Rev. John DePater

Rev. John DePater, a resident of the Hartford Retirement Centre in Morrisburg for the past 18 months, passed away at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Fri., March 1, 2013, following a brief illness. He was 89.
John was born in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands on Oct. 15, 1923, to his parents, Jan and Margo DePater (nee Markus).
He was a strong-minded man who lived with passion, but most importantly he lived his life in the knowledge that he would be nothing without the grace of God reaching out to him.
As a child in The Netherlands, his family moved frequently. At age 13, he completed elementary school,  and then worked as a farm labourer throughout his teen and early adult years. During the war years, he was involved in the underground and the resistance army. After the war, he joined the police force and then the army. Before being sent to Indonesia, he met his future wife, Alice, got engaged within a few weeks, and married her upon his return from Indonesia three years later.
In 1951, they immigrated to Canada with a small infant to pursue new opportunities. During their first years in Canada, John worked a variety of manual labour jobs to support his growing family. In 1957, the family moved to Hamilton where John completed his high school education by correspondence courses, and then received a BA in theology from McMaster University. From there, the family moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., so John could pursue his studies to become an ordained pastor. He served churches in Holland Marsh, Ont., Williamsburg, Escalon, Calif., Duncan, B.C., and York, Ont. He “officially retired” in 1988, but continued to serve churches on an interim basis in various locations throughout Ontario and in the U.S. Until very recently, he led Bible studies and a monthly worship service at the Hartford Retirement Centre.
Throughout his life, John and his wife travelled extensively throughout North America and Europe. He enjoyed nature, camping, reading, and spending time with his family. John lived his life with strong convictions desiring to let others know the gospel message.
John is survived by his children, Margo (Jack) VanGilst of Finch, Bea (Renny) VanGilst of Elma, Jan (Elizabeth) of Almonte, Alice Douma (Dean Howland) of Ingleside, James (Barb) of Kemptville, and Stephen (Sue) of Cornwall. John will be fondly remembered by grandchildren, Matthew (Anne), Katrina (Steve), Benjamin (Tracy), Luther, Reuben (Emily), Stephanie (Tim), David (Melissa), Tim (Erin), Andrew (Rachel), Dan (Sarah), Dylan, Dexter, Ava, Nathan, Melissa (Dennis), Jason (Jenny), Aaron (Caitlyn), Thomas (Michelle), Miranda (Fraser), Steven, Jennifer, Alexandria, Madison, and Erik, and great-grandchildren, Mika, Naomi, Petra, Jonas, Rachel, Ezra, Elijah, Silas, Kate, Noah, Leah, Ethan, Gabriel, Allison, Desi, Haley, Micah, Eli, Arabel, Tristan, Dryden, Logan, Colton, Jackson, and Jacob. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Alice, his sisters, Mija Westervelt, Johanna VanMourik, Margo Wilbrink, Hendrika Pul, Jannigje Wilbrink, Maartje Droogers, his brothers, Hendrik and Leonard, and his son-in-law, John Douma. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg on Mon., March 4 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was held at Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church on Tues., March 5 at 11 am with Rev. John Noordhof officiating, followed by interment at New Union Cemetery in Williamsburg. The pallbearers were grandchildren, Luther VanGilst, Reuben VanGilst, Tim VanGilst, Dexter DePater, Jason Douma, and Erik DePater.
Donations to the Christian Reformed World Relief Fund or Timothy Christian School would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
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