March 9, 1918 – November 14, 2009
Rev. Carl Derksen, 91, classical languages specialist, electronics and computer expert, accomplished exegete, social justice champion, and immigrant pastor, died of a respiratory illness in Kitchener, Ontario.
Derksen was born in Arnhem, the Netherlands. At age 14 he joined his father in the family printing business. Derksen’s heart, however, belonged to academia and in 1939 he enrolled at the theological faculty of the Free University of Amsterdam.
After Germany invaded Holland during World War II, the Free University closed its doors in l943. Soon after, Derksen (known in Holland as Carel) went into hiding to prevent deportation to Germany.
Even then, he kept up his studies. He graduated in theology in the summer of l945 and married Cornelia Kasius that same year. She preceded him in death in 2004.
Derksen served three “Gereformeerde” congregations in the Netherlands before emigrating to Canada: Ten Post, Graveland, and Middelstum.
In l957 he accepted a call to the First Christian Reformed Church in Guelph, Ontario. After nearly 20 years, he accepted a charge in Kemptville, Ontario, where he served until retirement in 1983.
Derksen was widely recognized as gifted in the areas of languages, theology, and electronics. His sermons evidenced meticulous and exacting research, both theologically and exegetically. It was said of him that he never preached a sermon twice.
He was conscientious in visiting the sick and those in need and generous in his support of the disadvantaged. During his retirement years he often spoke out against the injustices inflicted by society on minorities.
As a youth he became interested in the new fields of sound equipment and electronics. In the early l970s, far ahead of his time, he employed a functional computer, partly built by himself, on which he recorded his sermons and teaching materials. Far into old age he maintained email contact with people far and near.
Derksen was delegated a number of times to the synod of the Christian Reformed Church. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Calvin College and Seminary.
Derksen is survived by two children: Robert and Mary Jane Derksen and Loes D. Derksen.