IN MEMORIAM: Rev. Robert Geelhoed

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Dr. Robert Geelhoed, 58, was profound in his spirituality, a compassionate friend, a conscientious student, and a sensitive worship leader. He passed away on November 26, 2012, after a painful struggle with cancer.

Geelhoed was born in Grand Rapids, where he graduated from South Christian High School in l972. In l976 he graduated from Calvin College with a major in psychology.

While serving Roseland Christian Ministries Center as an associate student pastor, he attended the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago during1978 and 1979. He continued his training for the gospel ministry at Calvin Theological Seminary, receiving an M.Div. degree in 1981 and an M.Th. degree in l983. In l990, Bob earned a Ph.D. in psychology of religion/pastoral care and counseling from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Geelhoed served Lincoln Center Christian Reformed Church, Grundy Center, Iowa, for four years, after which he took a leave of absence to continue his preparation for a ministry of counseling. In 1990 he was appointed director of the counseling center of Christ Church in Oak Brook, Ill. He served there with great distinction till his death in 2012.

Geelhoed was a man of grace. He loved his Savior and he loved the people around him. He was a compassionate helper and a dedicated mentor to many, a man who saw in each person some mysterious reflection of God’s glory. He lived the strong hope that good was on the way for all around him. Prayer was prominent in his life, as was the call to holy living, which he embraced with joy.

Geelhoed was a sensitive worship leader, always pursuing renewal through worship. A dedicated scholar, he was a sought-after trainer for Stephen Ministry. Among the many thinkers he cherished was 19th-century pastor, author, and poet George MacDonald. He and his wife loved to travel and deeply cherished their children. Bob was serious about physical training and practiced the Korean martial art Hapkido for many years, earning a black belt.

The last chapter in his life brought severe suffering. In the harshest affliction he clung to his Savior, sharing his hope and assurance with his loved ones and friends. He was very intentional in showing how to reach out to God in suffering and uncertainty.

Geelhoed was survived by his wife, Ruth Anne, and their children Benjamin Geelhoed, Robin and Jacob Barnett, and Emily and Brandyn Deckinga

About the Author

Louis Tamminga is the Banner's writer of In Memoriams for pastors.

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