Chester Schemper was a passionate, positive, hard-working man of faith whose love, joy, and gratitude profoundly affected those around him. For all of his 97 years he was blessed with a clear mind, and was fully present and engaged with his family, neighbors, and church community. He led a weekly ecumenical Bible study at his retirement residence in Oak Park, Ill., until just days before his death, evidence of his lifelong commitment to encouraging others to read Scripture and nurture their relationship with God. Schemper died on October 30.
As a young man working on his father’s farm in South Olive, Mich., Schemper became involved with The World Home Bible League (later called The Bible League) in a ministry to migrant workers.
After graduating from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1952, Schemper served three Christian Reformed congregations: Second CRC in Allendale, Mich.; Oak Lawn (Ill.) CRC; and First (now River Park) CRC in Calgary, Alta. In 1965, the family moved to Mexico City, where Schemper served as a CRC missionary and taught at Juan Calvino Seminary.
He spent the rest of his career with The Bible League. In 1969, he became the Latin American Coordinator for The Bible League and returned to Illinois in 1973 to continue in that position until 1989. Schemper also served as director of new language publications at The Bible League, working to publish Bible translations of the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In his 50 years of involvement with The Bible League, Schemper visited nearly 60 countries. Even after he retired in his mid-80s, he kept up an active engagement with the global church.
Schemper is survived and will be missed by his children Carla and Lugene, Thomas and Susan, Mary and Rich, and by 10 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Garrietta, in 2011, as well as by a son, Calvin, and a grandson.