Carl Reitsma was born on Reformation Day and loved the Reformed faith. Over the years, he pastored congregations of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), The Reformed Church of New Zealand, as well as the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Reitsma died on January 7 at the age of 90.
A graduate of Calvin College, Theological University of Kampen in the Netherlands, and Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, Reitsma began ministry in 1955 at Collingwood OPC in West Collingwood, N.J. He went on to pastor the following congregations: Calvary OPC in Cedar Grove, Wisc., The Reformed Church of New Zealand in Wellington, and Sharon Orthodox Presbyterian in Hialeah, Fla.
Beginning in 1973, Reitsma served for 17 years as Bible teacher at Timothy Christian School in Elmhurst, Ill. He was ordained in the CRC during that time and preached at numerous churches in the Chicago area, serving short stints as interim pastor at Faith CRC in Elmhurst and Lombard (Ill.) CRC. In 1990, Reitsma accepted his last call to Calvary CRC in Lowell, Mich., retiring in 1994.
Reitsma was well-known for “loosening his clerical collar” during school variety shows and summer youth camps and while leading tour groups through Europe. He and his wife welcomed hundreds of guests into their home and were host parents to many foreign exchange students.
Reitsma leaves behind Dorothy, his wife of 65 years; six children and their spouses; and 11 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.