Jerry Frens loved being a chaplain. He was still working part time as an on-call chaplain at Northwest Community Hospital when he died unexpectedly and tragically on Feb. 15, after being struck by a vehicle’s sideview mirror. He had been cleaning leaves out of a storm drain on the corner by his home. He was 75.
After ordination in 1968, Frens served First CRC in Chino, Calif., followed by Newton (N.J.) CRC and Crossroads CRC in Madison, Wisc. In 1985 he began a career in chaplaincy at Northwest Community Continuing Care Center in Arlington Heights, Ill. He then worked in hospice care at VITAS in Lombard, Ill., and later at Rainbow Hospice in Park Ridge, Ill., until 2013.
A long-time stated clerk for Classis Northern Illinois, Frens had a heart for the smaller or struggling congregations in the classis and served as a church visitor and counselor. In his later years, as a member of Lombard CRC, he sang in the church choir, participated in church life groups and men’s Bible studies, and remained a member of the local clergy breakfast group. He was passionate about Christian education.
Frens enjoyed photography, traveling, camping, classical music, and going to concerts, especially when one of his children or grandchildren was performing. He liked potlucks and leftovers and watching football games, during which his usually taciturn and calm behaviour changed dramatically.
Frens will be greatly missed by his four children: Jeremy, Cara (Justin), Joel (Rachel), and Stacia, and by five grandchildren. He was predeceased in 2017 by Marge, his wife of 51 years.