A Legacy Reflected in Lives Touched

Treasured mentors, beloved friends and colleagues, dedicated to students, the seven current and retired faculty and staff remembered here together reached thousands across a third of the college’s history.

Only a portion of each person’s life is shared here.
More about all seven is available online.

Dr. Jonathan Hagood, who was associate dean for teaching and learning and served in a variety of roles at Hope, died unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. He was 43.

A member of the history faculty since 2008, he was also director of the Senior Seminar program and chair of the Department of Music. He had developed a faith and scholarship faculty discussion series at the college; led the team that developed an initiative at Hope funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. to help churches develop programs for calling and vocation; and served on the task force that developed the plan for the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career.He was also the faculty liaison for the 2018 Lilly Fellows Program National Conference, which featured the theme “Robust and Receptive Ecumenism” and was held at Hope in October.

Hagood was an active scholar whose areas of expertise included nuclear weapons policy, mid-20th century Argentina, the history of public health and the history of nursing. He had also mentored a number of Hope students conducting collaborative or independent research projects.

Hope presented him with the Provost’s Award for Service to the Academic Program in 2017. Among other external awards through the years, he had held fellowships with the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry at the University of Virginia, the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Michigan, the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan and the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

Survivors include his wife, Amy, and two children at home.

The Rev. Dr. Trygve Johnson, the Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel at Hope, spoke during the memorial service held for Jonathan Hagood on Saturday, Sept. 22. His sermon is available online.

Dr. Margaret Van Wylen, who was Hope’s first lady for 15 years, died on Saturday, August 4, 2018, one day before her 94th birthday.

Her husband, Dr. Gordon Van Wylen, was the college’s president from 1972 until retiring in 1987. He survives her.

She retired from a career as a psychiatrist in 1994. Her professional activity included serving on the staff of Holland Hospital, Ottawa County Community Mental Health and with Child and Family Services.

Faculty, staff and friends established the Gordon J. and Margaret D. Van Wylen Scholarship Fund at Hope in honor of the couple, and among other recognition from Hope, the library is named for both of them. In conjunction with the year of their retirement, Gordon and Margaret established an endowed scholarship at Hope in the name of the graduating Class of 1987.

In addition to Gordon, her survivors include; five children, Elizabeth Rudenga; Stephen (Kathy) Van Wylen ’77, Ruth Van Wylen ’79 (Neil) Jasperse, Emily Van Wylen ’85 (Tim) Overway and David (Patricia Lunderburg ’80) Van Wylen; 16 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Norman “Bunko” Japinga, who retired in 1995 after 27 years that included serving as athletic equipment manager and transportation director, died on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at age 88.

He joined the staff in 1968 as Hope’s first official equipment manager, along with custodial duties in the old Carnegie-Schouten Gymnasium and responsibility for the fledgling transportation department. He was the full-time equipment manager from 1974 to 1988, assistant equipment manager and head bus driver from 1988 to 1992, and after that a part-time driver.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Shirley; his children, Jodi Japinga ’75 (Marv ’75) Syens, Jeff (Jennifer) Japinga, and Julie Japinga ’85 (Kevin ’84) Van Oordt; grandchildren, Mark Japinga and Annie Japinga ’15 (Jordan ’14) Carrigan and their mother Lynn Winkels ’81 Japinga, Rachel Syens, Erin Van Oordt ’10 (Austin) Coallier, and Kara Van Oordt ’13 (Kelly ’13) Lepley; and step-grandchildren, Paige and Brett Erickson.

Dr. Peter Jolivette, who retired as a professor emeritus of physics in 2001 after teaching at Hope for a quarter century, died on Friday, Sept. 21, at age 77. He was a 20-year survivor of angiosarcoma cancer, and for the last five years was the longest-lived survivor in the United States.

He joined the faculty in 1976, and chaired the Department of Physics several times.

He was elected a Fellow in the American Physical Society in 2000, recognized for his leadership in developing undergraduate research in nuclear physics.

Survivors include his wife, Cheryle “Cheri” of Tigard, Oregon, who taught physics at Hope from 1977 to 2000; two daughters, Jennifer J. (Kevin) Lair and Stephanie A.E. Jolivette; and two grandsons.

Dr. J. Cotter Tharin, who founded the college’s geology department and taught at Hope for 29 years, died on Thursday, Aug. 9, at age 87.

He joined the faculty in 1967 and was recruited to establish the department, which today is named the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, and retired in 1996 having chaired the department his entire time at the college. While at Hope, he traveled the globe with his students to locations including Greece, the Virgin Islands, the Keys, Jamaica, Colorado, Utah and Idaho. He was also the first adviser of the college’s sailing club.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Joanne Febel Tharin; daughter, Catherine (Monty March) Tharin ’78; son, James Cotter (Kim) Tharin, Jr.; and five grandchildren.

Dr. Richard Vandervelde, who was a member of the mathematics faculty for 33 years until retiring in 2000, died on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, at age 80.

He joined the faculty in 1967. His tenure at the college included chairing the Department of Mathematics, chairing the Albert E. Lampen Mathematics Contest and Conference, and serving the college’s computer center for a time starting in 1975 as “academic ombudsman” (an interim role until a director was appointed). An avid runner, he was a volunteer assistant cross country coach for 12 seasons beginning in 1997.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Phyllis. Survivors include his wife, L. Jane; sons, Michael (Kendra Blank ’95) Vandervelde ’89 and Scott (Stacie) Vandervelde ’92; sister-in-law, Sharon (Jerry) Rhoads; brother-in-law, Keith White; sister-in-law, Irene White; sister-in-law, Julie (Rob) Leman; step-children, Linda (Eric) Haworth, Mark (Carla) Vogt, Laura Vogt and Brian Vogt; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Dr. James Dyke van Putten Jr. ’55, who as a longtime member of the physics faculty helped launch Hope’s engineering program, died on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, at age 84. He taught at the college from 1967 until retiring in 2000.

Engineering instruction in the contemporary sense began at Hope in 1979 through the Department of Physics in response to student interest. He played a leadership role throughout the program’s development, first teaching a new course in electronics.

Survivors include his wife, Sharon (Sheffield) van Putten; sons, James D. van Putten III ’85 (Susan Fox) and Dirk van Putten ’88 (Carey VandePoel); and three granddaughters.