Education was always integral to who Don Oppewal was. From teaching high school to writing numerous articles, books, and texts on education, particularly Christian education, Oppewal was always seeking or sharing knowledge.
For 30 years he imparted that wisdom to countless Calvin students studying to be teachers. Oppewal died on May 19; he was 91.
“Don was deeply committed to Christian education at all levels,” said former Calvin colleague Yvonne Van Ee. “He wrote about it, spoke about it, and challenged all of us to think about it. He taught philosophy of education and asked students to consider various philosophers and philosophies through the Reformed worldview lens.”
Oppewal’s teaching reached far beyond the Calvin campus. He helped establish the Christian Educators Journal and served as managing editor for more than a decade. He also published articles on topics such as the integration of faith and learning, teaching tenure and turnover, and the need for Christian textbooks in the Reformed Journal, Educational Forum, Christian Legal Society Quarterly, and Christian Scholar’s Review.
Upon his retirement in 1991, Oppewal volunteered as both a construction worker and educational consultant for schools in Belize, Dominican Republic, and Honduras. He also continued writing, publishing Voices from the Past: Reformed Educators, a book dedicated to the voices of numerous spokespersons devoted to Christian education.
Oppewal is survived by his wife, Jessica; children Gwen Beversluis, Jo Boersma, Dan (Mary) Oppewal, Jim Oppewal, Donna Oppewal, Paul (Tammy) Oppewal; 15 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren
Phil Lucasse was a teacher of teachers, spending the vast majority of his career inspiring young people with his energy and creative enthusiasm.
“Phil’s approach was always to be ‘all-in,’” said former colleague Steve Timmermans. “Exhibiting a love for the Creator and the Creation, Phil sought to instill in those he led a sense of wonder and appreciation, critical driving forces for both aspiring teach- ers and budding students.”
Lucasse died on May 5, at the age of 90.
He first came to Calvin as a student after serving in the U.S. Navy. He earned a degree in engineering, but turned to teaching in the early 1950s, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
His tenure of employment at Calvin began in 1956, when he served for 13 years as dean of men. After completing a PhD in education, Lucasse returned to Calvin, this time to the education department, where he served until his “official” retirement in 1991. Always the teacher, however, Lucasse stayed on at Calvin, working part-time in the education curriculum center for 20 more years.
He served on the task force that lead to the establishment of the Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning (CALL) for senior learners in 1996. He served as the first president and was later given a Distinguished Service Award. He continued his own education by taking numerous CALL classes.
Lucasse is survived by his wife, Carolyn; children Anne Lucasse (Mark Wiersma), Mary Lucasse (David Baker), and Susan Lucasse; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.