Menno Jorritsma, 88, earned academic degrees in engineering, law, and theology, but his joy was the pastoral ministry. He died on November 5 from complications of a stroke.
Jorritsma was born in Burgum, Friesland, but frequent family moves had him attending school in The Hague, Groningen, and Utrecht. In his late teens he joined the Dutch partisans and spent the last years of the Nazi occupation in hiding. Following the country’s liberation, he served for three years in the Engineering Corps of the Dutch military. In 1948 he enrolled in the technical department of the University of Rotterdam.
In 1950, he and his wife immigrated to the United States, settling in Kalamazoo, Mich. Jorritsma found work as an engineer and salesperson, applying his technical training. Gifted with a nimble mind, he earned a law degree from La Salle Extension University in the early 1950s. He found his call to ministry through contact with his Baptist brothers and sisters, identifying himself as a conservative but not a traditionalist. He graduated from Calvin College and Seminary in 1963.
Jorritsma served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Oakland CRC, Hamilton, Mich.; Covenent CRC, Cutlerville, Mich.; Hillcrest CRC, Hudsonville, Mich.; First CRC, Orange City, Iowa; First CRC, Everett, Wash.; and Emmanuel CRC, Calgary, Alberta. He retired in 1991. Following his retirement, he served in interim positions for eight years.
Jorritsma brought considerable gifts to the ministry. He considered the ministry a signal honor, preaching with a slight Dutch brogue his congregations never seemed to mind. He was an ardent reader, and his sermons evidenced thorough study. He and his wife, Ann, were known for their gracious hospitality. Jorritsma spoke easily and sincerely of his love for Christ and his longing to be with the Lord.
Jorritsma was predeceased by Ann. She developed Alzheimer’s, from which she suffered many years. The last nine years of her life she spent in a nursing unit where he visited her every morning.
He is survived by Anne and Pete Haverhals, Mark and Ruth Jorritsma, and four grandchildren.