Stanley A. Rock

  • Born: April 22, 1937
  • Died: August 3, 2019
  • Location: Holland, Michigan

Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423
Tel. (616) 392-2306

Tribute & Message From The Family

Having lived well with Parkinson's Disease for 34 years, Stan Rock, 82, died peacefully at Resthaven Care Center on August 3, 2019 with family gathered around him.

Stanley Arthur Rock was the first of six sons born to Stan and Helen (Slaybaugh) Rock in Pontiac, Michigan. Two half siblings were later born to Helen and Francis DeLongChamp.

After graduating from Walled Lake High School as valedictorian, Stan attended the University of Michigan, completing BA and MA degrees. During this time he became president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as well as president of U of M Council of Religious Organizations. Following graduation Stan joined the staff of InterVarsity, advising and coaching chapters throughout New England.

In 1963 Stan entered Western Theological Seminary earning his M.Div degree and was ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament of the Reformed Church in America.

During a brief time following graduation while serving as Assistant Secretary of Translations at the American Bible Society, Stan was commissioned as a Chaplain in the Naval Reserves serving 26 years and achieving the rank of Captain.

Stan served pastorates at the Blawenburg Reformed Church in New Jersey and the Collegiate Church (RCA) at Drake University, Des Moines, IA. During this time of campus ministry, he completed his Ed.D degree and developed a model for premarital and marital counseling using small group methodology.

In 1976 Stan was called to Western Seminary where he served as Florence M. Charavay Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling for 24 years. Stan wore many hats at the Seminary, served on a number of task forces and committees of the RCA and served on the Board of Trustees at Central College, Pella, IA.
Stan was an avid reader and a fierce competitor on the racquetball court. He enjoyed numerous friendships, traveling, Shakespeare at Stratford, and the yearly family Beach House time.

Stan is survived by his wife and care companion of 56 years, Nancy; daughters, Lisa (Jim Schulze), Amy (Greg) Conway, Julie; grandchildren, Terri and Jack Conway; brothers and sister, Don (Louise), Jim (Pat), Ed, Robert (Karen), Danny (Marie), Mary (Paul) Mandigo, Peter (Sheila) DeLongChamp; sister-in-law Bonnie (Martin) Price.

The family gratefully acknowledges the love and care given to Stan by the staff of the Day Center of Evergreen, Resthaven Care Center, and Hospice of Holland as well as the pastors and people of Hope Church.

A Memorial Service will be held Thursday, August 8, 11 a.m., at Hope Church, 77 W. 11th St., visitation at Hope Church on Wednesday, August 7 from 4-7 and one hour before the service.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be given to the above organizations, Western Seminary or a Parkinson's organization. The family is being served by Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home. To leave a condolence and more information, please visit


Condolence & Memory Journal

I became friends with Stan and Nancy, when he was leading the little group at Collegiate Church, in Des Moines, IA. The context, for me, was that of a gay man exploring church again, after staying away for ten years. For the church (from my perspective, in my memory now,) I represented one of the "others," and Stan was helping his parishioners grow into the Jesus experience of there not being any "others." It was a rich time for me that I will not forget.

Posted by Mark Benson - Santa Barbara, CA - Friend   January 01, 2020

Back in 1960, Stan knocked on my dorm room door at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. That knock was important in linking me up with several other students and a Christian professor and providing me with some Christian stability for those 4 years. I don't think I saw Stan more than 1 or two times, but his face and name have always stuck with me. I had occasion to think of him tonight and googled him. I am so sorry to read of his death. I knew he was an exceptional man, and his obituary dignifies that thought. He lived a God honoring life-I am grateful to have stepped into some of the light that he shed. My condolences for your loss.

Posted by Christopher Mace - Ellsworth, ME   October 22, 2019

Dear Nancy,
I'm glad that a friend sent Stan's obituary notice. It brought back memories of Stan in Boston and New England with InterVarsity, and looking forward to times when he crashed at my apartment. His joyful spirit was always encouraging. Over the years when I ran into his students they were always so appreciative of his counsel and care. His vocation lived out who he was and who he wanted to be.

Another seminary professor, who had helped me so much, was diagnosed with cancer in his 80's and gone in a few months. When we saw his widow in the summer, she said, "I miss him every day, and I wouldn't have him back for anything". It doesn't make sense but it does. Our warmest wishes to you and your girls.

In Christ, Tom Stark, Lansing, MI 8/26/19

Posted by Tom Stark - Lansing, MI - Friend   August 26, 2019

Nancy, I just saw the notice in the paper and am saddened for you and your family. We used to have fun meals at your home through the church. I have fond memories of our times together, Stan was a very fine man. He will be missed by many people. We hope your health is good. We are living in Holland once again to be near my children as we age. Our prayers are with you.

Posted by Marianne (Dave) Westrate- McBeth - Holland, MI - Friend   August 11, 2019

Love and prayers.My heart is sad with yours in your loss.

Posted by Gloria Zylstra - Zeeland, MI - Friend   August 08, 2019

Dear Nancy: So sorry for your loss. Will keep you in prayer.
SarahDinkelmann, Holland, Mi

Posted by Sarah Dinkelmann - Holland, MI - Coworker   August 08, 2019

So grateful to have learned from this warm and wise man when I was a long-ago student at WTS. So many of us were blessed by his gentle firmness as he taught us and showed us how to help and care for others. God's peace to all his family.

Posted by Carol Westphal - Nanuet, NY - Student   August 07, 2019

Stan believed in me at a time in my life when I had reason to doubt my usefulness in the Kingdom. He also invited me into a new chapter of my life where I learned to do theology from the ground up. In that and so many other ways he blessed my life as a colleague and a dear friend for whom I will always be grateful.

Posted by Stanley Hagemeyer - Fountain, MI - Friend   August 07, 2019

A kind and thoughtful gentleman, a true "Michigan Man". RIP Stan Rock. Go Blue!

Posted by Dave McGraw - Grandville, MI   August 07, 2019

As an older student at Western from 1985-87, I learned much about pastoral counseling from Stan. More importantly, I learned the definition of grace as I saw it lived out in his teaching and life. Stan played a major role in enabling me to be a pastor in the true sense of what that entails. I thank God for alllowing me to experience just a small part of Stan's life.

Posted by John Kapteyn - London, Ontario - Student   August 07, 2019

Stan was indeed a good friend and racquetball competitor. Although I haven't seen him for quite some time, his passing brings back many good memories. My condolences to his family, and to Stan, I have no doubt that now you are fully healed and dancing with Jesus!

Posted by Dan Vandenberg - West Olive, MI   August 06, 2019

Wishing you peace ... to heal your heart and bring you comfort. God Bless.

Posted by Kim and Mike Foster - Richland, MI   August 06, 2019

Dear Nancy, sending you love as you go through this difficult time. Keep the memories of all the wonderful times you shared with Stan in your heart. I will keep you in my prayers.

Posted by Margo Hakken Zeedyk - Holland, MI - Friend   August 05, 2019

In memory of Dr. Stanley Rock. From, Cousin Terrence Slaybaugh and wife Bonnie

Posted by Bonnie Slaybaugh - Bradenton, FL   August 05, 2019

I love you Uncle Stan. You were always so gracious and kind, patient and good. You represented exactly what Jesus would have been like if he was living today. Thank you for giving all the love you gave to everyone you ever met.

Posted by Laura Rock - Oak Park, MI   August 05, 2019

Stan's legacy will continue in the pastoral work of hundreds of RCA ministers. I always appreciated his motto about "hallowing our diminishments," which he not only taught but lived out.
I very much regret that I am not able to attend Stan's funeral. Mary and I will be travelling to Florida to care for our grandchildren while our son and daughter-in-law help to lead a retreat for Protestant pastors in Cuba.

Posted by Robert Van Voorst - Holland, MI - Coworker   August 05, 2019

Through your tears and in your sorrow, know that God holds you close.

Posted by Marilyn Hunter - East Grand Rapids, MI   August 05, 2019

Posted by Marilyn Hunter - East Grand Rapids, MI   August 05, 2019

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