Dennis De Witt ’63

Rev. Dennis J. DeWitt passed away on April 6 surrounded by his loving family and welcomed into the loving arms of Jesus.

Dennis was born on August 29, 1941 in Muskegon Heights to Marvin and Martha DeWitt. He attended Muskegon Jr. College and transferred to Hope College. There he sang in Chapel Choir and pursued Education as a vocation. He married Janna South and lived in Holland while Dennis completed his senior year.

In the fall of 1963 Dennis began his career as a Spanish teacher at the new West Ottawa High School. He was a deeply revered educator, and many former students celebrate his teaching. He enjoyed making tacos for the Spanish Club and sponsoring student trips to Mexico and Spain.

Following the death of Janna in 1970, He continued teaching and caring for Mark, Jim, Karin, and Mary. In 1971 he married Mary Kuiper ’63 and ushered her children Marsha, Barb, and Peter into the blended family.

In 1974, Dennis earned a Masters of Arts from the University of Michigan and became a school social worker for West Ottawa and Holland Christian Schools. In the mid 1990s he studied at Western Theological Seminary. In 1996 he was called to ministry at Community Church of Douglas where he served for 20 years. There, he converged his gifts of Spanish, social work, and service and became Pastor of Congregational Care. This was a highlight of his life and career as he cared so lovingly for many parishioners.

Additionally, Dennis was an accomplished stained-glass artist and he helped to form the Black River Gallery on River Avenue. His works included windows, lamps, nativity scenes, blasted frosted glass, and commissioned works.

Dennis and Mary would have celebrated 52 years of marriage on April 30. He is survived by children Marsha (Jeff), Mark ’87 (Dawn ’92), Jim ’88 (Kathy ’87), Barb (Eric), Karin, Peter (Laura) and Mary (Jim) along with 19 grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Also surviving include brother Tom (Becky) and brother-in-law Paul (Louise). His brother Larry (Ruth) is predeceased. His legacy lives on with his love and care for family and friends.

Return to Current In Memoriam