Winston Charles Boelkins was a gentle and kind man who cared for others with a presence that was deeply comforting. He died peacefully on Sunday, March 27, at the age of 85.
After attending Calvin College and Seminary, Boelkins was was ordained in 1955. He served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Riverside CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich.; First CRC, Edmonton, Alta.; Preakness CRC, Wayne, N.J.; Parklane CRC, Evergreen Park, Ill.; and First CRC, Visalia, Calif. He retired in 1992.
Boelkins wanted his children to learn everything they could about the history and importance of places where they lived. For example, in 1969, after the astronauts returned from walking on the moon, Boelkins took his four daughters, ages 12 and under, to New York to experience the ticker tape parade. He knew this was history in the making, and he wanted them to experience it.
Boelkins was a gifted pianist and organist. After receiving a camera as a gift from his first church, photography became something he loved to do. In California, when the family owned their own home for the first time, he enjoyed taking care of the yard and planting fruit trees and roses.
After retirement, Boelkins continued to be a pastor to pastors. At age 76, after receiving a computer application certificate from Grand Rapids Community College, Boelkins was instrumental in starting a support group for CRC pastors on Facebook. “The group he started now has 668 pastors and is a source of help and encouragement to many of us in the ministry,” said one pastor.
Boelkins was preceded in death by Grace, his wife of 58 years. He is survived by his children Karen and Bob Hengeveld, Marcia and Wayne Dyksen, Cheryl and Stu Sisco, and Brenda and Patrick Niles, and by 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.