Willis De Boer, 91, was a New Testament scholar, faithful colleague and friend to many, and a member of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. He passed away on November 11 after a season of failing health.
De Boer was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he attended Alexander Grade School and Ottawa Hills High School, graduating in 1941. After high school he enrolled at Calvin College until he was drafted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He served in the military for three years. Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Calvin College and Seminary, graduating in 1951.
His career focused as much on the pastoral ministry as it did on theological research, scholarship, and teaching. He served Washington, DC, Christian Reformed Church and Bradenton (Fla.) CRC.
After obtaining a Ph.D. in New Testament from the Free University of Amsterdam, De Boer was appointed to the staff of Calvin College, where he taught Bible till his retirement in 1988. During retirement, he served several congregations that were without a pastor.
De Boer was known as a gifted teacher and a scholar. But his interests went beyond scholarship. The well-being of his students was important to him; he loved the denomination and was deeply interested in the spread of the gospel. His pastoral instincts remained strong throughout his life. People knew him as kind, reliable, hard-working, steady, and even-tempered, with a wonderful sense of humor.
The De Boers loved the outdoors and visited many national parks.
De Boer is survived by his wife, Gertrude, children Sandra and Don Bode, Kathleen De Boer and Mark Pittman, Patricia De Boer and Stuart Henderson, Philip and Laurie De Boer, and Stephen De Boer, and by five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.