A pastor to many over a span of 76 years of active and retired ministry, Jim Van Weelden loved people, loved being a minister, and most of all, loved “to tell the story” of salvation in Jesus Christ. In his 99th year, Jim died April 18 at McNally House Hospice in Grimsby, Ont.
Born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, the sixth of 14 children, Jim was raised on a farm. He was the first in his family to go to school beyond eighth grade. At age 17 he began a five-year course of studies at the Protestant Reformed Theological School (now Seminary). He served a Protestant Reformed church in Sioux Center, Iowa, for 10 years and then was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church. He went on to pastor First CRC, Sioux City, Iowa; First CRC, Red Deer, Alta.; First CRC, Chatham, Ont.; and Mountainview CRC, Grimsby, Ont.
Retiring from full-time ministry in 1984, he continued to serve churches in the Grimsby area, preaching almost every Sunday well into his 80s. Even in his 90s, Jim occasionally preached and officiated at weddings and funerals. He preached for the last time in November 2019 at the age of 97.
Jim enjoyed traveling and playing golf, pool, and games with family and friends. He taught himself how to play piano and spent many hours playing hymns as well as listening to CDs or vinyl records.
Predeceased in 2013 by his wife, Adriana, with whom he celebrated almost 70 years of marriage, and by his eldest son and a grandson, Jim is survived by five children and their spouses, 11 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.