1921 – 2007
Rev. John A. Hoeksema, age 86, passed away March 21, following complications from the onset of Alzheimer’s and heart problems; he suffered a stroke several years ago.
Hoeksema was born Feb. 19, 1921, in Muskegon, Mich., and returned to that area for the last 21 years of his life. He graduated from grade school and high school in Muskegon and attended the junior college there, then received a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton (Ill.) College in 1942.
From 1942 to 1946 Hoeksema served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. Returning to Michigan he enrolled at Calvin College, graduating in 1947. He then graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1950.
In 1946 Hoeksema married Marjorie (“Marge”) Wells, who preceded him in death in 2004. John joined the Christian Reformed Church when at Wheaton, his parents having been members of the Berean Church.
Rev. Hoeksema served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Momence (Ill.) CRC, 1950; Bethel CRC, Edgerton, Minn., 1953; First CRC, Mount Vernon, Wash., 1958; and Racine (Wis.) CRC, 1967. He retired in 1986 to Spring Lake, Mich., where he and Marge joined Spring Lake CRC.
Hoeksema was as much a theologian as he was a pastor and teacher. He excelled in preaching, emphasizing God’s sovereignty, while sharing sympathetic understanding for people’s struggles and burdens. He read broadly, enjoyed ecumenical activity, and relished discussion of how to develop a Reformed world-and-life view, striving to live out his life’s motto: “Remember who you are.” He had that special gift of bringing the Heidelberg Catechism to life, to which even younger members testified. Church members also remember him as a healer and unifier. He modeled the integrated Christian life with all its joys and challenges to service. In the churches he served, outreach into the neighborhoods inevitably became a congregational priority, together with Christian education. A perennial learner, he routinely took courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago when serving in Racine. John had considerable administrative gifts and was delegated to synod 12 times. He also served 43 combined years on the boards of Calvin College and Seminary, Dordt College, Christian Reformed World Missions, and Elim Christian Services.
Rev. Hoeksema is survived by his son, Todd, daughter-in-law, Carole Hoeksema, and by three grandchildren.