Pastor and workplace chaplain, Peter DeHaan, who liked to go by “Pastor Pete,” of Holland, Mich., died April 13 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 76. Peter is fondly remembered for his friendly smile, breaking out in song during sermons, and his sense of humor. A friend and music director at one of the churches Peter served reflected, “He was comfortable with interacting with gang members and grandmas, the houseless as well as those with houses on the shorelines. … He was faithful to preach the catechism yet not reluctant to bring current issues and church family cares into his sermons. He loved the Christian Reformed Church and importantly, he loved people more.”
Born in the Netherlands, one of eight siblings, Peter immigrated with his family to Pella, Iowa, in 1953. After graduating from Dordt College (now University) and Calvin Theological Seminary, he was ordained in 1972, then served First CRC, Hospers, Iowa; Zion CRC, Oshawa, Ont.; and Maranatha CRC, Woodstock, Ont.
In 1991 the DeHaans moved to Holland, Mich., where he served Maple Avenue CRC and Maple Avenue Ministries before becoming a part-time workplace chaplain in 2000 until 2019. During that time he also pastored Bravo CRC in Fennville, Mich. After retirement in 2019, Peter continued to visit members of his former congregations and volunteered at Ditto Resale Store, which supports the Holland and Zeeland (Mich.) Christian Schools.
Peter is survived by June, his wife of 54 years; three children and their spouses; and five grandchildren.