Charles Bigelow ’70

Rev. Charles “Chuck” Bigelow, age 75, died surrounded by his family on Thursday, March 9, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was a faithful servant of God who brought warmth, kindness, and humor to so many throughout his life.

He spoke often of an idyllic childhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was raised in a loving family and worked at a family grocery store. Frequent trips to nearby beaches nurtured a lifetime love of Lake Michigan.

Chuck graduated from Hope College, and later the New Brunswick and Western Theological Seminaries. He began a career in ministry which started at First Reformed Church in Little Falls, New Jersey, where he raised his family alongside Deborah, his wife. His ministry later continued at Montville Reformed Church in Montville, New Jersey.

He retired in 2015, and moved with Deborah to Michigan to be closer to his six beloved grandchildren. But in 2018, Chuck said that God, “with his sense of humor,” called him to un-retire and start a ministry at St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ in Dexter, where he served until his death.

Chuck brought joy to family, friends and strangers alike. He, Deborah and their children, Peter and Rachel, cherished their everyday life and laughter together. Chuck doted on his grandchildren, and was a fixture at their school performances and athletic events. He loved animals, and could often be seen walking his Newfoundlands, Nellie and Muffin.

He is survived by his loving wife, Deborah (nee Yoch) of 51 years; his children, Peter Bigelow of Dexter, Michigan, and Rachel ’01 Steen of Holland, Michigan, and their spouses, Ericka Bigelow and Dan Steen, respectively.

Chuck will be greatly missed by his grandchildren: Nathan, Jill and Luke Steen, and Eliza, Colin, and Jack Bigelow.

He was the brother of Jackie ’73 Reimink and Tom ’80 Bigelow, and is further mourned by in-laws Randy and Karen Yoch, and Steve Reimink, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends and congregants, who all remember his thoughtful and gentle nature.

Chuck was predeceased by his parents, Jack and Marjorie Bigelow.

Chuck received extraordinary care and compassion at the University of Michigan Hospital. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to support the hospital’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center Patient & Family Centered Care Fund at the University of Michigan.

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