Jacob Hekman, a humble servant of Christ, U.S. Army veteran, faithful husband, and loving father, died on August 13 at the age of 92.
Jake, as he was known to his friends and family, was born in Ripon, Calif., where he attended Ripon Christian School and Ripon High School. Following one year at Modesto Junior College, he studied chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkley.
Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942, he was invited to work under Dr. Walter Koski on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M. After his honorable discharge, Hekman enrolled at Calvin College and Seminary, graduating in 1951.
He served the following congregations: Noordeloos (Mich.) CRC; Oak Harbor (Wash.) CRC; Roseville (Mich.) CRC; Christ’s Community, Hayward, Calif.; Bethel CRC, Tucson, Ariz.; Decatur (Mich.) CRC. He retired in 1986.
Hekman’s amiable, humble personality and his personal concern for the well-being of others made him a widely loved and appreciated pastor. He avoided the limelight, preferring to work behind the scenes. He was convinced that every person had something to contribute toward the well-being of all. His insight, wisdom, and infinite patience caused others to seek him out in situations of discord.
His sense of humor and disarming wit also served him in good stead. One year at Halloween he chose to be costumed as Abraham Lincoln, the president he resembled. When a neighbor stopped by and Jake answered the door, the woman was sure she was seeing a ghost. After she recovered, they shared a good laugh.
At Calvin College he was the center player on the basketball team. Throughout his life, he continued to enjoy playing sports, including golf. He found personal replenishment in meeting God in nature. Psalm 46 was one of his favorites.
Hekman was preceded in death by his wife, Kathryn, in 2011. He is survived by his daughter, Carole Miller, and her husband, Hugh, and two grandsons.