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1917 - 2005

Rev. Remkes Kooistra—theologian, sociologist, linguist, but above all pastor—passed away on May 30 at Grace Manor, Brampton, Ontario, at the age of 88.

Kooistra was born in the Dutch village of Wijk aan Zee, the oldest of four children born to Klaas and Jacoba Kooistra. He attended the Gymnasium in Assen, the Netherlands, after which he enrolled in the seminary of the Reformed Church (Gereformeerde Kerken) of the Netherlands, at Kampen, from which he graduated in 1943. In l955 the Free University of Amsterdam awarded him a doctorate in theology and sociology. In 1943 he married Janette Feddema.

Kooistra served three congregations in the Netherlands: Siegerswoude, Friesland (1943); Hengelo, Overijsel (1947); and The Hague, Zuid (1951) before the family took the big step of immigrating to Canada in 1955. There he also served three churches: First Red Deer, Alberta, (1955); Ebenezer, Trenton, Ontario (1960); and First Toronto (1964). He served the academic communities of the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph as their chaplain from 1973 to 1982, when he retired from the regular ministry.

This Renaissance man was a specialist in many fields. Following his retirement he served for 10 years as a professor of New Testament Greek at St. Paul’s College, at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He was the writer of several scholarly works as well as practical study guides. He lectured occasionally at the Christian Institute in Toronto, Redeemer College in Ancaster, Ontario, and Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was known for his pastoral counseling abilities. He was involved in organizing the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Grand Rapids and the Lighthouse ministry in Toronto.

Kooistra’s sermons are remembered for their biblical strength and poetic beauty. He was winsome, self-effacing, kindly, and pastoral. He touched many young lives and comforted many suffering people.

He is survived by his wife, Janette, and their children: Dorothy and John Kralt, Jacky and Theo Vandeputte, Clare Kooistra, and John and Gail Kooistra; and 11 grandchildren

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