John M. Kooreman Tribute and Meditation

John M. Kooreman,

age 82, of Hawthorne went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday, April 25, 2010. John served his country proudly at the end of WWII in the Army Air Corps. John’s main passions were his family, his ministry of faithfully encouraging others through notes and greeting cards, and serving God in many different capacities at his Church. John served in Midland Park Christian Reformed Church for many years as Adult Sunday School Teacher, Deacon, Elder, Prayer Leader and Stephen’s Ministry Leader. Most recently, John was a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in North Haledon.

John was a real estate broker at Genesis Realtors in Midland Park. Before joining Genesis Realtors, John was broker/owner of Century 21 Franklee Realty in Midland Park. For many years, John was the owner of Johnny & Norm’s Drive-In Restaurant in Hawthorne.

John was one of the original incorporators of Atlantic Stewardship Bank as well as a faithful member of the Christian Businessmen’s Association and The Gideons International.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Eleanor, his children, Rev. Jack Kooreman and his wife Eileen of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Debbie Van Buiten and her husband Russell of North Haledon, Dr. Alan Kooreman and his wife Dr. Dawn DiMuro of Midland Park and Sharon Visbeen and her husband Kenneth of Hawthorne, and his 12 dear grandchildren; John and Justin Kooreman, John, Jason, Jamie Lynn, Julie and Jayna Van Buiten, Gabriel Kooreman, Michael, Kendra, Benjamin and Hannah Visbeen. He is also survived by his brother Albert and his wife Bette of Whiting, NJ.

Funeral Services Thursday 10:00 am at Covenant Christian Reformed Church, 400 North Haledon Ave., North Haledon. Interment George Washington Memorial Park, Paramus. The family will receive family and friends Wednesday 2-4 & 7-9 pm at Vander Plaat-Vermeulen Memorial Home, 530 High Mountain Road, Franklin Lakes. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat, 700 Mountain Ave., Wyckoff, NJ 07481.

To view a recording of the Meditation that I did for his funeral, go to:

http://vimeo.com/20678264

The following is a letter I wrote to my Dad on Father’s Day 2009 after learning that surgery to replace his heart valve had been unsuccessful:

Father’s Day – June 21, 2009

Dear Dad,

I realized that I very rarely (if ever) write to you. You have been so faithful in writing to me and to so many others, providing encouragement and inspiration. Please forgive me for not being more faithful in my encouraging of you. I love you so very much. I am sorry that I did not tell you that often enough.

I don’t know if I have ever felt as sad as I have this week. We are all now facing the thought that you will not be with us forever. Of course, we already knew that was true but today there is a new power and reality to it. I can only imagine how sad and disappointed you must be. I pray that God will be so real to you now and that you will experience joy in his presence and power in his grace and love for you. I pray that you continue to be an example to us of a godly man, trusting in his Savior.

I just wanted you to know how much you mean to me. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” As children transition from childhood into adulthood, we honor our fathers in our tribute and in care, rather than in obedience. I want to say what is on my heart today as a tribute to you because I cannot be a significant part of the care that my sisters and brother will be for you and for mom in the months ahead.

One of the hardest decisions of my life was the decision to leave NJ with my family. I know that my move to Michigan caused you pain. You had your whole family together with you. I took that blessing away from you. I feel badly about that. I grieved the personal losses that I experienced as a result of that move. I might have acted most of the time as if it was not a big deal but it was. The biggest part of the loss for me was losing my day to day conversations with you and with mom and becoming disconnected from my brother and my sisters. You taught us the importance of family. You told us often about covenant and said, “God works through families.”

That is true for me. I want you to know that I am a Christian because of you and because of the example you have been to me. You have always been very honest about your faith. Looking back on my life, I don’t have a testimony that begins with me in the gutter and from which I was saved. I honestly don’t recall a time in my life in which I felt I was not a Christian. I always believed in Jesus. That reality can only be explained by the witness to the reality of God that you and mom have been to us. I think you taught us in words and by example that there is a great God in heaven who knows us and loves us and that are to love him and live for him.

