Long-Time Calvinette Director Dies

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Joanne “Jo” Ilbrink, who served for 20 years as executive director of the Calvinette program for girls, died on January 3, 2016. She was 82.

Ilbrink, who lived in Grandville, Mich., led Calvinettes (now called GEMS) from 1975 to 1995, and was also a Christian school teacher. Carol Smith, a former assistant program manager and leadership trainer with Calvinettes, remembered Ilbrink for her humility and ability to connect with people.

“Every year (in Calvinettes) we’d adopt a different theme, and she’d give the theme speech. It always enlightened everyone in the biblical sense of how that year’s theme would go,” Smith said.

Ilbrink led many women’s Bible study programs in the communities where she lived and volunteered at Crossroads Bible Institute. She is survived by her husband, Robert, and by three children and their spouses, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren

About the Author

Greg Chandler is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.