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December 2012 Obituaries

Fred Bertsch '41 (10/10/12)

Rick Gumina '79 (10/22/12)

Alice Brower '23 Hoffs (10/31/12)

Thelma Kooiker '39 Leenhouts (10/14/12)

Russell Norden '49 (10/22/12)

Barry Van Koevering '59 (10/13/12)


Fred Bertsch ’41 of Palm City, Fla., died on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012.

He was born Oct. 8, 1920 and grew up in Holland, Mich., and moved to Stuart upon retirement. He graduated from Hope College in 1941 and entered the Navy as an ensign. Stationed at Pearl Harbor at the outbreak of war, he survived the attack and served almost three consecutive years of combat on the destroyer USS Case (DD-370) in the Western Pacific. After World War II, Capt. Bertsch attended flight school and was designated a naval aviator. He served 18 months flying combat Patrol missions over and around Korea from 1950 to 1952.

He transferred into the Naval Reserve in 1957 and returned to Holland, where he taught math at Holland High school and later was principal from 1964 to 1978. He was active in business, subdividing several properties along Lake Macatawa and engaged in several other entrepreneurial activities. He was a member of the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club, serving two terms as commodore. He also was a member of the Holland Rotary Club, serving a term as district governor.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Lorraine Timmer ’42 Bertsch; and brother, Charles Bertsch ’38.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy Bertsch; children, Fred (Cindy Marlink ’74) Bertsch ’74, Susan Bertsch Bobek, Martha Ann Bertsch and Mary Jo Bertsch ’78; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Rick Gumina ’79 of Fort Collins, Colo., died on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. He was 55.

Rick was born in Rochester, N.Y., and grew up in Webster, N.Y. He received his undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Hope College in 1979. He earned a secondary education certificate from CSU in 1991 and received his masters in statistics from Colorado State in 1998.

He had been an instructor in the Department of Statistics since 1997 and was a beloved teacher who genuinely cared about his students. In addition to being a well-liked and respected teacher, Rick was an active member of the Foothills Unitarian Church where he led the Partner Church Group raising money to provide youth scholarships in Romania.

Rick supported the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program and other humanitarian charities and devoted his time to helping others. He had a great enthusiasm for the outdoors, photography, music, and dogs and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, cooking traveling, doing home construction projects, and riding this bicycle.

Survivors include his wife, Judy Gumina; daughter, Jamie Gumina; Sons, Josh Gumina, Jeffrey “Ricky” Gumina and Joey Gumina; father Carl; mother, Rosemary; brothers, Rory (Janet) Gumina, Greg (Cilla) Gumina, Carmen (Sheri) Gumina and William “Buddy” (Andrea) Gumina; and two grandchildren.


Alice Brower ’23 Hoffs of Kalamazoo, Mich., died on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. She was 110.

Alice was born to Herman and Alice (Klomparens) Brower in Hamilton, Mich., on Feb. 25, 1902. She graduated Cum Laude in 1923 from Hope College and taught school in Wayland for two years.

During the summers, Alice worked in her father’s bank in Hamilton. Alice married Marinus A. Hoffs on March 31, 1927, and together they moved to Lake Odessa where he established his medical practice. After Dr. Hoffs’ death in 1971, Alice enjoyed traveling with her family, visiting the Holy Land, Greece, Turkey, Wales, England, Germany, Poland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Nassau.

Before moving to Kalamazoo, she served the Grand Rapids District Women’s Society, was involved her local church’s mission program and was the Central United Methodist Church organist for 45 years. Second to her love of music was her interest in books. She was also interested in the civic life of Lake Odessa, helping to organize a community ambulance service. In 1975, Alice moved to Friendship Village in Kalamazoo and served on various committees and was treasurer of the Resident council, as well as helping on the Music committee at Friendship Village.

Survivors include her daughter, Louise Peppel, Carole (Rev. Dr. Robert) Bos, and Jayne (Thomas) Cummings; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.


Thelma Kooiker ’39 Leenhouts of Holland, Mich., died on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. She was 95.

She lived a full life as a woman of deep faith, a devoted wife, loving mother and grandmother, caring teacher, gifted singer, and active tennis player.

