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Elbert (Eeltje) Kooistra (1891-1995) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Elbert (Eeltje) Kooistra (1891-1995)

Historical Note:

Elbert (Eeltje) Kooistra was born in Tzummarum, Friesland, the Netherlands on February 14, 1891. At the age of 2, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Doon, Iowa. Gifted orator, Kooistra grew up with the intention of becoming an auctioneer, his father thought otherwise. Kooistra’s father encouraged him to pursue a career in ministry. Kooistra enrolled at Calvin College and Seminary, graduating in 1921.

After graduation, he served the congregation of Austinville, Iowa from 1921 to 1926. His active ministry also included the following charges: Bethany, South Holland, Illinois (1926-1930); Midland Park, New Jersey (1930-1941); Eastern Home Missions Board (1941-1944); Oak Park, Illinois (1944-1952); Fruitland, Ontario (1952-1956); Newton, New Jersey (1956-1960). Known for his good humor and practical sermons, he really connected with every day people. He even was able to broadcast some of his sermons on the radio. He retired in 1960.  He resided in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during his retirement years.  He described his ministry in a speech on March 16, 1983 as “a blessed ministry from 1921 until 1983.” Kooistra also found time to write articles for The Banner and De Watcher. He was a frequent delegate to the synod as well as served on a number of boards.

Elbert Kooistra died in 1995 at the age of 104. Kooistra’s first wife, Grace Koning preceded him in death after 49 years of marriage. Kooistra was remarried to Rose De Wit, and she preceded him in death as well.

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