Compassionate, sincere, and hard-working, Ray Steigenga was a gifted theologian, history buff, and lifelong learner. He believed that being a child of God was his greatest calling, and he treasured God’s unconditional love. Ray, 77, died Jan. 7.
After growing up on the family farm in Zeeland, Mich., Ray never lost his love for farming. He graduated from high school and wanted to operate heavy equipment. After various jobs, he finally worked in the coal supply unit at the Consumers Power Company.
Several years later, Ray experienced God’s call to ministry. He studied part time to get an undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University, then graduated in 1979 from Western Theological Seminary. He first served Fairfield Community Church, a nondenominational church in Lancaster, Ohio, then served Newton-Zion Reformed Church, Erie, Ill., and Casnovia (Mich.) Reformed Church. In 2005 he was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church and pastored Northern Heights CRC in Kalamazoo, Mich., until he retired in 2010.
For several years during retirement, Ray drove a semi-truck for various businesses around Western Michigan. He loved gardening, visiting with neighbors and friends, antique shopping, and travel. He often applied his mechanical knowledge to create and fabricate useful items, including trailers and garden carts. He blessed many with his notes and cards, and in recent years, his pie baking.
Ray will be lovingly remembered by Joyce, his wife of 57 years, three children and their spouses, eight grandchildren (of which four are married), and three great-grandchildren.