Jay De Vries, 82, soft-spoken pastor, student of the Word, and accomplished linguist, passed away at home on November 18 following a brief struggle with cancer.
De Vries was born in McBain, Mich., where he attended Christian grade school and Northern Michigan Christian High School.
He graduated from Calvin College in 1954 and from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1957.
De Vries served the following Christian Reformed congregations: New Hope Fellowship CRC in Holland, Iowa; Elmhurst (Ill.) CRC; Calvary CRC, Orange City, Iowa; Second CRC, Byron Center, Mich.; Arcadia CRC and Arcadia-Plainfield CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Calvary CRC, Plainfield, Mich. He retired in 1993.
A gentle person, De Vries was an attentive listener who was deeply interested in people’s well-being. The congregations he served, as well as colleagues who worked with him, remember him for his ready helpfulness. He loved classic English literature and European history and was an avid golfer.
De Vries used some of his discretionary time to study tax law and used his knowledge to help others with their tax returns—a practices he continued during his retirement years. At those sessions, many told him about their concerns and struggles.
Encouraged by his second wife, Norma, he developed a keen interest in literature, geography, and history. Together they wrote three Michigan pictorial histories: “Dutch Heritage in Kent and Ottawa Counties,” “Legendary Locals of Grand Rapids,” and “Wyoming.”
De Vries was preceded in death by his first wife, Marcia, in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Norma, and his children David and Barb De Vries, Douglas De Vries, Michael and Lynda De Vries, and Daniel and Hazel De Vries, as well as 10 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.