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Rev. William "Bud" Ipema

March 14, 1938 April 14, 2019
Rev. William "Bud" Ipema
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Obituary for Rev. William "Bud" Ipema

Rev. William (Bud) Ipema, 81, passed away Sunday, April 14th at his home in Oak Park. He was a larger-than-life figure, who leaves a 60-year legacy of urban ministry on Chicago’s south and west sides where he was instrumental in promoting racial reconciliation and social justice.

Bud was born March 14, 1938 in Evergreen Park, IL to Ben and Gertrude (Venhuisen) Ipema, immigrant Dutch farmers. He graduated from high school in 1956 and later enrolled in Calvin College. He withdrew from Calvin for a period to lead the family’s construction business after his father suffered a heart attack. He eventually re-enrolled in Calvin, graduating in 1969 with a master’s degree from Calvin Theological Seminary.

An ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, he was married for 52 years to his beloved wife, Donna (Huizenga), until her death in 2012. She was the love of his life and closest confidant.

He was entrepreneurial, blazing his own path in ministry, creating opportunities and raising funds that supported programs that benefited the individuals and communities he was called to serve. He applied his lifelong skill and passion for building throughout his career – building relationships, building organizations, and building bridges to connect individuals and communities.

In 1968, Bud joined Young Life, moving to Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood as the organization’s National Urban Trainer to work closely with gangs. During his first 45 days working with the program, he attended 12 funerals; 11 were murders. Each summer, he would take busloads of young people from Chicago’s urban communities to Young Life Camp at Star Ranch in Colorado, where many who’d never ventured from the confines of their immediate neighborhood experienced a faith-filled and life-changing transformation. Their only requirement for participating was to check their weapons into a lockbox on the bus before its departure.

He became Associate Pastor at Lawndale CRC in 1975, a position he held until his death. Among the many organizations he either launched or played a leadership role in included MidAmerica Leadership Foundation, today called Goodcity, Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE); Synodical Committee on Race Relations (SCORR); Chicago Orleans Housing; Council of Leadership Foundations; and Timothy Leadership Foundation (TLTI), where he served as Executive Director.

He was part of a delegation sent by SCORR to examine South Africa during its oppressive apartheid system and made recommendations about the US denomination’s continued relationship with the South African church.

He served on the faculty of North Park Seminary, creating a master’s program for Young Life staff. He played an important role, along with leaders from LaSalle Street Church, Saint Luke’s Missionary Baptist, Saint Matthew’s Methodist Church, Fourth Presbyterian, and Holy Family Lutheran in the landmark creation of Atrium Village, a 300-unit housing project located near Cabrini Green and one of Chicago’s first mixed-income housing developments.

He founded MidAmerica Leadership Foundation, a nonprofit that promoted emerging community leaders in Chicago and the nonprofits they were developing. MidAmerica incubated 42 nonprofits under his leadership.

Throughout his life, he befriended and mentored many, making an impression on everyone he met with his strength, faith, wisdom and sense of humor. He was a skilled carpenter who loved woodworking and built numerous projects for his extended family. He enjoyed summers at his son’s Holland, MI home, where his favorite moments were in the company of his children and grandchildren, whom he loved dearly. Family gatherings over food and card games would always end with a joyous toast to another beautiful sunset over Lake Michigan.

He is survived by his two children, Gardi Wilks and Ben Ipema, and their spouses; his daughter-in-law, Kirstin Wells; 7 grandchildren; his twin sister Annamae (Richard) VanderVelde and several brothers and sisters-in-law. He was preceded in death by his wife Donna, son Brad and his brother Henry.

His memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Lawndale Christian Reformed Church, 1240 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL. A visitation will precede the memorial service at 10 a.m. and a luncheon will follow at 1 p.m. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, donations to: Endowment for Lawndale Christian Reformed Church or Endowment for Chicago Westside Christian School both at 1240 S. Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL are appreciated.

A second memorial service will be held on June 29, 2019, at 2581 N. Lakeshore, Holland, MI from 5 - 8 p.m.

To plant a tree in memory of Rev. William "Bud" Ipema, visit the Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

27

Apr

10:00 AM 4/27/2019 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 4/27/2019 11:00:00 AM
Lawndale Christian Reformed Church

1240 S. Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60623

Lawndale Christian Reformed Church
1240 S. Pulaski Rd Chicago 60623 IL
United States

Funeral Service

Saturday

27

Apr

11:00 AM 4/27/2019 11:00:00 AM - 12:00 PM 4/27/2019 12:00:00 PM
Lawndale Christian Reformed Church

1240 S. Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60623

Lawndale Christian Reformed Church
1240 S. Pulaski Rd Chicago 60623 IL
United States

Memorial Contribution

Endowment for Lawndale Christian Reformed Church

1240 S. Pulaski Rd. Chicago, IL 60623

Endowment for Chicago Westside Christian School

1240 S. Pulaski Rd. Chicago, IL 60623
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