Saturday, October 16, 2021
11:00 AM EDT
East Leonard Christian Reformed Church
1027 Leonard St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Wycliffe Bible Translators
PO Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862
PO Box 141312
Grand Rapids, MI 49514
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A man of prayer, Rev. Harvey Arlen Ouwinga, lived a life rich in faith, family, and service. Deeply contented and peaceful, Harvey was a man who embodied the principles of his faith. He was a living example of unwavering faith, unconditional love, and the sacredness of life. Harvey welcomed each day as a gift and reflected God’s love and acceptance in every moment of his life. A devoted servant of the Lord, husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Harvey proved a powerful inspiration for all who knew him.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With an innate drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Marion, Michigan, as John and Sarah (Fredricks) Ouwinga welcomed their son Harvey to their family on March 19, 1932.
As a child of potato farmers in Osceola County, Harvey’s childhood centered on faith, family, and hard work. The middle of the three Ouwinga children, Harvey and his siblings, Sidney and Julia, always had a lot to do on the farm. While not helping tend the farm, he attended Christian school, loved playing baseball, and earned the nickname “Chub” while playing catcher.
After graduating from Northern Michigan Christian High, in 1950, Harvey continued his education at Calvin College. After completing his studies at the college, he pursued his Masters of Divinity from Calvin Seminary. While in seminary school, Harvey had the good fortune of marrying his beloved, Ardythe Tacoma, on September 3, 1954. The couple met in high school. Quite smitten with Ardythe, Harvey courted her with great affection and determination. After exchanging their marriage vows at Prosper CRC in Falmouth, Michigan, they celebrated with a reception at the local grade school and honeymooned at Niagara Falls.
Though Harvey received a deferment from the draft during his years of study, as soon as he graduated, he signed up and was called to serve in the U.S. Army, where he attended Chaplain school. After Chaplain school, Harvey was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, during the Cuban Missle Crisis. In time, Harvey and Ardythe were blessed with four children, who remained stateside while Harvey was stationed in Korea for 13 months. He then returned to the states and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, for a couple of years before he and his family moved to Germany for three years. In 1969, after serving as an Army chaplain for 15 years, Harvey applied for discharge but remained a weekend warrior for six more years until retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Harvey’s ministry was his call and passion. During his 40-year pastoral ministry, he and Ardythe and their family served churches in Wisconsin, Washington, West Michigan, and Florida, as well as two years for Mission India. After “retiring,” Harvey and Ardythe served 21 Interim ministries in 21 different states. A faithful Man of God and Servant to the Lord, Harvey was completely devoted to his flock. He was a much-loved pastor who made himself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He never hesitated to give of his time and talents and was an unwavering source of comfort and care for all who were blessed to know him.
In his leisure time, Harvey enjoyed watching football, baseball, and golf. Rarely one to be still, Harvey believed in the importance of being physically active. With a bit of impatience, he ate fast, walked fast, and was a natural Do-It-Yourselfer who could fix anything. He always had a project going and particularly enjoyed working on cars, his or others’. Extremely good and willing with his hands, he could fix or build anything. Mondays were his days off, and he often spent them golfing. He also enjoyed playing in Church golf leagues.
Without a doubt, the world feels less certain in the absence of Harvey’s steadfast presence. May we find comfort in the honor of carrying his faith-filled legacy forward. In each moment we welcome a stranger as a friend, choose faith over fear, hope over despair, and service over selfishness, we celebrate the many ways Harvey gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Rev. Harvey Ouwinga of Grand Rapids, MI, age 89, went home to be with his Lord, October 13, 2021. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Sidney Ouwinga. Harvey is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ardythe; children, Philip (Sandy) Ouwinga of Caledonia, Ross (Wendy) Ouwinga of Grand Rapids, Laura Ouwinga of Sarasota, FL, Paul (Joanne) Ouwinga of Caledonia; 14 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his sister, Julia VanderHeide; in-laws, Jean Tacoma, Henry and Dorothy Schierbeek, Lydia Tacoma, Marilyn Ouwinga; and many nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank the staff at Edison Christian Health Center for their compassionate care. A funeral service will be held Saturday, October 16, 2021, at 11 AM at East Leonard Christian Reformed Church, 1027 E. Leonard St. NE. Friends may visit with family Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Avenue NE. Interment will be in Hillside Cemetery, Highland Township. Memorials may be made to Mission India or Wycliffe Bible Translators.