posted January 18, 2003

Longtime Hope Trustee Max Boersma Dies

Max D. Boersma, 78, died Friday, Jan. 17, 2003, atHolland Community Hospital after becoming ill while playing tennis at the DeWittTennis Center at Hope College.

Mr. Boersma was a longtime community and church leader in WesternMichigan. He served in a leadership role at Hope College through its Board ofTrustees for more than 20 years.

"Max Boersma was unsurpassed in his affection for Hope College. We have lost a great champion for the mission of the college," said President James E. Bultman. "His was a life well lived and that life made a difference for good. Heaven is brighter today because of Max's homecoming to be with his Lord and Savior; earth is dimmer because of his absence from us."

Mr. Boersma joined the college's Board of Trustees in 1981 and was justrecently appointed to his seventh term. He was secretary of the Board of Trustees from 1982-2000. He had also been active in the Michigan Colleges Foundation.

Mr. Boersma co-chaired two of the college's capital campaigns, both of whichexceeded their fund-raising goals: the "Campaign for Hope," which concluded in1987, and "Hope in the Future," which concluded in 1994. He was also active in the college's current capital campaign, "Legacies: A Vision of Hope."

In conjunction with the "Hope in the Future" campaign, he and his wife Connie, who survives him and is a member of the college's Class of 1949, created an endowment, the "Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel," in support of the campus ministries program.

A member of the Hope College class of 1946, he was president of the college's Alumni Association from 1957 to 1959. He and Connie received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Hope in 1978. Friends and colleagues also established the "Max and Connie Boersma Scholarship Fund" at Hope in their honor.

He and Connie had three children, all of whom attended Hope: William '75,Elizabeth '77 Jasperse and Paul '82. He is also survived by nine grandchildren.

Mr. Boersma was born October 3, 1924 in Omaha, Neb. and was raised inHolland, Mich. He served in the U.S. Infantry in World War II.

He completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan, from whichhe also held an M.B.A. He retired in 1992 as executive vice president with MazdaGreat Lakes of Grand Rapids, Mich., and had been with the company for 31 years.

The Boersmas were longtime residents of Grand Rapids and returned to live inHolland in their retirement. In retirement, the Boersmas picked a home close to the Hope College campus. "I always said I'd like to retire halfway between the football field and the library -- and that's not too far off that," he said.

The Boersmas would frequently be seen taking their morning walk through theHope campus. They rarely missed a campus activity and were regular attendees atmany college functions, including the chapel services. His passion was for athletics, both at Hope and those of his children and later the grandchildren. The Boersma missed very few Hope football or basketball games, both home and away.

He supported public education for many years as an active members of theGrand Rapids board of education, serving as president. During his tenure he wasviewed as a strong advocate for race relations and reconciliation. The Boersmasserved as foster parents through the juvenile court system and helped initiate a Big Brother program in Grand Rapids.

In Grand Rapids, the Boersmas were active members of Central ReformedChurch. In Holland, they have been members of Christ Memorial Church.

Throughout his lifetime Mr. Boersma and wife Connie gave generously of theirtime and resources to a variety of causes, including Hope College, Western Theological Seminary, the Reformed Church in America, Camp Geneva, Young Life, Youth for Christ, Heartside Ministries, Grand Rapids Arts Council, Bethany Christian Services and the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Visitation will be Monday, Jan. 20 at the Mulder Funeral Chapel, 188 West32nd St., Holland, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. There will be a private funeral service for family.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. at Dimnent Memorial Chapel on the campus of Hope College (corner of 12th St. and College Ave.). Areception will follow at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center on the campus of Hope College.

Memorials may be given to the Max and Connie Boersma Scholarship Fund at Hope College.