Jason Alofs ’61
Oct. 6, 2019, Holland, Mich.

Wanda Faber Arenz ’61
Jan. 6, 2020, Cass Lake, Minn.

Harry Arnold ’50
June 16, 2019, Portage, Mich.

Gerrit Bieze ’58
Dec. 15, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Kathleen Dekker Bossenbroek ex’67
Jan. 29, 2019, Columbus, Ohio

Albertus Bratt ’55
Dec. 11, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

James Chambery ’55
Nov. 19, 2019, Port Saint Lucie, Fla.

Marcia Vanden Berg Cook ’68
Oct. 23, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jackson Day ’55
Nov. 1, 2019, Jenison, Mich.

Betsy VanHalsema DeKorne ’45
Nov. 29, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jack DeMaagd ’68
Oct. 19, 2019, Kalamazoo, Mich.

William De Roo ’58
Nov. 23, 2019, Williamsville, N.Y.

Carl Edewaard ex’56
Sept. 12, 2019, Holland, Mich.

Jean Young Gaffin ’58
Mar. 15, 2019, Springfield, Va.

Mary Tebrake Gage ’60
Nov. 1, 2019, North Oaks, Minn.

Nadine Tubergen Garber ’60
Nov. 2, 2019, Astoria, Ore.

Rachel Vanderbilt Greenfield ’65
July 14, 2018, Milwaukee, Wis.

Jane Hoexum Haan ex’57
Aug. 19, 2019, Jenison, Mich.

Clarence Henze ex’47
July 19, 2019, Holland, Iowa

Barbara Poel Hoekema ’69
May 23, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Marvin Hooker ’52
Oct. 7, 2019, Crestwood, Ill.

Adele Ekema Hoving ’55
Oct. 20, 2019, Norman, Okla.

Lester Ippel ex’48
Jan. 4, 2020, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jerald Jarsma ex’57
Feb. 23, 2019, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Gertrude Kamps ’55
Nov. 5, 2019, Modesto, Calif.

John Klanderman ’61
Oct. 8, 2019, West Chester, Pa.

Edward Knott ’44
Nov. 29, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

John Koopmans ex’55
May 11, 2019, Newbury Park, Calif.

Alice Koster ’66
Nov. 7, 2019, Mendham, N.J.

Ronald Kunnen ex’53
Nov. 16, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mary Lappinga Ligus ’57
June 30, 2019, Jacksonville, Fla.

Fay Ammermann Marcus ex’62
Jan. 1, 2019, Phoenix, Ariz.

Donald Meindertsma ’59
Jan. 2, 2020, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Arlene Van Zoest Moll ’54
Sept. 18, 2019, Willard, Ohio

Roger Mulder ’59
Nov. 21, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Bernicejean Hoogsteen Reitsema ’43
Nov. 10, 2019, Castle Rock, Colo.

Violet Droogsma Rens ex’46
Oct. 29, 2019, Milaca, Minn.

Bertha Ritsema Reynolds ex’49
Sept. 27, 2019, Denver, Colo.

Russell Ripma ex’51
Nov. 28, 2018, Grandville, Mich.

Esther Scholten Robbert ex’45
Oct. 26, 2019, Jenison, Mich.

Norman Roobol ’58
Oct. 11, 2019, Durham, N.C.

Jackson Schutte ex’61
Aug. 5, 2018, Austin, Texas

Fred Steensma ’59
Oct. 16, 2019, Fairport, N.Y.

Nancy DeVos Stehouwer ’74
Nov. 20, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Kenneth Stoub ’64
Oct. 5, 2019, Stockton, Calif.

Meredith Ter Horst ’65
Oct. 9, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Laura VanderZee Vanden Bosch ex’58
Jan. 23, 2020, Holland, Mich.

Frederick Van Dyk ’57
May 7, 2019, Kentwood, Mich.

Gordon Van Enk ’62
Oct. 12, 2019, Torrance, Calif.

Alice Laughlin Veldhuis ex’44
Feb. 20, 2019, Jefferson, Ga.

William Venema ex’52
Oct. 28, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Arlene VandenBosch Ver Beek ex’60
July 16, 2019, Cedar Lake, In.

Carl Vlietstra ex’62
Sept. 3, 2019, Fort Collins, Colo.

Viola Steigenga Vogel ’49
Oct. 10, 2019, Prescott, Ariz.

Betty De Vries Wigboldy ex’51
Oct. 21, 2019, Lynden, Wash.

Alan Zoet ex’66
Oct. 21, 2019, Grandville, Mich.


William Brouwers Jr. ’72
June 14, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Vonda Essenburg ’74
Oct. 20, 2019, Byron Center, Mich.

William Hartman Jr. ’70
Nov. 12, 2019, Pella, Iowa

Fred Sterenberg ’74
Nov. 29, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Russell Van Antwerpen ’77
Oct. 3, 2019, Southampton, Pa.

Ryan Veeneman ’75
May 30, 2019, Kentwood, Mich.

Lucile Steigenga Wolthuis ex’76
Jan. 25, 2020, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Daniel Pott ’80
Nov. 14, 2019, Hudsonville, Mich.

