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William Muller (1902-1982) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: William Muller (1902-1982)

Historical Note:

William Muller was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, February 25, 1902.  He was the second child of Bertinus Jan and Sophie Charlotte (Vlieken). His sister, Maria Elizabeth, was born on February 9, 1919. The Muller family moved to Haarlem when William was six year of age and to Antwerpen five years later. They experienced the bombardment of that city during the years of World War 1. In 1916, the Muller family moved to the United States, where they settled in Hoboken, New Jersey. Eventually they made their home in Clifton, New Jersey, where they attended Hope Avenue Christian Reformed Church.

When William was a young man in the Netherlands, he attended Oranje-Nassau Institute in Antwerp through his ninth year of school. After the family moved to the United States, William began working for the Holland-America Line. Later he was active on Wall Street, where he picked up an interest in banking, business, and government. Dr Clarence Bouma, pastor of the Christian Reformed Church is Passaic, New Jersey, urged young William to enter the ministry. He responded by enrolling in the Preparatory School at Calvin in 1925, and continued at Calvin College in 1926, at the age of twenty-four. He received his B.A. in 1930, and graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary with a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1933. He continued his studies in the Hartford School of Missions, receiving a Th.M. degree in 1934. His intention was to enter a foreign field. Candidate Muller was ordained as a missionary-pastor to Carambel, Brazil on October 31, 1934, and send out by Midland Park Christian Reformed Church. Both Classis Holland and Hackensack, as well as his home church, Summer Street, Passaic, promised him financial support.

Rev. William Muller began his work in Brazil in January 1935. The field was then under the auspices of the South American-Ceylon Committee of the Christian Reformed Church. The committee’s task was to give assistance to needy Reformed Churches. Muller became a pastor-on-loan to Brazil.

Muller’s ministry from 1935-1970 covered settlements in Carambie, Castrolanda, and Aropoti. There were also periods of time when he ministered to scattered groups of Netherlanders in other areas of Brazil. During his ministry, he also functioned as counselor and participant in fields of education, business, and government. His ministry was one of the Word and deeds. This is revealed in the position as Consul of the Netherlands in the Start of Parana. He was also a member of the Immigratie Commissie and of the Coup. Central de Imigracao e Colonizacao. Toward the end of his ministry, he also served as General Director of the Institute Christao and as Project Manager of Colegio Agricola.

William Muller was knighted by the Dutch Government, and received the Royal Order of the Orange. When Prince Bernard visited the Dutch Colonies of Brazil in 1959, Muller received the Order of Offiicer of Orange. He was also given the silver Oliviere Van Noort medallion in Hague on April 19, 1963. On the Fiftieth Anniversary of Brazil, the President of Brazil presented Rev. William Muller the Order of the Southern Cross for services rendered to his country. A “Pastor Muller Foundation” was established in 1960 by the settlements of Carambie and Casstroland on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Muller’s ministry in Brazil.

Toward the end of his ministry, and into the years of his retirement, Muller maintained active interest and participation in Christian Radio Ministry and local mission work. Dr Joel Nederhood, a Back to God Hour minister, observed that Rev. William Muller’s activities were decisive in introducing the Reformed Message to Brazil in the Portuguese language.

William Muller passed away Sunday, June 20, 1982.

We are deeply appreciative on the material presented by Mrs. Charlotte Muller, nee Sisco, to Heritage Hall in 1983. Mrs. William Muller was also knighted in 1959. She was honored by the Netherlands Red Cross with a medallion for the work done during the war when she ministered to the Dutch people in Brazil.

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