaker.
Knoppers is survived by his wife, Barthie; by their children, Jake and Jocelyn Knoppers, Annelies Knoppers, Bastian and Joan Knoppers, Bartha Knoppers and Daniel Turp, Nick and Joanne Knoppers, and Gary and Laura Knoppers; and by nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.