Donald Vander Kolk ’85
Nov. 14, 2019, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Brian Vredevoogd ’83
Oct. 26, 2019, Spring Lake, Mich.


Sarah Althaus Trowbridge ’09
Jan. 7, 2020, Chicago, Ill.


Tyson Butler ’18
Jan. 20, 2020, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Gentry Kestner ’13
Nov. 2, 2019, Lakeview, Mich.

Andrew Prezioso, 1999–2020

Andrew Prezioso

The power of a single voice.

Andrew Prezioso knew that well. And so he used his well.

To sing. To laugh. To encourage.

“He brought light to the people he was around and made them feel special,” said Jill Geyer, who led the Wilderness Orientation trip Andrew was on the summer before he started at Calvin.

“I can picture him on the beach of North Manitou Island at sunset, gleefully singing an assortment of musical numbers. On another day, I remember him leading our orientation group in worship with his eyes closed in his smooth strong voice.”

Andrew’s singing voice was something that caught everyone’s attention.

“He had a beautiful, wonderful, larger-than-life singing voice,” said Derek Ten Pas, an engineering major who lived in the same residence hall with Andrew freshman year.

His singing was enjoyed in Beets-Veenstra residence hall, where he led dorm worship as a Barnabas, in impromptu moments around campus, and in the university’s gospel choir.

His singing voice will be remembered, but so will his “contagious laugh.”

“Many times at dorm events I remember knowing he was there before seeing him, just because of his laughter,” said Ten Pas. “It was the kind of laughter that prompted you to laugh, even if you just found something mildly funny.”

There was no denying that Andrew’s voice could carry in groups. But it wielded its greatest power in quieter, more intimate settings.

“It was evident that he had a passion for people and a passion to learn more about God. He was quick to affirm people when they shared something in Bible study,” said Ten Pas. “He
let them know that their voice mattered and was valued.”

Andrew died Jan. 16, 2020. He is survived by his parents, Pam and Donald; his brother, Michael; and his grandparents.

The Calvin University community reminds anyone who is struggling with mental health issues to seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Olivia Haverkamp, 2001–2020

Olivia Haverkamp

Olivia Haverkamp, 18, a first-year student studying biology at Calvin University, died Jan. 26 following a three-year battle with a rare childhood cancer.

During those three years, her disease did not define her.

“In class, I will remember her more for what she didn’t say than for what she did,” said Kate van Liere, professor of history. “She never said a word about her illness.”

“She never complained about it. In fact, she rarely talked about it,” said Sadie Kornoelje, a first-year student at Calvin who was Olivia’s lab partner at Grand Rapids Christian High School when she learned of her cancer diagnosis.

It wasn’t that Olivia was shirking reality. It was that she was embracing a much greater reality. She knew who she was and whom she belonged to. And that confidence inspired those she met.

“Olivia lived her life with purpose,” said Anna Sytsema, Haverkamp’s roommate, “and nothing was going to take that mindset away from her.”

And her understanding of her purpose translated into an unparalleled resilience and perseverance.

“Whether or not she was really confident about beating the disease, there was no doubt about her confidence that she was in God’s hands and that he would take care of her. That sense of trust and faith really inspired me,” said van Liere.

Olivia saw every day as a gift, gave each day her whole heart, and found joy in everything.

“Olivia loved loving,” said Sytsema.

“As long as I’ve known her, she has been the most positive, joyful, and thoughtful friend I’ve ever known,” said Hannah Rusticus, a first-year Calvin student and close friend of Haverkamp.

“Kindness was her defining characteristic,” added her dad, Brad Haverkamp.

Olivia is survived by her parents, Brad and Cindy (Folkert) Haverkamp; sisters Caroline and Maria Haverkamp; grandmother, Carol Folkert; and grandparents William and Marybeth Haverkamp.

Al Bratt, 1933–2019

Al Bratt

Al Bratt was an explorer. He was constantly learning something new about God’s creation. And he loved sharing these experiences with his students. Whether introducing students to unique creatures in a lab in DeVries Hall or trudging through swamps and fields as students identified insects, for 39 years, Bratt helped Calvin students fall in love with the natural world.

Bratt, 86, died Dec. 11, 2019.

“The best was when he brought in marine creatures that most of us had never heard of (let alone seen!),” said Elisabeth Hunt, a 1988 Calvin grad.

Hunt worked in one of Bratt’s labs as an animal caretaker. She had a front-row seat to witness his enthusiasm for the animal kingdom.

“I remember he’d stroll in where I was working, ubiquitous sucker in his mouth, and announce ‘The shipment’s coming tomorrow.’ That was my warning that I had about 12 hours to set up individual tanks for a couple dozen amazing animals.”

Bratt opened doors for students to study invertebrate zoology, animal diversity, ecology, and entomology at Calvin. He even led interim courses in marine biology and parasitology. But, for all the doors he opened for students, it was his physical office door being open that meant the most.

“Al was a friend to students,” said John Ubels, biology professor emeritus who was a student of Bratt’s and was a colleague of his for one year at Calvin. “His door was always open, and he hung out in the labs and halls with us chatting and laughing.”

