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Donald W. Van Gent, 86, characterized by his love and kindness, was drawn to the needy, the suffering, and the lonely. A tireless witness for Christ, he died on July 30 of heart failure.

Van Gent was born in Pella, Iowa, and attended Pella Christian schools. Long desiring to serve his Savior in ministry, he enrolled at Reformed Bible Institute (now Kuyper College) in Grand Rapids, Mich. He subsequently studied at Calvin College and Seminary in Grand Rapids, graduating in 1958.

Van Gent served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Atwood (Mich.) CRC; South Olive CRC in Holland, Mich.; Immanuel CRC (now Mountain Springs Community CRC) in Salt Lake City, Utah; Tacoma (Wash.)  Community CRC; Lincoln Center CRC in Grundy Center, Iowa; Anaheim (Calif.) CRC; and Gallatin Gateway Community CRC in Bozeman, Mont.). He retired in 1983.

Van Gent was known as a warm, friendly pastor. His overriding concern was for people to be reconciled to God in  Christ. He was, in Paul’s words, a witness for Christ in season and out of season. To his parishioners he was a faithful shepherd whose ministry was rich in pastoral care. His biblical sermons centered on Christ but never lacked personal consolation. Evangelism and missions were his deepest concerns.

Throughout his life he dealt with health concerns and occasional depressions, but his hope in Christ never wavered. He loved gardening and traveling. He spent the last three years at Inland Christian Home in Ontario, Calif., where he continued to witness.

Van Gent is survived by his wife, Joanna, and their children Dave and Cathy Van Gent, Dan and Tina Van Gent, Judy Noon, Julie Geertsma, and Doug and Lisa Van Gent, and by 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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