Dave Holwerda, a quiet man who used his actions to speak louder than his words, had a long career as a beloved professor of religion and theology. He considered the writings of John—gospel, epistles, and revelation—his favorites to study and teach. Holwerda died March 10 at age 89. Through the fog of Alzheimer's disease, he had been frequently asking when he could go home, and his loved ones are grateful for God's gracious, final answer.
Holwerda was fifth of six boys. He graduated from Calvin College (now University) and Seminary and then obtained a Doctor of Theology from the Free University in Amsterdam in 1959. He was professor of biblical studies at Trinity Christian College for a few years before becoming professor of religion and theology at Calvin for the next 21 years. He then taught New Testament studies at Calvin Theological Seminary for 15 years, retiring in 1998. He was dedicated to his students and colleagues and was known as a deep thinker, a skillful writer, and as one who could promote unity. Many colleagues commend Holwerda’s committee work and his report writing on controversial topics for the denomination.
Holwerda was an expert baker, having honed his skills at Steenstra's Royal Dutch Bakery in Grandville, Mich., where he had worked to earn money to put himself through school. “He could do pastry with the same kind of precision and care as he took with his writing,” said one of his daughters. Holwerda also loved camping.
Preceded in death by his grandson Timothy, Holwerda will be lovingly remembered by Gayla, his wife of 67 years; four daughters and their spouses; 10 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.