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August 23, 1924 – November 14, 2007

Rev. Gilmer Compaan, a conscientious Bible student, evangelist at heart, U.S. Army veteran, one-time storekeeper, and friend of hurting people, passed away Nov. 14, 2007, after a traffic accident. He was 83.

Compaan was born Aug. 23, 1924, in Hull, North Dakota, where he attended school and participated in his father’s farm operation during his teenage years.

In 1947 he joined the U.S. Army as an intelligence specialist; upon discharge he settled in Everett, Wash., and married Helen Van Zwol in 1949.

The young couple soon became busily engaged in making a living by owning and operating a corner grocery store. But Compaan’s desire to serve the Lord in the gospel ministry grew with the years, and in 1960 he enrolled in Calvin College. He continued his studies at Calvin Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1966.

Compaan served the following Christian Reformed churches: Worthington (Minn.) CRC, 1966; Vogel Center (Mich.) CRC, 1971; East Martin (Mich.), 1976; and Hollandale (Minn.) CRC, 1983. The Compaans retired from the ministry in 1989.

Compaan embodied the best of his generation of parish pastors, preaching twice a Sunday, making the rounds through the congregation, teaching all the catechism classes, and managing the church’s programs with utmost conscientiousness.

Compaan was known to keep theologically current. He had a big heart for society’s unfortunate members. And he led his congregations by example in evangelism.

Compaan served the denomination on several boards and synods.

After retirement, Compaan served Ideal Park CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., calling on the sick and shut-ins.  

Compaan is survived by his wife, Helen, and their children, Colleen and Richard Brook, and Sharon Knooihuizen, and by five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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