Sept. 19, 1939 – Aug. 13, 2009
Rev. Marvin Konynenbelt, a man of deep faith, decorated Army chaplain, Vietnam War veteran, focused listener, and thoughtful counselor, died Aug. 13 from congestive heart failure.
Konynenbelt was born in Nijverdal, Overijssel, the Netherlands, and moved with his family to Michigan in 1956, via Canada.
Upon graduation from the Christian high school in Holland, Mich., he enrolled at Calvin College, then continued his training for the gospel ministry at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Konynenbelt graduated from the seminary in 1965, married Harmina (“Ina”) Autsema, was ordained to the ministry in the Christian Reformed Church, and joined the U.S. Armed Forces as a chaplain.
Konynenbelt’s Army career of 28 years took him to Vietnam, Germany, and Japan. He loved the soldiers entrusted to his spiritual and personal care, gaining their trust with his gentle humor, attentive listening, and, above all, by his sincere godliness.
For his outstanding service he was awarded the Purple Heart (after being wounded in Vietnam), the Army Commendation Medal with two “V” devices for combat heroism, the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight, and three Bronze Stars for bravery.
Konynenbelt earned an M.A. degree in guidance counseling from Long Island University in 1972, the same year that he graduated from the Army Chaplain School.
Konynenbelt suffered a heart attack in 1989, which permanently damaged his heart. He bore the subsequent discomfort and hospitalizations with grace and patience.
He concluded his Army chaplaincy in 1993 and retired from the ministry in 1996. He and his wife settled in Noblesville, Ind., where they remained active in a variety of ministries.
Konynenbelt is survived by Ina and their children Mark and Henrietta Konynenbelt, Lisa and Curtis Vander Meer, Andrea and Joel Greenwood, and six grandchildren.