Grand Rapids, Mich., resident Rev. Edward A. Van Baak died peacefully in his sleep May 24, 2007. He was 80. Van Baak has family in Steamboat Springs.
Called at a young age to mission work, he graduated from Calvin College and Seminary and was ordained in 1948. He served the Christian Reformed Church as a missionary in China from 1948 to 1949, Japan from 1951 to 1969 and Hong Kong from 1987 to 1991. From 1969 to 1987, he served as Asia Secretary for Christian Reformed World Missions, annually visiting missionaries in Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and New Guinea. He also served as pastor to churches in Bauer, Mich., and Kabul, Afghanistan, and preached in countless churches throughout western Michigan, the U.S. and around the world.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Joanne Vis.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife of nearly 60 years, Fran (Ribbens); children Andy and his wife, Arlene Van Baak, of Steamboat Springs, Shirley and her husband, William Martinus, of West Olive, Mich., David and his wife, Nancy Van Baak, of Grand Rapids, Mich., Thomas and his wife, Lesley Van Baak, of Bellevue, Wash., and Ruth and her husband, Keith Griffioen, of Williamsburg, Va.; 13 grandchildren; brother, Paul and his wife, Alice Van Baak, of Albuquerque, N.M.; and brother-in-law, Merle Vis.
A memorial service was held at the Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church with Rev. Louis Tamminga and Pastor George Vander Weit officiating. A private family burial took place at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Edward and Frances Van Baak Missions Scholarship at Calvin Seminary.