In Memoriam: Rev. Henry Morgan DeRooy

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Henry (Hank) Morgan DeRooy was the eighth of 10 children, sometimes introducing himself as Henry VIII. A high-energy extrovert of quick wit who loved being around young people, DeRooy emphasized the gift of God’s grace in his ministry and with his family. DeRooy died on November 9.

Following a brief stint in the printing trade, DeRooy felt a call to ministry, which he described as one of the clearest moments of his life. He subsequently attended Calvin College and Seminary.

DeRooy began his ministry in Harrison (S.D.) Christian Reformed Church and later served Green Ridge (Mich.) CRC and Quincy (Wash.) CRC. He was an enthusiastic champion of evangelism. When he served Trinity CRC in St. Louis, Mo., he  eagerly knocked on doors in new neighborhoods, inviting everyone to come. These ministries bore fruit and the satisfaction of a job well done, as well as friendships that lasted a lifetime.

In 1971, DeRooy moved to New Jersey and became the eastern regional director for Christian Reformed Home Missions. He also served as associate director of evangelism for Home Missions and as Home Missions regional director for the Northwest in Snohomish,Wash. DeRooy retired in 1994 and continued to fill interim positions in churches around the country until the early 2000s. Until three years ago, he also felled trees and cut wood to sell.

DeRooy was a voracious reader. His profession, combined with his printing background, gave him a profound love of the printed word. A favorite quote from C.S. Lewis appeared in the bulletin for DeRooy’s service of remembrance: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

DeRooy is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sylvia; by his three children, Dwight, Sylvia Jean, and Dirk and their spouses; and by 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

About the Author

A former nurse and chaplain, Janet Greidanus is a freelance news correspondent and long-time writer of the In Memoriam column for The Banner.