Gerard Van Groningen, 93, was an erudite scholar, accomplished academician, a lover of the Reformed faith, and ardent gardener. He died on June 20 of natural causes.
Van Groningen was born in Leota, Minn., and raised in Ripon, Calif. After serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in Japan during WW II, he studied for the ministry at Calvin College and Seminary, graduating in 1954. Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, Pa., awarded him a ThM. degree in 1955.
Van Groningen started his ministry in Borculo Christian Reformed Church, Zeeland, Mich. He subsequently went to Geelong Reformed Church in Victoria, Australia, under the auspices of Christian Reformed World Missions. After three years, he became one of the founding professors of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Geelong.
He studied at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where he attained his doctorate in philosophy in 1968. In 1971 he accepted a teaching position at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa. In 1973 he became professor of Old Testament at The Reformed Theological College of Jackson, Miss. In 1980 he was appointed president of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., where he served until his retirement. Next he taught Old Testament studies at Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. These last years were interspersed with teaching assignments at Andrew Jumper Theological Seminary at Sao Paulo, Brazil, and at the Reformed Seminary of Riga, Latvia. He also served in Japan and the South Sea Islands.
Van Groningen was a man of steady initiative and sheer inexhaustible energy. He was influential in the early stages of Reformed theological education in Latvia and Brazil,and is the author of 10 theological books. The Reformed churches in those countries profited from Calvinist Cadet and Calvinettes (now GEMS) organizations because of his efforts and those of his wife. He loved congregational life. Students always found his office open for fellowship and consultation.
Van Groningen is survived by his wife, Harriet, and their children Betty and Herman Westendorp, Jerry and Sherri Van Groningen, Jay and Laura Van Groningen, John and Patti Van Groningen, Bill and Connie Van Groningen, Bev and Bob Jonkman, Dave and Dawn Van Groningen, and Chuck and Laura Van Groningen, and by 34 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren.