December 8, 1912 – February 23, 2010
Rev. Lambert Doezema, 97, careful scholar, man of thoughtful words and earnest prayer, and advocate of church unity, passed away after a long and full life.
Doezema grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., attending Baxter Christian School, Grand Rapids Christian High School, and Calvin College.
He was the second child in the large family of Riner and Reka Doezema. In 1924 the family became members of the Protestant Reformed Church (PRC), formed by Rev. Herman Hoeksema after a bitter separation from the Christian Reformed Church (CRC).
Doezema, inclined toward the ministry, attended the Protestant Reformed seminary, studying under Hoeksema, his future father-in-law.
Doezema took a call to Bellflower (Calif.) Protestant Reformed Church, remaining there until 1954. During that time he and his wife, Joanne, had six children (later a seventh) and with them flourished in the wonderful southern California sun.
After yet another church split in 1953, the family moved to the Netherlands where Doezema did doctoral studies with Prof. Berkouwer at the Free University in Amsterdam.
Doezema focused his doctoral work on the unity of the church and was greatly influenced by Karl Barth, whose lectures he attended in Basel, Switzerland. Later, he also came to admire the work of liberation theologians, as his thought became more and more liberal and inclusive.
In 1956 Doezema took a call to the Creston PRC in Grand Rapids and later was influential in reuniting a segment of the PRC with the CRC. In l961 he moved to Drayton (Ontario) CRC. In 1966 he moved to Parchment CRC in Kalamazoo, Mich., where he served until retirement in 1977.
During his retirement years, Doezema taught students in Nigeria and the Philippines under the auspices of the CRC.
He also built his own house in Kalamazoo, where he passed away peacefully of old age.
Doezema was a quiet man who through his serious, thoughtful words and prayers set a profound example for his parishioners and his children.
He had a love of the outdoors and often took the family camping and hiking in state and national parks. Even at the age of 96 he planted a vegetable garden next to his house.
Doezema was preceded in death by his wife, Joanne, and a son, Tom. He is survived by his children Ryan and Mary Doezema, Herman and Frances Doezema, David and Linda Doezema, Ruth and Carlos Doezema-Steinhauser, Lambert Lee and Sarah Doezema, Mary and Joel Cooper, as well as 19 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.