Nicholas John Huizenga, of Grand Rapids, MI died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family on June 19, 2016. He was 90 years old.
Nick is survived by his wife of 64 years, Joan Huizenga (nee Katte); their children, Mary Lynn (Roger) Wesorick of Wyoming, MI, Timothy (Annette) Huizenga of Chicago, IL, Ruth (Douglas) Everhart of Sterling, VA, Beth (Rich) Huizenga-Murillo of San Francisco, CA and Susan (Bennett) Cleveland of Grand Rapids, MI; 13 grandchildren; and 11(+) great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Gertrude Huizenga of Lansing, IL, and his three brothers, Bartel Huizenga of Visalia, CA, Gerald Huizenga and James Huizenga of Highland, IN. He is survived by his four sisters, Annamae VanDrunen of Lansing, IL, Kathryn Rottenberg of San Diego, CA, Carol Kapteyn of Lansing, IL and Joan Vredeveld of Ann Arbor, MI.
Nick was born on September 20, 1925 in Highland, IN. After graduating from Chicago Christian High School in 1943, he received an army deferment and worked on the Zandstra farm. He began studies at Calvin College in September of 1945, and was drafted in October. He served his country for 14 months, then returned to his studies. In his last year at Calvin he met the one and only love of his life, Joan Katte. After graduating, he taught for one year at Highland Christian School (Highland, IN). In August of 1951 he married Joan in Sunnyside, WA after hitch-hiking across the country to ask her parents’ blessing and having many adventures along the way.
Nick was a career educator, serving as a teacher and principal at various Christian schools in the Chicago area, and as an administrator at Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, IL). In 1967 he became the principal of Eastern Christian Junior High School (Prospect Park, NJ), a position he held for 20 years, until retirement.
In 1987 the couple moved to Grand Rapids, MI where they became involved at Church of the Servant. Nick was generous in volunteering. Nick and Joan co-edited a newsletter for the Committee for Women in the Christian Reformed Church, which worked to open the doors of ordination to women. They also traveled extensively: Europe, the Middle-east, the American West, Alaska, Central America, China, Thailand and their favorite trip of all, three weeks in Africa in 2004.
Nick had a lifelong interest in history, and in later life became especially involved in collecting and writing the stories of his family and church denomination.
His children will remember him as a man of devout faith, commitment to Christian service, quiet intellect, an often surprising sense of humor, and a love for playing pinochle.
At his 90th birthday party last September, Nick referred to himself as “a grateful old man.” In a document which he titled “Final Words” he quoted the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism. Q: What is your only comfort in life and death? A: That I am not my own, but belong body and soul in life and death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11:00 on Wednesday, June 22, at Church of the Servant. Visitation will begin at 10:00 at the church. Rev. Jack Roeda will officiate. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Nick’s life and to witness to the resurrection. Memorial contributions in his honor can be made to the Church of the Servant, World Renew, or The Christian Learning Center.
Private burial will be held at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Battle Creek, MI.
Nick’s grandchildren include: Daniel Wesorick, Sarah (Wesorick) Loiselle, Leah (Wesorick) Boone, Benjamin Huizenga, Margaret (Huizenga) Jedrey, Esther (Wesorick) Levo, Jared Wesorick, Hannah Everhart, Jacob Wesorick, Clara Everhart, Olivia Murillo, Timothy Scott Crane and Joanna Murillo.