Patient and kind as well as intellectually and spiritually curious, Clarence Vos was a gifted teacher who enjoyed sharing what he knew, not only with students in his classes but with others through frequent articles in The Banner or tours of the Holy Land. Described by many as “a man ahead of his time,” Vos advocated for changes in the denomination decades before they actually happened. For example, in an article written for The Banner almost 50 years ago, he advocated for children’s participation at the Lord’s Supper. Vos died on July 28th, 2016, in Grand Rapids. He was 95.
Vos’s training for the ministry was interrupted by 42 months of service in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. After the war, he completed his studies at Calvin College and went on to graduate from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1950. He later received his Masters of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary while pastoring New Hope Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Monroe, Wash., followed by Bethel CRC in Paterson, N.J.
In 1961, Vos joined the faculty of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., as a professor of religion and Old Testament.
In 1963, he took a leave of absence to pursue his doctoral degree in Old Testament at the Free University of Amsterdam. While there, he pastored the International Pilgrim Fellowship in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. His thesis, “Women in Old Testament Worship,” was published in 1968 when women’s place in the church was a major issue at synod. That same year, Vos returned to Calvin College, where he taught until his retirement in 1985. During those years, he served on many denominational committees.
After retirement, Vos and his wife, Jeanne, served with joy several interim pastorates from Washington to New Jersey and from Alaska to Florida. In all, they served 18 churches.
Left to mourn Vos’s death is Jeanne, his wife of 72 years; his children Timothy and Mary Vos, Paul and Kerri Vos, and Carol and Jeff Bremmer, and by four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first grandchild, Nick Bremmer.