John De Kruyter, 92, a thoughtful denominational leader and one-time teacher of classical languages was known for his well-crafted, inspiring sermons. He passed away on December 27 following a period of dementia.
De Kruyter was born in Grand Rapids, where he attended elementary school. During high school he moved with his family to Muskegon, Mich. His linguistic gifts were recognized by the Muskegon Chronicle, which employed him as a reporter.
De Kruyter graduated from Calvin College in 1943 and from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1946. Columbia Theological Seminary awarded him the Th.M. degree in 1947. During his career he also did graduate work in Edinburgh, Scotland.
De Kruyter served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Rusk CRC, Allendale, Mich.; Fourth Roseland CRC, Chicago, Ill.; Maple Avenue CRC, Holland, Mich.; First CRC, Pella, Iowa; Seymour CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Calvin CRC, Oak Lawn, Ill. He retired in 1986.
De Kruyter was known as a strong, intelligent leader, both in the congregations he served and the denomination he loved. He served both synods and denominational boards as president. His sermons were consistently expository and always reflected his warm pastoral heart. Being well organized and well versed in the Church Order allowed him to do prodigious amounts of work.
Always joyful, De Kruyter was a faithful, caring, dedicated, and dignified pastor. At the installation service of a young pastor he said, “On Sunday morning, remember that for many in your congregation it has been a difficult week. Be mindful that many are hurting and tired, needing words of hope and comfort.”
De Kruyter is survived by his wife, Angie, and their children Don and Joanie Steenhoek, David De Kruyter, Bob and Barbara Hershman, Ron and Sue Kelly, and five grandchildren.