Rev. John Morren, 84, World War II B-17 pilot, passionate preacher and teacher of the Word, evangelist at heart, and master gardener, passed away on May 25 following the sudden onset of myelogenous leukemia.
Morren was born on a family celery farm near Byron Center, Mich., where he attended the local Christian school. Upon graduation from eighth grade, young John joined his father, William Morren, in the farm operation.
At 19, Morren was drafted to serve in the U.S. armed forces and trained to be a pilot after passing an aptitude test with honors. Commissioned as an officer in the Army Air Corps, he received the coveted silver wings and was flying B-17 “Flying Fortresses” at the young age of 20.
Following his discharge in 1945, Morren enrolled at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., where he received his high school diploma in one academic year. During that period the desire grew in his heart to serve his Lord in the gospel ministry.
In l946 he enrolled at Calvin College in the pre-seminary program. He graduated four years later and was admitted to Calvin Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1953. Morren married Hermina Zuiderveen in 1945. She passed away in l976. He married Carolyn De Kruyter in 1980.
Morren served two Christian Reformed churches—Conrad (Mont.) CRC and First CRC of Ripon, Calif.—before he agreed to serve as a missionary in Australia in 1960.
Following his return from “Down Under” in 1966, he served the following CRC churches in the US: Oak Park, Ill., 1966; First, Grand Haven, Mich., 1970; West Forty-Fourth Street, Wyoming, Mich., 1978; and Lake City, Mich., 1984. He retired in 1991.
Morren is remembered as a diligent, enterprising minister of the Word. Preaching was his great love, but he was equally adept at teaching classes and small groups. John loved people and was always able to enter their personal situations with disarming sympathy. He read much, yet always had time for children and grandchildren. He served on several denominational boards and was a frequent delegate to CRC synods.
Morren is survived by his wife of 28 years, Carolyn De Kruyter, and his children Judy Bruinsma; Russ Morren; Phil and Sandra Morren; Kathy and Bill Poel; Jim and Ann Morren; Mary and Bruce Sterenburg; his stepchildren James and Pam Krannitz; Bryan and Heidi Krannitz; Tod and Maria Krannitz; Dawn and Rob Arnoys; 29 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.