Jack Westerhof was a patient listener gifted with empathy, compassion, humility, and open-mindedness. He was also an optimist who believed that faith could move mountains. Among many things, he will be remembered for his thoughtful exegesis of Scripture, his pastoral work, and his dedication to the congregations he served. Westerhof died of cancer on December 27. He was 78 years old.
After graduating from Calvin Theological Seminary and the Free University in Amsterdam, Westerhof was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church in 1967. He served the following congregations: Lindsay (Ont.) CRC; Woody Nook CRC in Blackfalds, Alta.; Willowdale CRC in Toronto, Ont.; Inglewood CRC in Edmonton, Alta.; Palmerston (Ont.) CRC; and Redeemer CRC in Sarnia, Ont. He also served in campus ministry at Western University in London, Ont. He retired in 2003.
In retirement Westerhof continued to work as a trained interim pastor, serving many churches in Ontario and one in Prince Edward Island. He served on the church council at Redeemer CRC and fulfilled various preaching assignments until 2014. Westerhof also served on several synodical committees and as a member of the CRC’s Committee for Contact with the Government (now known as the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue). He wrote curriculum and is the co-author of Theirs Is the Kingdom, a children’s story Bible.
A voracious reader, Westerhof enjoyed books on theology, philosophy, and history. He read an eclectic assortment of magazines and loved literary fiction. His favourite novelist was Marilynne Robinson. An accomplished gardener, he also enjoyed fishing, boating, and camping. His adventures provided his family with many good stories to tell.
Westerhof is survived by Pat, his wife of 56 years; their children and spouses Michael and Sonia, Patricia and Douglas, Brian and Janice, and Mark; and by eight grandchildren.