I saw you take some very hard knocks and come back strong, unmoved and not shaken. I remember of course the difficult health issues, including the TIAs and blindness. I remember financial hardships. I remember the restaurant struggling through a recession in the 70s and you losing out on significant money that was a part of your sale of Franklee Reality. You trusted God. I think you showed us that God was in control and that he makes things turn out for good. I don’t always like this verse. It is very hard to use when people are suffering. It sounds too spiritual and not caring enough but you showed us that you really believed that “God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” I will always be thankful that I saw the truth of that verse lived out in your life. You showed us that God can be trusted.

I loved how you were fun to be around and how you loved life. You have enjoyed an amazing life. You seemed to be very happy and joyful, most of the time. You did some incredibly funny things in your life. I hope you can look back on them and laugh, even today. Your friendship with Jerry Williams must have been a blast. It is good to have some crazy friends. You had many many friends that you deeply connected with and who have remained your friends throughout your entire life. That is amazing. I wish that I could say the same about myself.

I think of the plague in Grandmas kitchen in Rae Ave. I remember it from my childhood. “Only one life ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” I think that the truth of that was seen in your life. Although you were a lot of fun, you never failed to witness to your faith and took very seriously the responsibility we have to lead people to Christ. I think you are a gifted evangelist. You certainly could have been a preacher. (No doubt better than me.) When we all get to heaven, you will be thanked by more people than you would ever have dared believe. Your influence in this life is vast.

I loved how you were willing to challenge the status quo in Midland Park church. Your faith was not about Christianity as a negative religion. It was not about, “You don’t do this and you can’t do that. You don’t go here and you can’t go there.” You lived out the much more positive message that we are doers of the word and not just hearers. You believed in the spiritual realm and in the supernatural. You believed in the new birth. These were not the norm at Midland Park CRC. You did not see being a Christian as just a decision or something that we were just born into. You saw it as the work of the Holy Spirit and saw living it as a lifelong pursuit.

You believed in prayer. I still am amazed at the discipline in your own devotional life. We prayed together at every meal as a family. You were a student of scripture. The Bible was important to you. You lived it and taught it, to your family and to everyone else. Because of the spiritual and devotional life that you lived, you were tied into a reality of God that I don’t yet enjoy. Your life was hid in Christ. You truly believe that nothing is impossible but with God all things are possible. You are an example to us of that reality.

Your relationship with your wife is a little more complicated, isn’t it? We know this: You loved her and took care of her. You did not allow anything bad to be said about her. You taught us the debt that we have to our mother. You emphasized over and over that no one loves me like she does. You know that is true for yourself as well. She loves you. No one loves like she does. She gave her life and her heart to you forever. You gave yours to her. What else need be said? I thank God for your Christ centered life together.

You have lived out the life that God called you to live. It was an adventure. It was an exciting life. It was an authentic Christian life. You were who God made you to be and not somebody else.

If the truth is that the time of your departure is near, I know that you can say that you have fought the good fight and completed your race. You have kept the faith. The victor’s crown of righteousness is waiting for you. You will hear the Lord Jesus say, “Well done.”

I love you dad! Thank you for everything you have been to me.

With love and admiration, your first born son (the birthright kid),

_______________________

Dear God,

I thank you heavenly Father for my earthly father. What a legacy he has left to me and my children and to his grandchildren. I pray that you will help me live as he taught me. Thank you for the privilege and blessing of being his son. Be close to him now. May he know your presence as never before.

In Jesus Christ. Amen.


3 Responses to “John M. Kooreman Tribute and Meditation”

  1. Jack – what a BEAUTIFUL obituary and letter to your dad. I’m so sorry for your loss..my dad has been really upset about this..your family are in my thoughts.

  2. Dear Jack,
    What a beautiful tribute to your dad – it’s true honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land and he was true to his values-God, family, country.

    Uncle Al is very sad about your dad’s passing and yet he knows he’ll see him again – won’t we all who love Jesus – Praise God!

    Love,

    Aunt Bette & Uncle Al

  3. Jack,
    There is something very powerful when you can give a grateful testimony to your dad’s role in your life. To do before his passing will be a great gift that will continue to bless you in days of grief and rejoicing.
    Doug Haverkamp

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