December 26, 1918 – May 10, 2008
A thoughtful pastor, youth leader, educator, one-time meteorologist for the military, and chemical engineer, Rev. Hessel Bouma, passed away May 10 as the result of an aneurism. He was 89.
Bouma was born Dec. 26, 1918, into a minister’s family in Princeton, N.J., and spent his childhood in Holland, Mich.; Paterson, N.J.; and Passaic, N.J.
He attended North Fourth Street Christian School in Passaic, Holland (Mich.) Christian School, and Eastern Christian Academy in Paterson.
After high school Bouma studied engineering at Cooper Union in New York City. During World War II, having been trained in meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he served in the North Atlantic theater as a weatherman in the 8th Army Corps.
He was married to Cornelia Hoving on May 6, 1942.
After the War, Bouma obtained a master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan and pursued a career with Standard Oil.
It was during those years that his desire grew to serve his Lord in the gospel ministry. In 1954 he enrolled at Calvin College in the pre-seminary program. He graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1958.
Bouma served two congregations in the Christian Reformed Church: Reeman (Mich.) CRC, 1958, and Comstock CRC, Kalamazoo, Mich., 1964. He retired from the ministry in l984.
Bouma will be remembered not only as a true Renaissance man, but also as a conscientious pastor, a careful student of Scripture, a well-read theologian, an advocate of Christian education, and a devout youth leader.
He served the denomination as a member of its boards and as a delegate to synod.
Bouma is survived by his wife, Cornelia, and by their children Margery and Gerald Frens, Bruce and JoAnne Bouma, Hessel and Ruth Ellen Bouma, Penthea Bouma, and Rolf and Sandra Bouma, 14 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by an infant son, also named Hessel.