Rev. Herman Hoekstra, 93, was a WW II veteran, passionate evangelist, winsome people person, and a man of ready humor. He passed away from congestive heart failure on May 19.
Hoekstra was born in South Holland, Ill., but grew up in Quincy, Ill., where he attended school. In l941 he joined the U.S. Armed Forces, serving in Europe during WW II and achieving the rank of Warrant Officer.
Following his release from the army he worked for some time at Harris Bank of Chicago. As his sense of calling grew, he enrolled at Calvin College with a view to entering the pastoral ministry, graduating in l950. Calvin Seminary followed with graduation in 1953.
Hoekstra served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Albuquerque (N.M.) CRC; Ebenezer CRC in Berwyn, Ill.; Bethel CRC in Paterson, N.J.; and Baldwin Street CRC in Jenison, Mich. Hoekstra retired in l984.
Shortly before graduation from seminary, Hoekstra and his wife, Dorothy, were in a tragic accident that took the life of their 6-year-old son, Tommy, and Dorothy’s parents, John and Sarah Cook. This experience shaped Hoekstra’s ministry and made him them keenly aware of God’s grace.
Hoekstra was a widely loved pastor. He had a naturally joyful disposition and was always happy to meet and mingle with people. His love for people was matched by his love for the Word of God. The salvation of people in and around the church was the passion of his heart. He played a significant role in equipping CRC congregations for evangelism. An encourager of young people, younger pastors found in him an understanding friend.
Widely read, Hoekstra was also computer savvy. He loved to talk theology and was well-informed about national and international affairs. He was loyal to the denomination and was a frequent delegate to CRC synods.
He appreciated good music and singing. Just before his death he told his loved ones that he hoped to join the choir of the elders in heaven (Rev. 7:11-12).
Hoekstra is survived by his wife, Dorothy Mae, and their children Paul and Ellen Hoekstra, Larry and Judy Bergman, Phil and Dee Dee Hoekstra, and Jim and Karen Hoekstra, and by 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.