Aubrey Van Hoff was a quiet man who never sought accolades for himself. Gifted with a quick wit, he loved to play on words. Almost every sermon contained an alliteration or an acronym. A lifelong student of the Scriptures, as recently as earlier this year he was composing sermons during personal devotion time. After suffering several strokes, Van Hoff was hospitalized in June, where he remained until he died on October 27. He was 81.
Van Hoff was born in Sri Lanka. He received his higher education at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich., but returned to Sri Lanka for the early part of his career. In 1962, he was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). From 1965 to 1968, he also served as the editor of The Herald, a publication of the CRC of Sri Lanka. In 1976, Van Hoff and his family immigrated to Canada. Van Hoff went on to pastor four Christian Reformed congregations in Canada: Transcona CRC in Winnipeg, Man.; Living Hope CRC in Abbotsford, B.C.; Covenant CRC in Barrie, Ont.; and Tillsonburg (Ont.) CRC. He retired in 2000.
Upon hearing of his passing, a pastor in Australia who was a student of Van Hoff’s in the seminary in Sri Lanka, offered the following: “I can honestly say that I am who I am as a pastor, preacher, and teacher, largely because of Rev. Aubrey, whom God used to shape me and make me the man I am today.”
Van Hoff will be lovingly remembered by Dianne, his wife of 54 years; by three daughters: Daphne Jasperse and her fiancé Bill Dehaas, Linda and Steve Gaffin, and Claire and Dan Groen; and by eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Steve Jasperse, in 2010.