Henry Bouma will be remembered as a man with a natural passion for boldly sharing his faith, something he passed on to his children. “My dad trained me to always be willing to share the reason for the hope within me,” said his daughter Lisa. “He had me write and memorize a one-minute, a three-minute, and a 10-minute testimony. ‘You never know how much time God will give you with an unbeliever’, he’d say. ‘You need to be fully prepared to use whatever time you have.’” Bouma died on September 15. He was 90.
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Bouma completed high school, attended Calvin College, and graduated from Calvin Seminary in 1956. The next year, he married Mary LaGrand in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he was studying at the Free University.
After graduating with his doctorandus in 1959, the Boumas began a lifetime of ministry together. They served the following congregations: Granum (Alta.) CRC; Palo Alto (Calif.) CRC; Family of Faith CRC in Kennewick, Wash.; and Hammond (Ind.) CRC.
Bouma had a passion for prison ministry. It was in Washington and later in Hammond that he became involved in prison ministry, eventually leaving the pastorate to become a full-time prison chaplain. For 11 years, he first served at Menard Correctional Center, and then at Dixon Correctional Center, both in Illinois. He retired in 1996. Into his 80s, he volunteered in prisons and with former prisoners in rehabilitation and finding work.
Bouma loved reading, especially anything historical, and spending time with extended family. He was a loving and affirming grandfather.
He is survived by Mary, his wife of 59 years, and their children Lisa, Sharon, Mary-Lee, Katherine, and their spouses, and by eight grandchildren and a newborn great-grandson.