June 22, 1918 – May 17, 2009
Rev. Arthur Pontier, 90, decorated World War II veteran, able pastor, effective Bible teacher, student of history, and evangelist at heart, passed away from causes associated with advanced age.
Pontier was born in Passaic, New Jersey and attended school in nearby Clifton. During the Depression years he helped in the family dairy and took whatever jobs he could get: selling shoes, blowing neon signs, and working as a bookkeeper for a local power company.
As WW II unfolded, he joined the U.S. Army and was soon sent to Europe. Quickly promoted to first lieutenant, he participated in the Normandy invasion, and went on to fight in Northern France, the Ardennes, and Central Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal for “heroic service . . . exposing himself to enemy fire . . . disregarding personal safety . . . ” in the battle near Sarreguemines, France. He also received the European Campaign ribbon “with five battle stars.”
Even in his youth Pontier knew that he would seek the ministry as his profession, and in 1945 he entered Calvin College to begin his theological training. He entered Calvin Theological Seminary in l949 and graduated in l952. He was married to Jessie Algra in l943.
Pontier’s first charge was Eastside Christian Reformed Church in Cleveland, Ohio. That was followed by West Sayville (N.Y.) CRC in 1955 and Coopersville (Mich.) CRC in 1960. In 1964 he went to pastor Calvary CRC in Pella, Iowa. His last charge was Grandville Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich. He retired in l981.
Pontier was a man of considerable gifts. The pulpit ministry had the love of his heart. He authored published study resources on public worship and the Heidelberg Catechism. Gifted with a fine voice, he loved to sing with fellow believers in various settings well into old age. He could often be found as a participant in group discussions about the faith and its implications.
He was an ardent student of language, history, and political events. It was said of him that a copy of the Greek New Testament was his regular companion. While pastor at Grandville Avenue CRC, he was instrumental in founding Potter’s House Christian School, which in the course of time became a great blessing to that part of the city.
Throughout his retirement he continued preaching and leading Bible classes.
Pontier was preceded in death by his wife, Jessie, who passed away in 2008; and by their daughter, Sharon Lynn, who was married to Norman Rogers. He is survived by his son David and daughter-in-law Patricia, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.