Rev. Henry C. Van Wyk, 87, World War II Marine Corps veteran, devout pastor and preacher, evangelist at heart, kindness personified, and gifted in befriending “outsiders,” died from congestive heart failure.
Van Wyk was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he attended West Side Christian School, Union High School, and Grand Rapids Christian High School.
Following his graduation from high school, he volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps and served from 1943 to 1945 in the Pacific theater, participating in the battles of Saipan and Tinian.
Following the war, Van Wyk married and became a free-lance hauler, but the desire to prepare for ministry stayed with him. Van Wyk saw many comrades die in battle and was convicted that he was spared for a role in Kingdom work.
Van Wyk graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1957. He served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Luverne (Minn.) CRC, 1957; Fourth Roseland CRC, Chicago, 1961; Hillcrest CRC, Hudsonville, Mich.,1964; Drenthe (Mich.) CRC, 1971; and Lee Street CRC, Wyoming, Mich., 1979. He retired in 1989.
Van Wyk served Twelfth Street CRC in Jenison, Mich., as pastor of visitation for 20 years following retirement.
Van Wyk will be remembered as a quiet, soft-spoken, thoughtful, intelligent servant of his Lord. He was highly esteemed for his wisdom and faithfulness as displayed in his ministry. His wartime experiences deepened his thankfulness for every day of his life.
Already during his years in college and seminary, Van Wyk was intimately involved in personal evangelism, which became the hallmark of his later congregational ministries.
Van Wyk’s wife, Marilyn, followed him in death four months later, in February 2011. They are survived by their
children David and Vonna Van Wyk, Daniel and Sandra Van Wyk, Donald and Thea Van Wyk, Douglas and Lisa Van Wyk, and James and Laurie Van Wyk, and by 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.