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Van Halsema, Emo Folkert Johan (1890-1964) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Van Halsema, Emo Folkert Johan (1890-1964)

Historical Note:

Son of Rev. Gerard Van Halsema, Emo Folkert Johan Van Halsema was born in Kampen, Overijsel, Netherlands on December 2, 1890. In 1909, at the age of 18, Van Halsema travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. When he arrived, Van Halsema began to work in a shirt factory in Paterson, New Jersey. Shortly afterwards, he was drafted into teaching at Christian schools. He was eventually persuaded to become the principal-teacher in Lucas, Michigan. While teaching, he met his bride-to-be, Nellie Lucas, who was the other teacher in the two-room school.

In 1918 Van Halsema entered Calvin Theological Seminary, and by 1921 he earned his B.D. His first call to service came from East Paris, MI, where he served until 1925. His other charges include: Fuller Av. Grand Rapids, MI (1925-30); Northside, Passaic, NJ (1930-48); and lastly First, Hudsonville, MI (1948-55). During this time two other important honors where bestowed upon Rev. Van Halsema. First he earned his Th.M. from Union Theological Seminary in 1933. Second, he became the co-editor of De Wachter in 1934 and editor in 1948. He remained with De Wachter for thirty years.

In 1955 Rev. Van Halsema joined Calvin College's faculty as lecturer in modern languages. Rev. Van Halsema retired in 1961. During Rev. Van Halsema's career, he has served as a delegate to the synod eight times. He was elected clerk of the Frist Reformed Ecumenical Synod at Grand Rapids in 1946. He also was a member of the United States committee of the World Evangelical Fellowship. Emo Folkert Johan Van Halsema passed away on March 9, 1964. He suffered a stroke and passed away at Butterworth Hospital. He was survived by his wife, Nellie, their three sons, and 26 grandchildren.

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