Bom-Wrapper

Eugene Westra

Eugene Dewey Westra

Monday, December 18th, 1933 - Saturday, September 19th, 2020
Recommend this to your friends.
Share via:

Sign in to the Family Interactive Login

The Family Interactive feature enhances An Amazing Life. Authorized family members can securely access their loved one's memorial website settings at any time.

Share Book of Memories with a Friend

Please enter the name and email details so that we can send your friend a link to the online tribute. No names or addresses will be collected by using this service.

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

To share your memory on the wall of Eugene Westra, sign in using one of the following options:

Sign in with Facebook

OR

Sign in with your email address

Your condolence has been submitted for approval. There may be a delay before posting.

Provide comfort for the family by sending flowers or planting a tree in memory of Eugene Westra

No Thanks

Contact Funeral Home

Please enter your question or comment below:

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

Eugene's Tribute Fund

  •  Full Name
  •  Initials
  •  Anonymous
By continuing, you agree with the terms and privacy policy.

Eugene's Tribute Fund

There may be a delay while processing. Please do not click the back button or refresh while a payment is processing.

Obituary

At peace in Christ's promise that “I go to prepare a place for you...that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3), Eugene Dewey Westra (Gene) passed away on September 19, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Preceded by his parents Dewey and Nellie (Koetje) Westra and his brothers Doré and James Westra, he is survived by his wife, Helen Petter Westra; daughter Marie and son-in-law Scott Vander Linde, daughter Rachel Mary Westra, son Arend and daughter-in-law Magdalena (Bonnin) Westra; grandchildren Annica (Vander Linde) and Peter Quakenbush, Kristin Vander Linde, Alexander and Helena Westra; and great grandchildren Linden Louise and Little John Quakenbush.

Born on December 18, 1933, in Detroit, Gene grew up in the fold of the Dutch Christian Reformed community there. The youngest of three brothers, he developed an early fondness for plants, animals, and agriculture during summer stays on family farms near Randolph, Wisconsin, and Falmouth, Michigan. As a young man, Gene served in the Army on active duty and in the reserves. Following his military service, Gene studied at Calvin College and did his graduate work in History and Latin American Studies at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University. While at Calvin, Gene met and courted fellow student Helen Petter, and the two wed on June 14, 1958, launching a steadfast 62-year marriage.

A master teacher, Gene had a lifelong commitment to Christian education, initially at West Side Christian School, Holland, Michigan; then Central Wisconsin Christian High School, Waupun, Wisconsin; Eastern Christian High School, North Haledon, New Jersey; Dordt Collège, Sioux Center, Iowa; and in the last decades of his career, Holland Christian Middle School. Throughout he was beloved by faculty and students alike. With his interest in plants, conservation and the environment, he served as a botanist and naturalist for the City of Holland's Windmill Island and for a number of years in the Hope College greenhouses. Known for his advocacy for social justice and environmentalism, Gene held that God’s Kingdom is alive and evident on earth as well as in heaven. Gene's teaching and service were inspired by his faith and hope in the coming of shalom: the peace, harmony and wholeness God intended for all of his creation.

While in Holland, Gene also served as director of the Hope College Upward Bound Program, providing tutoring, counseling and mentoring for students aspiring to attend college. With a deep compassion for the hurting, lonely, and troubled, Gene rarely passed a homeless person without stopping to offer a word of encouragement along with some food or money. Gene was an active member of various church congregations over the years, attending 14th Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland during the latter years of life. Well-known for his love of choral music, Gene put his heart into directing church choirs. He sang regularly in the Holland Community Chorale and Evergreen Chorale, and frequently performed as a tenor soloist.

In summer and holiday breaks, Gene painted houses, tended his beloved gardens, cottaged near Interlochen with lifelong friends, and spent quality time “up north” at the family cabin. Gene loved the intimacy of small boats -- canoeing the Clam River, sailing on Lake Macatawa, or water skiing on Long Lake.

Above all, Gene loved and cherished family, and together with Helen he went to great lengths to provide opportunities for family time and togetherness. There is nothing Gene loved more than quietly experiencing and sharing the natural world with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. He is also remembered fondly for his loving visits to aunts, uncles, and distant relatives, and for the time spent with nephews, nieces and their children. He loved so many and so loyally. We will miss him profoundly. But we live in the comfort and trust that he has passed on into the arms of his Lord.

