Elizabeth Heerema Andrews ex’45
Nov. 21, 2018, Quarryville, Pa.

John Beebe ’64


The 200-year-old shagbark hickory tree that stands outside DeVries Hall is a living legacy of John Beebe, who served on the Calvin College biology faculty for 37 years. Beebe, 76, died Oct. 22, 2018.

“John was a vigilant protector of the large shagbark hickory tree outside DeVries Hall during the time DeVries Hall was being built,” said Dave Warners, professor of biology, one of Beebe’s former colleagues and students. “He made sure there was crime scene tape that surrounded the root zone of the tree so no heavy equipment would compact the soil around the roots (something that is deadly to shagbarks). More than once he noticed the tape not being taken seriously, and he went out to explain things to the construction workers. Today that tree stands as a testimony to his love of the creation.”

Beebe ’64 developed a love for creation at a young age. His educational pursuits at Calvin College, University of South Dakota, and University of Chicago rooted that love much deeper.

And when he returned to Calvin in 1969 to become part of its teaching faculty, he joined the pioneering work of deepening the study of biology beyond memorization of facts to include more investigative pursuits.

“I entered John’s plant physiology course in the spring of 1984 deeply disappointed that animal physiology had been full and more than a little intimidated by Dr. Beebe,” said Warners. “I emerged at the end of the semester convinced I wanted to study plants.” But it wasn’t his extensive knowledge and passion for plants that propelled his students and colleagues into the field of botany. It was his compassion for people, his creating opportunities through research and work study projects, and his gift of inspiring confidence.

Beebe is survived by his wife of 55 years, Thea; his children, Peter (Katie) Beebe and Janna (Joseph) Ortiz; and 10 grandchildren.


Bartel Boogerd ex’59

Nov. 5, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Esther Bylstra Bosma ex’49
July 5, 2018, Sibley, Iowa

Jon Bosman ’60
July 16, 2018, Cincinnati, Ohio

Martin Breems ’54
Oct. 14, 2018, Sheldon, Iowa

Thomas Brouwer ex’56
Oct. 19, 2018, Whitinsville, Mass.

Betty Den Hamer Cunningham ex’48
Nov. 18, 2018, Orlando, Fla.

Dorothy Hertel Duthler ex’43
Oct. 24, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Evelyn Dykstra Dykema ’56
Nov. 25, 2018, Santa Maria, Calif.

Keith Dykstra ’58
Dec. 10, 2018, Jenison, Mich.

Gerrit Egedy ’57
Jan. 22, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Pieternella Batts Faber ’59
Oct. 6, 2018, Grandville, Mich.

Roger Feenstra ’64
Nov. 2, 2018, Allendale, Mich.

James Frens ’64
Nov. 15, 2018, Baton Rouge, La.

Janet Dekker Gesink ’55
Dec. 12, 2018, Holland, Mich.

Louis Goudzwaard ex’42
Oct. 5, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jacob Haagsma ’57
Oct. 6, 2018, Jenison, Mich.

Marjorie Nyenhuis Haines ’66
Oct. 29, 2018, Black Mountain, N.C.

Jeanette Haire ’65
Dec. 12, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

James Harkema ’64
Oct. 9, 2018, Okemos, Mich.

Janice Hazen ex’53
Oct. 2, 2018, Midland Park, N.J.

Florence Vanden Bosch Hibma ’50
Dec. 9, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Harold Hinken ’50
Oct. 2, 2018, Grandville, Mich.

Sheryl Frieswyk Hoogendyk ex’66
Nov. 12, 2018, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Harold Horlings ex’61
Dec. 28, 2018, Rockford, Mich.

Richard Houskamp ’59
Jan. 23, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Marilyn Krikke Jones ex’54
Dec. 18, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

F. Jim La Brenz ’49
Sept. 7, 2018, Grand Junction, Colo.

Mildred Ter Horst Muller ’60
Jan. 5, 2019, Jenison, Mich.

Jessica Leestma Oppewal ex’43
Nov. 21, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Robert Poel ’57
Dec. 7, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

John Primus ’54


Remembered as “a model of goodness,” Calvin religion professor emeritus John Primus died Nov. 5, 2018. He was 86.

A 1954 Calvin graduate and a 1957 graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary, Primus came to teach at Calvin in 1963 after receiving his doctorate from Free (Vrije) University in Amsterdam.

When he retired 34 years later, Primus was the last remaining member of the religion department who had received his degree from Vrije University, overseeing a much more diverse group of faculty members.

“He was just the right person to serve as chair of the religion department in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as he shepherded the department through a major transition in its faculty and curriculum,” said Ken Pomykala, Calvin religion department chair. “As the department moved from a faculty almost uniformly educated at Calvin, Calvin Seminary, and the Vrije University to one with a younger faculty with more diverse academic profiles as graduates of North American universities, John brought both stability and freedom.”

Primus was also instrumental in ensuring that studying key elements of John Calvin’s theology would become a hallmark of a Calvin education. When a major overhaul of the department’s curriculum in 1988 eliminated an elective course on Calvin’s Institutes, Primus assured college faculty members that the new curriculum—requiring all students to take a course in Christian theology with an emphasis on the Reformed tradition—would actually expand the teaching of Calvinism at Calvin.

“A stellar teacher who was cherished by both students and colleagues alike because of his Christ-like care for each, John aimed to show that the final purpose of Christian teaching and learning is worship of God and service to others,” said former colleague Dale Cooper.

John is survived by his wife of 63 years, June (Borst); his four children, John (Brenda) Primus, Gwen (Tom) Hendrikse, Ann (Mark) Berends, and Jim (Kim) Primus; 13 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

K. Patrick Rode ’55
Dec. 9, 2018, Traverse City, Mich.

Mary Scully Schultz ’67
Aug. 25, 2018, High Point, N.C.

Lois Spanninga Smith ex’62
Oct. 20, 2018, Rochester, N.Y.

Ross Smith ’63
Oct. 22, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Vernon Vaandrager ’59
Oct. 29, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Louis Van Dyke ’51
Jan. 14, 2019, Sioux Center, Iowa

Gordon Vander Brug ’64
Nov. 9, 2018, Naples, Fla.

Marie Scheeres Vander Ploeg ’49
Jan. 10, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Willard Van Essen ’51
Dec. 16, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ruth Nibbelink Van Heukelom ex’49
Nov. 20, 2018, Holland, Mich.

Peter Van Vliet ’55
Nov. 23, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ralph Veenema ’42
Dec. 14, 2018, Cooperstown, N.Y.

Harvey Vredeveld ’55
Nov. 30, 2018, Ann Arbor, Mich.


Jack Postma ’69
Oct. 26, 2018, Hudsonville, Mich.


Richard Abma ’79
Jan. 17, 2018, Calgary, Alb.

Robert Blacquiere ’76
Oct. 5, 2018, Caledonia, Mich.

Gerda Brouwer ’75
Sept. 8, 2018, St. Catharines, Ont.

Marvin Elenbaas ’74
Oct. 4, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Gerald Knoppers ’79
Dec. 22, 2018, South Bend, Ind.

James Vander Hoven ex’71
Oct. 29, 2018, Kalamazoo, Mich.


Lori Vander Klay Johnson ’86
Nov. 7, 2018, Lexington, Mass.

Douglas Van Meurs ex’80
Oct. 27, 2018, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Deborah Reynolds Young ’88
Nov. 5, 2018, Wyoming, Mich.


Amy Tammen Brown ’93
Dec. 22, 2018, Grand Haven, Mich.