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1918 - 2005

Rev. Dick Oostenink, one of two surviving chaplains of the World War II era, passed away Dec. 12, 2005, after a short illness.

Oostenink was born in Hull, Iowa, and attended Northwestern Junior College in Orange City, Iowa, and Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich. In the late 1950s he attended Rutgers University and Princeton Theological Seminary, both of which awarded him a master’s degree. He married Marie De Kok in 1942.

Upon graduation from Calvin Seminary in 1943, the young couple accepted a call from Portland, Mich. Within two years Dick felt a call to military service and became a U.S. Army chaplain. Following the war he accepted a call to Newton (N.J.) Christian Reformed Church.

But the chaplaincy had a grip on his heart, so in 1947 he accepted another call from the military, and for the next 10 years he served as a shepherd to soldiers. He saw action in Korea.

After brief stints as a Bible teacher at Western Michigan Christian High School in Muskegon, Mich., and as the pastor of Summer Street CRC in Clifton, N.J., he accepted the position of librarian at the U.S. Army Chaplain School in Fort Hamilton, N.Y. He retired in 1983 with the rank of colonel.

Oostenink became known for his wide knowledge of books and library systems. Till far into his retirement he collected books and furnished thousands of copies to seminary libraries and individual students in many parts of the world. He was an able and caring chaplain. At the U.S. Army Chaplain School he gained a reputation as a ready helper and friend of young chaplains.

Oostenink’s wife, Marie, preceded him in death by only a few months. He is survived by his children: Dick and Patricia Oostenink, Ruth and Ken Fisher, and Judith Zylstra. A daughter, Muriel Jean, also preceded him in death.

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