Thelma was born in Holland in 1917 to John and Maude Kooiker. She grew up in Holland, attended Holland Public Schools, and graduated from Hope College in 1939. In 1942, she married Jack Leenhouts and they were married for nearly 70 years before his death in December 2011.

She worked for the Women’s Army Corps during World War II and was based at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. She and Jack, who served with the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C., returned to Holland in 1951. Thelma was a teacher in the Holland public Schools for over 20 years. She taught fourth and fifth grades at Washington Elementary School until she retired in 1982.

Upon her retirement, Thelma returned to her avid interest in tennis. At Hope College, as a senior in 1939, she won first place in doubles at the first women’s intercollegiate tennis tournament for Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) colleges. Thelma continued her winning ways as a member and captain of the Holland Tennis Club competitive traveling team that won a Michigan State Championship in 1990. In 1993, she won a silver medal in women’s doubles at the National Senior Olympics. She went on to win gold medals for women’s doubles and mixed doubles with Jack in the Michigan Senior Olympics at the age of 82.

Thelma was a lifelong member of Third Reformed Church, where she was a member of the Woman’s Guild and sang in the church choir for 50 years. She was a member of the Women’s Literary Club, the Holland Hospital Auxiliary, a poll worker for elections and a member of several bridge clubs. She and Jack were loyal supporters of Hope College and active alumni.

Survivors include her four children, Thelma (Tommye) Leenhouts ’66 of Washington, D.C., John (Roberta) Leenhouts ’69 of Spring Lake, James Leenhouts ’73 of Holland, Jane (Bruce) Patterson of Holland; eight grandchildren, Laura Leenhouts, and Andrew Leenhouts, Melanie and Mike VerDuin of Grand Haven, Amy and Brent Harrill of Sausalito, Calif., Lisa and Joe Leenhouts-Martin of Geneva, Switzerland, Angela Leenhouts of Chicago, Julie and Sarah Patterson of Holland; four great-grandchildren, Elliott Leenhouts, Peter, Lily and Amelia VerDuin; and sister, Gwendolyn Kooiker ’52 Van Eck of Holland.

Russell Norden ’49 of Holland, Mich., died on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. He was 86. He was born in Grand Rapids on Fe. 18, 1926, the son of William and Cora Norden/ He graduated from Lee High School in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy during World war II. Following his military service, he entered Hope College from which he graduated in 1949. He then studied at Western Theological Seminary and received his M.Div. in 1952 whereupon he was commissioned by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in America and began a year of Japanese language study at Yale University. In 1953, Russell and his wife, Eleanore, sailed to Japan where they spent 38 years as missionaries on the island of Kyushu and at Ferris Women’s College in Yokohama. They retired in 1991 and returned to Holland where Russell was calling pastor at First Reformed Church, and volunteered at the Joint Archives of Holland. He was a member of HASP (Hope Academy of Senior Professionals). He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Marshall Norden; sisters-in-law, Patricia Norden and Marion Mappes; and brothers-in-law, Leon Mappes and Robert Peterson. Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Eleanore Short ’51 Norden; son, Stephen (Jean Boven ’75) Norden ’74; daughters, Rebekah Norden ’76 (Keith ’76) Derrick, Martha Norden ’78, Sarah Norden ’78 (Robert ’81) Bast, and Mary Norden ’87 (Mark ’86) Kuiper; 11 grandchildren, including William Norden ’04 and Pieter Norden ’11; one great-grandson; and several nieces and nephews, including John (Nancy Riekse ’71) Norden ’71 and Loralee Norden ’75.


Barry Van Koevering '59 of Lansing, Mich., died on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. He was 79. Born and raised in Zeeland, Barry was a friendly but private man whose work and ideas have made a lasting difference to the world. After serving his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, Barry earned two degrees from the University of Michigan. His 40-year career as an engineer and inventor brought opportunities to lead projects related to military defense and exploration. He served as a lead engineer on several major telescope projects including the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, and helped develop technology that was used in the Persian Gulf War. Barry was a prodigious reader and deep thinker. Though he was partially immobilized by a stroke in 2005, he still found ways to be connected to new technologies and ideas. Those who knew and loved Barry will miss his smile, quick wit, and gentle spirit. His parents and older brother, George preceded him in death. Survivors include his siblings, Leola Oonk of Zeeland and David (Linda) Van Koevering of Eaton Rapids; as well as three children; four grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews