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Jerry Jonker

Obituary for Jerry Jonker

June 13, 1920 - February 25, 2019
Holland, Michigan | Age 98


Jerry Jonker of Holland passed away peacefully, February 25, 2019 at Appledorn Living Center after 98 years of a life well lived. Jerry was a devoted and loving husband. He was a proud and supportive father to his two sons, and a doting grandfather and great-grandfather of 14. But most of all, Jerry was a man of deep and unshakable faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jerry was predeceased by his wife, Delia, after 76 years of marriage. His parents, Rev. Peter and Minnie Jonker, and his in-laws John and Bertha Roels, also preceded him in death. So did his only brother, Peter III, and Peter's wife Vonnie; and his three sisters, Ann Wyngarden, Ruthie, who died as a youngster, and Nell VanderLeek, as well as Nell's husband, Joe. Other brother and sister-in-laws who pre-deceased Jerry were Paul and Jason Roels, and Jason=s wife Julia.
Jerry is survived by his children, James and Janice Jonker of Holland, and Robert and Nancy Jonker, of Grand Rapids. He is also survived by six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren: Barb Jonker and Hans Larsen (Max and Dale); Betsy and Craig Oosterhouse (James and John); Lisa and Doug Klamer (Hannah and Heidi); Laura and Andrew Plantenga (Keegan and Audrey); Jonathan Jonker and Benjamin Jonker. He is also survived by brother-in-law Dr. Milton Wyngarden, brother and sister-in-law Reverend Dr. Edwin and Bertie Roels; and sister-in-law Arloa Roels.
Jerry graduated from Holland Christian High School and Holland Business College. He attended Calvin College. His first job was in sales for the Holland Furnace Company, Holland's largest and best known employer at the time. Jerry decided he had to leave the security of that job after becoming convinced the company was engaging in unethical practices. He was right. It wasn't long before those practices were publicly exposed.
With a family and without a job, Jerry trusted the Lord would provide a path. That path led him to Gerry Haworth, who was just launching the beginnings of what grew into Haworth company, one of Holland's largest and best known employers today. Jerry spent a dozen satisfying years with the company, and remained lifelong friends with Gerry.
Jerry's next adventure was owning and running his own furniture company, Uniline. The company specialized in dormitory and hotel furnishings. It's largest customer, Holiday Inn, ultimately bought the company in 1968, when Jerry was just 48 years old. Jerry stayed with the business about another year to assist in the transition. It was the last paying job he ever had.
At age 49, Jerry began a 50-year adventure that became his true calling: volunteer service promoting the interests of the Back to God to Hour, a broadcast ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. He raised millions of dollars for the ministry, travelled the world to raise awareness of its work and formed bonds of friendships with faithful supporters of the program everywhere. The work was more than full time. The pay was exactly nothing. And that's the way he wanted it because he believed it enhanced his personal credibility and that of the ministry.
Jerry's commitment to a life of service included work on countless boards and commissions. He was a dedicated member and leader of Bethany Christian Reformed Church. The common theme of the churches, groups and agencies that benefitted from his efforts was their dedication to spreading the Good News that this world and the next belong to God, and that true satisfaction and peace depend on living that way right now, which is exactly what he did.

Jerry was well loved and will be deeply missed by his family and friends. We wish to thank the staff at Appledorn Living Center as well as Hospice of Holland for outstanding care of Jerry during these last 6 years. Most of all we thank our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His care and the sure promise of eternal life for Jerry.

Funeral services will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Bethany Christian Reformed Church, 11 E. 32nd St. Holland with Pastor Dan Walcott officiating. Burial will be in Pilgrim Home Cemetery. Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home, 315 E. 16th St. Holland. Memorial contributions may be given to Back to God Ministries International and Hospice of Holland.

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Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423
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