Bratt, who was known as Calvin’s “bug specialist,” leaves a deep legacy: one that shows much respect and admiration for God’s creation, a great love for his students and colleagues, and an insatiable curiosity for the natural world.

Bratt is survived by his wife, Marilyn; their children, Debra (Bruce) Tiejema, Linda (Bill) Veldboom, Pamela (Karl Kinkema) Bratt, and Dirk (Cindy) Bratt; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Ruth Rus, 1927–2019

Ruth Rus

For Ruth Rus, every person and every musical note mattered.

Rus, 92, taught in Calvin’s music department for three decades. She died Nov. 16, 2019.

“Ruth cared deeply. That care was expressed in her relationships with her colleagues and her students and with the Grand Rapids community,” said John Hamersma, one of her former colleagues. “Most importantly, she cared deeply about her music. This sensitivity shone in her own performances and in the performances of her students. Every note she played and every note she taught was caressed with great affection.”

It was a labor of love.

“She loved and understood every note she played,” said Howard Slenk, one of her former colleagues. “It was as though she had taken the piece apart and put it together again in a new and thrilling way

“Ruth opened the glorious gates of music to me. She gave me a piano lesson when I was a sophomore at Calvin, long before she joined the music faculty here. After that one lesson, I knew music would be my major and my calling,” said Slenk, who 15 years later would find Rus to be a “supportive and inspiring colleague.”

“Ruth’s legacy lies mostly with her students and their achievements,” added Hamersma. “I’m certain that is what Ruth wanted it to be. Her approach was to be humble and reverent in the presence of great music and to inspire those virtues in both her students and in her audiences.”

Rus is survived by her three children—Laurel (Don Bullick) Rus, Marvin (Heather Hutton) Rus, and Charles Rus—and three grandchildren. Rus was preceded in death by her husband, Louis.

June Hamersma, 1929–2020

June Hamersma

“People often ask me how I feel about taking on your shoes,” said Kristi Potter, the director of the January Series, at June Hamersma’s farewell luncheon in 2007, “and I tell them your shoes are too high and too colorful for me to fill, so I won’t even try, but I will gladly walk in your footsteps.”

Hamersma, 90, the founder of Calvin University’s award-winning lecture series, the January Series, died Feb. 16, 2020.

Hamersma’s colleagues remember her bright personality and colorful wardrobe, which both literally and figuratively illuminated Calvin’s campus each January. They remember how she channeled her high-energy, big personality, and persistence toward building a widely recognized, award-winning lecture series.

“She worked hard to make it into something really significant and respected,” said Potter, who worked with Hamersma for 12 years before taking over as series director.

“June Hamersma offered remarkable leadership at Calvin, turning the January Series into a learning opportunity with a reach far beyond our campus community,” added John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and a friend of the family.
“The 300-plus lectures and events she hosted on campus over those 20 years brought thousands to our campus for the first time and showcased Calvin’s liberal arts vision in compelling ways.”

Potter says that June was certainly persistent and demanded excellence. And she had such high expectations because she believed in the value of Calvin’s mission.

“She wholeheartedly believed in the importance of a liberal arts education with a Christian perspective, and early on understood that a good education is one that teaches you how to think, not what to think,” said Potter.

June is survived by her husband, John, who was a professor of music at Calvin for 50 years; their children, John (Glenie) Hamersma and Mary (Ken) Baas; and four grandchildren.

Bob DeKraker, 1929–2020

Al Bratt

“There was a lot more that he did than we ever realized,” said Gayle Ermer, chair of Calvin’s engineering department, of longtime Calvin University employee Bob DeKraker.

Bob DeKraker, 65, died of cancer on Feb. 19, 2020. He worked at Calvin for more than three decades, and since 2001 as the laboratory manager for engineering.

“He was one of the first people I met when I began teaching at Calvin. He helpfully introduced himself and offered assistance with all things related to technology and laboratories,” said Matt Heun, professor of engineering. “True to his offer and for all of my 18 years at Calvin, Bob unfailingly provided prompt and courteous support. He was a rock of the engineering department. To the extent that our trains ran on time, it was thanks to him.”

While students had a limited view of the work Bob did on their behalf, his investment in them defines his legacy at Calvin and contributed greatly to their success.

“A visual memory I have of Bob is when he helped with the Engineering 101 bottle rocket project. He helped set up launchers, had to bring access to water and compressed air, and then he’d stay for all the labs and troubleshoot,” said Ermer. “Literally, I picture him wet up to the waist, kneeling in the mud, muddy and nasty, fixing stuff to make sure the students could do the work expeditiously. He went above and beyond.”

“He always wanted the engineering students to shine on senior design night,” added Michelle Krul, administrative assistant for the engineering department. “He made sure they had whatever was needed so the students could have the spotlight that one Saturday every May. Bob was a faithful, honest, and good man—one of the true unsung heroes of Calvin.”

Bob is survived by his wife, Carol; children, Elizabeth (Kyle) Neher, Benjamin (Jessica) DeKraker, and Theodore DeKraker; and three grandchildren.