Evelyn Buikstra Bouma ’49
Aug. 28, 2017, Holland, Mich.

Carolyn Miersma Brinks ex’48
Jan. 24, 2017, Leesburg, Fla.

Neal Buteyn ’54
March 17, 2017, Oostburg, Wis.

Dale Dykema ’56
July 4, 2017, Newport Beach, Calif.

Elizabeth “Betty” Arkema Dykema ex’49
Jan. 31, 2016, Marion, Iowa

Vernon Ehlers ex’55
Aug. 15, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich

Gladys Kotman Essenburg ’55
Sept. 3, 2017, Holland, Mich.

Alice Sessions Hile ’57
Dec. 12, 2016, Grand Ledge, Mich.


Vern Ehlers

Vernon Ehlers is widely remembered for his influential political career: He served for 16 years as a U.S. congressman and 11 years in Michigan’s state Legislature before his retirement in 2010.

It was, though, his “first career” of teaching physics that propelled him into his more prominent role later in life, he once said.

“My life was influenced by my years of teaching at Calvin,” Ehlers said in a 1996 interview. “Interacting with the gifted and committed faculty and with the students I taught really determined and shaped my philosophy of life, a life of service to others.”

Ehlers, who spent 17 years as a respected physics professor at Calvin, died Aug. 15. He was 83.

He joined the Calvin faculty in 1966, where he served until 1983. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the college in 1996.

The scientist-turned-politician took an active role in many science-related legislative issues, especially when it came to protecting the Great Lakes. He was also a champion for math and science education.

Calvin physics department chair Matt Walhout is working on an archival research project on the life of Vern Ehlers. “From start to finish, Vern’s career was animated by the Reformed outlook that Christians need to be a blessing to people in the world around them,” Walhout said.

Ehlers is survived by his wife, Johanna, his supportive and constant partner. He is also survived by his children, Heidi (Bob) Rienstra, Brian Ehlers, Marla Ehlers, Todd Ehlers, and Mirjam Schaller; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Boyd Hoffman ’46
Sept. 11, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Judith Stevens Hooker ’54
Aug. 14, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Edward Keegstra ex’50
Sept. 5, 2017, Stevensville, Mich.

Leona De Waard Klooster ’46
Aug. 15, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mary Jean Kruis ’60
July 20, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Kuno Maliepaard ’55
Feb. 22, 2017, Hanford, Calif.

Louis Mensonides ’59
Aug. 2, 2017, Modesto, Calif.

Darlene Riepma Mulder ex’56
Aug. 7, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Lauretta Kramer Putney ex’66
June 26, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Darlene Geurink Rubingh ’55
Sept. 18, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Chris Schiebout ex’48
May 31, 2017, West Olive, Mich.

Carl Strating ’52
Jan. 27, 2017, San Antonio, Texas

Cora Vermeulen Stremler ’63
Sept. 17, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Frances Ribbens Van Baak ’45
Aug. 13, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

William Vander Werf ex’58
March 18, 2017, Sioux Center, Iowa

H. Aubrey Van Hoff ’59
Oct. 27, 2016, Sarnia, Ontario

Kenneth Verhulst ’62
June 22, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Judy Ver Meer ex’60
Jan. 29, 2017, Pella, Iowa

Harold Walcott ’62
Nov. 16, 2016, Allendale, Mich.

Richard Zwagerman ’55
Feb. 1, 2017, Leland, Mich.

Jack Kuipers '43

Donald Pruis

To know the impact of Jack Kuipers the researcher one need only peruse the reviews on amazon.com of his 1999 book Quaternions and Rotation Sequences: A Primer with Applications to Orbits, Aerospace, and Virtual Reality. Perhaps the title alone is signal enough of Kuiper’s deep intellect, but the book’s reviews speak of both its remarkable depth and also its accessibility.

Those who knew Kuipers the researcher and Kuipers the teacher recognized his abilities, including his colleagues at Calvin, from which he retired in 1986 after a distinguished career as a professor of mathematics.

Kuipers died on April 27 at the age of 95.

After graduating from Calvin, and after a stint serving his country in the European theater, he worked for almost 20 years in industrial engineering, including developing complex weapons systems for the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War.

His work in the 1950s led many to consider Kuipers the father of virtual reality. During that decade he began experimenting with the mathematics used to produce simulations for air force pilots, developing a six-dimensional graphics system, which became widely used in the aerospace, defense and entertainment industries.

“Much as he loved a good discussion on deep issues,” said Calvin dean and mathematician Mike Stob, “he was very careful to express his opinions tentatively, if at all. He was unfailingly charitable to the views of others.”

Kuipers is survived by his wife, Lois; children: Benjamin and Laura Lein Kuipers, Emily and James Akerson, Joel and Terry Murphy Kuipers, Alison Kuipers, and Lynne and David Eggert; and 11 grandchildren.


JoAnne Vinson Bouma ’69
June 3, 2017, Spokane, Wash.

Nancy Postema Holleman ’69
March 31, 2017, Safety Harbor, Fla.

James Kuiper ’68
Feb. 27, 2017, Chico, Calif.

Cheryl Ridderhoff ’68
April 23, 2016, Blue Island, Ill.


Ted Bandstra ’70
Sept. 27, 2016, Dyer, Ind.

Marjorie Zwiers Miller ’70
Sept. 14, 2017, Eudora, Kan.

Rudy Van Der Laan ’70
Aug. 19, 2017, Lombard, Ill.


Brian Buwalda ex’85
Sept. 11, 2017, Orlando, Fla.

Kimberly DeYoung Gabney ex’82
July 25, 2017, Toledo, Ohio

Susan Cavanaugh Suwyn ’85
Aug. 1, 2017, Ada, Mich.


Edna Johnston Schorr ex’94
July 7, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Edna Johnston Schorr ex’94
July 7, 2017, Grand Rapids, Mich.


James Glatz ’03
Aug. 2, 2017, Fort Myers, Fla.


Nathan Marcus ’17
Sept. 17, 2017, Holland, Mich.