Gene’s Memorial Service will be held online via Zoom on 24 October 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. Please join the Westra family for the service at the Eugene Westra Memorial Service - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86151649530 - on your computer, tablet or smartphone. If you are unable to connect via the provided link, then please go to zoom.us/join and enter the Meeting ID 861 5164 9530 when prompted. Please download the Zoom app if you haven’t done so already (it’s free).
Visitors are invited to join the Zoom meeting before the service, between 2:30 and 3:00 pm. Those attendees wishing to listen to the service by telephone can do so by calling (312) 626-6799 and entering the Meeting ID 861 5164 9530. The service will last for approximately 45 minutes, followed by time for live remarks from friends and loved ones.
To request a calendar invitation and email reminders for the service, please send your name and email to eugenewestramemorial@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Resonate Global Mission. You may also wish to plant a tree in Gene’s memory at the Tribute Center Store.

The Westra family welcomes condolences, as well as memories of Gene, on the Memory Wall of this webpage.
Read Less

Sign Up for Notifications

Receive notifications about information and event scheduling for Eugene

Service Details

Gene’s Memorial Service will be held online via Zoom on 24 October 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. Please join the Westra family for the service at the Eugene Westra Memorial Service - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86151649530 - on your computer, tablet or smartphone. If you are unable to connect via the provided link, then please go to zoom.us/join and enter the Meeting ID 861 5164 9530 when prompted. Please download the Zoom app if you haven’t done so already (it’s free). Visitors are invited to join the Zoom meeting before the service, between 2:30 and 3:00 pm. Those attendees wishing to listen to the service by telephone can do so by calling (312) 626-6799 and entering the Meeting ID 861 5164 9530. The service will last for approximately 45 minutes, followed by time for live remarks from friends and loved ones. To request a calendar invitation and email reminders for the service, please send your name and email to eugenewestramemorial@gmail.com.

Condolences

We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Eugene here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

No video recorded.

Private Condolence
Plant a Tree in Memory of Eugene
0 trees have been planted in memory of Eugene Dewey Westra
CD

Cindi veldheer deyoung

Posted at 09:12am
Gene was a treasure, as is his whole family. I knew Mr. Westra as the dad of my friend and classmate, Rachel. And I benefitted from a trip to the family cabin, which left a tremendous impact on me as a place of natural retreat and gracious space with the family. I knew him as my 8th grade teacher, who seemed so enthusiastic about... everything!
I knew Mr. Westra as a colleague of my mom’s in the Holland Chorale. And we knew Gene from sharing 14 years (or so) in a book group, among other experiences.
Gene represents what John Calvin would call a humanist, one who was well-rounded in “letters” and science, who cared for learning and nature, people and animals and creation. Gene’s deep sense of care for all represented such a large capacity; his genuine faith demonstrated such integrity. His humor and grace, interest in others, curiosity, and compassion are a model for all of us. Westra family, we are grieved at knowing of his death and your sadness in his absence. We are so grateful for his life, work, witness, and character. We entrust him to the creator, who formed us from the dust of the earth, and now he joins the surroundings of angels and saints in the heavenly chorus. Peace and love be with you all.
RO

Ruth Lubbers Otten

Posted at 02:19pm
I was a student in Mr. Westra's 5th grade class at Westside Christian School. I have always said he was my favorite teacher!! He made learning fun in many ways. One of those times was he invited us to his home on Lake Macatawa in Holland for book club. I always said, when I get married, I want him to sing at my wedding. Well guess what? He did and I will never forget! Whenever we would see each other throughout the years, he always remembered me, I'm so sorry for your loss, and pray God will give you His peace. Sincerely, Ruth Lubbers Otten
JB

Jim Beltman

Posted at 03:21pm
Our sincere sympathy to your family. Gene was a great encourager to us following Jim's stroke ten years ago. Whenever we would see him he greeted us with "His mercies are new every morning." We are still encouraged by those scripture promises today and so grateful for the love and care Gene extended to us.
May Jesus keep you in His tender care.
-Jim and Gayle Beltman
LZ

Lannette Zylman

Posted at 11:20am
I was a student of "Mr. Westra" at Holland Christian, and a classmate of Rachel. As an adult, we were part of the Holland Chorale for a time, and my dad and Gene shared a love of orchids and for a time tended the Hope College biology department's greenhouse. The words others have used "buoyant spirit, kindness and love" are so fitting. My sympathies to Rachel and the rest of the Westra family.

Lannette Zylman
CD

Cherie Dykstra

Posted at 08:53pm
Dear Westra family,
I have so many fond memories of all of you! Reflecting on my “Holland years”, your family and the friendship we shared are treasured. Mr. Westra was a wonderful, kind, genuine and most interesting individual. I am so sorry for your loss, but rejoice that he now is in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Prayers and love covering you all!
Cory and Cherie Dykstra (Steenstra)
Loading...

Photos & Videos

Photo Album

Upload up to 10 images at a time, max 8MB each
Share by: