Rev. John Van Dyk, 85, enthusiastic believer, encourager, military veteran, and gerontology specialist, passed away on September 21 following a struggle with cancer.
Van Dyk was born in Epe, The Netherlands, the oldest in a family of four sons. He attended schools in Epe and nearby Apeldoorn during the German occupation of Holland in World War II.
To prevent deportation, young John went into hiding until the spring of April 1945 when Holland was liberated. His education was interrupted again when the Dutch government called him up for military service in Indonesia, where he served from 1947 to 1951. There he received the Lord's call to the gospel ministry.
While in the military he studied Greek and Hebrew in preparation for theological studies. Already at that time of his life he knew himself sent by God (John 1:6).
In the meantime the Van Dyk family emigrated to Canada, and John joined them there soon after his repatriation. He attended Calvin College and Seminary, graduating from the latter in l956. He married Paula Hasselman in l953.
During his 33-year ministerial career, Van Dyk served serve seven Christian Reformed congregations: Burlington, Ontario, 1956; Kentville, Nova Scotia, 1959; Duncan, British Columbia, l962; First Barrie, Ont., 1965; Terrace, British Columbia, 1969; Bethel, Listowell, l973; and College Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, l977.
In l980 he took a leave in order to study gerontology at Ryerson University in Toronto; he received his degree in l982. He then received an appointment to serve as chaplain for Holland Christian Homes, Brampton, Ont.
In 1985 he accepted a call to pastor Covenant CRC of Barrie. He retired in 1989.
Van Dyk was one of Christ's humble servants. He will be remembered by all who knew him for his enthusiastic and warm personality. To be in his presence meant to be uplifted and encouraged. He loved to talk about God's Word, always expecting to discover new riches. During their retirement years the Van Dyks lived at the Ina Grafton Gage Retirement Village where they ministered to their many new friends.
Van Dyk is survived by his wife, Paula, and their children Karen Van Dyk, Michael and Barbara Van Dyk, and three grandchildren.