Rev. Dr. Chester Droog ’47
Rev. Dr. Chester Droog ’47, age 94, went home to his eternal rest on Feb. 5, 2016.
Chet was a resident of the Assisted Living section of the Artesia Christian Home where he could visit and assist his beloved wife Jacqueline who lives in the facility’s Alzheimer unit. This special marriage lasted over 71 years. In addition to being a loving father to five daughters, Pastor Droog devoted decades to ministerial service in the Reformed Church in America. He pastored Hope Church in Spencer, Iowa; Fifth Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Bethel Reformed Church in Bellflower, California. He then became a denominational Executive Secretary, overseeing established churches and starting many new ones in nine western states and two provinces of Canada. He also performed various duties for the local RCA Classis. His leadership earned him accolades and the nickname “Mr. Church Growth.” He is the author of a “Church Planning and Development Manual” and the book, “The History of the Classis of California 1920-1985”.
In 1980 he received the “Church Growth Leadership Award” from the Institute of American Church Growth. In 2000 he was invited to be a guest lecturer at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middleburg, Netherlands where he presented “Religion California Style: The Dutch Reformed Church in California”. Over the years Rev. Droog has served on the Boards of Northwestern College and Hope College; the Board of Theological Education Agency; the Board of Way Out Ministries in Hawaiian Gardens, California; the Bethel Manor Board; the Board of World Missions of the RCA; and the Board of the Salem Christian Homes.
After his “retirement”, Rev. Droog ably assisted the ministries of Hope Church in Redlands; New Life Community Church in Artesia; and in his mid-eighties accepted the position of Pastor of Administration and Calling at El Dorado Park Church in Long beach. Those blessed to hear him preach remember his warmhearted but direct sermons that went straight to the heart. With his loving personal touch he could claim scores of dear friends, some reaching back to his school days, on up to true friends made only recently at the Artesia Christian Home where he was a prayer partner and confidant to many. A true mentor, his wise ways will be dearly missed.
Chester J. Droog was born December 16, 1921 in Hull, Iowa to Jan (John) and Adriana (Ada) Droog, immigrants from the Netherlands. He married Jacqueline Bonthuis on June 5, 1944. Lieutenant Droog served in the U.S. Air Corps during WWII, flying in 15 missions over Germany until he was injured. He graduated from Northwestern Junior College in Orange City, Iowa in 1942; Hope College in Holland, MI in 1947; Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI in 1950 and received his doctorate in 1976 from the California Graduate School of Theology. In 2003 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Western theological Seminary.
Chet is survived by his wife Jacqueline and his four daughters; Judy Droog ’72 (Tom) Romanosky, Jill (Vince) Jacobo, Jaci (Jon) Matson and Jodi Hinds. He leaves 9 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his two brothers and his eldest daughter, Jan Gonzalez.