Described by a friend as an unyielding warrior, John Rop faced challenges with resoluteness, courage, humor, and a reliance on Jesus. John died July 2 after living with a genetic liver disease for 23 years. He was 72.
The youngest of seven children, John graduated from Muskegon High School in 1968. He thought about studying for the ministry but was discouraged from pursuing it. Instead, he proudly served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, then attended Grand Valley State University, where he received an undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology. After working for 15 years in the manufacturing and furniture industries, John experienced, for the second time, the call to ministry. At age 45 he graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary.
Ordained in 1995, John pastored Highland Christian Reformed Church in Marion, Mich., and then Phoenix (Ariz.) CRC. His third and final church was Calvin Church in Muskegon, Mich., where he served until retiring in 2015. He has been described as a “heart” preacher and one who understood brokenness.
John was a civil war “buff” who loved studying and talking about that historical period. He also enjoyed baseball and collecting baseball cards. In retirement, he continued his love of woodworking, making furniture, gardening, and reading. “He built many pieces of furniture in our house,” said his wife, “and we called our yard our own little retreat.”
John is survived by Ellen, his wife of 50 years; two children and their spouses; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren (with two on the way).