When Alvin Bielema ’42 reflects on his 95 years on this Earth, a theme emerges: gratitude.

He is grateful for his Calvin education, his four years playing basketball, his service in the Navy during World War II, his wife, his family and most of all, for God’s care and provision.

He came to Calvin in 1938 as the son of a family from rural Fulton, Ill. Bielema said the size of Calvin, small as its Franklin campus was then, dazzled his senses, coming from a school where eight grades were taught in two rooms.

Bielema said his basketball coach, the legendary Albert Muyskens, saw that he looked a little lost, so he took him under his wing.

“This is as true as I’m sitting here,” Bielema said. “He saw the captain of the basketball team and said to him, ‘I’d like to have you be the roommate of Al Bielema, at least the first semester, so he gets a good start while at Calvin.’”

"The most important thing is your faith and your life for God." Alvin Bielema

Bielema quickly acclimated to the demands of being a four-year starter on the college’s varsity team. He was one of the team’s leading scorers—and known for his hook shot. He often would shout after he scored, “Yoofy-Do, give us two!” The nickname “Yoofy-Do” stuck.

After Calvin, where Bielema majored in business, he went on to earn his master’s degree in business at the University of Michigan. Then, he joined the Navy and was stationed in New Zealand during the final months of World War II.

When the war was over, Bielema launched a lifelong career as an insurance salesman.

Bielema, who is a lifelong Calvin donor, offers this advice to the Calvin community: “The most important thing is your faith and your life for God.”