Jantina Holleman of Holland, Mich., who was a member of the Hope music faculty for 41 years until retiring in 1987, died on Friday, Feb. 24. She was 91.
She joined the faculty in 1946, when the department was located in Walsh Hall, a converted Holland residence, on Ninth Street. During her years at the college she helped shape the music-education curriculum, creating a church music curriculum, beginning a choral conducting course, and founding and managing the music-education curriculum library. She also founded the College Chorus in 1952 and helped re-shape the college’s Introduction to Music course to make it more accessible to the overall student body. In addition, she performed regularly in faculty recitals and concerts at Hope throughout her tenure, and was often a featured recitalist in the Holland community as well.
In 1951, with colleague Dr. Anthony Kooiker, who died in October 2007, she helped reorganize the college’s Christmas Vespers program, which had started in 1941, into the form in which it continues today as one of Hope’s most beloved and popular traditional events. Interest in the event is so high that the college has scheduled four services each year for several years, regularly drawing a capacity audience to Dimnent Memorial Chapel for each.
She was born on July 22, 1920, in Springfield, S.D., to James and Jantina Cornelia Prins Alingh Holleman. She attended Kirkwood Country School and graduated from Springfield High School in 1937. She attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, during 1937-38, receiving her teaching diploma from Southern State College in Springfield, S.D., in 1939. She subsequently taught first and second grade in Reliance, S.D., and Avon, S.D.
She returned to school and completed her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and music at Central College in Pella, Iowa, in 1943. She then taught music at Sioux Center High School in Iowa, also teaching music at the elementary level and high-school history to help address staffing shortages during the war years.
In 1945, she attended Columbia University in New York City, where she received her master’s degree in music/piano performance in 1946. She was recruited to join the Hope faculty by President Dr. Irwin Lubbers, who had been Central College’s president when she was a student there.
In addition to her teaching and performing while at Hope, she was involved in professional associations such as the International Society of Music Education and the Michigan Music Teachers Association, the latter of which she served as chair of collegiate auditions. She conducted additional studies in music at Amsterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands, and also during a sabbatical studied music education in Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands and England.
She was a member of Third Reformed Church in Holland, and was the first woman to serve the congregation as an elder. She was also active in the American Association of University Women, attending state and national meetings.
Survivors include her twin brother, James William Holleman, and his wife, Janine, of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; her nieces and nephew, Catherine Branch of Providence, R.I., Francoise Degnan of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., and James Alan Holleman of Jackson, Mich.; and a grand-nephew and –niece, Kellen and Janey Degnan, also of Grosse Pointe Park.
Memorial contributions may be given to Hope for The Jantina Holleman Early Childhood Music Education Fund.
A memorial service in her honor will be held at a later date. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home.