In Memoriam: Rev. James Robert Kok

In Memoriam: Rev. James Robert Kok

Written on 08/10/2022
Janet A. Greidanus

Jim Kok loved being a pastor and touched many lives during his six and a half decades of ministry. Jim had a strong, recognizable voice, speaking or singing. Music was a big part of his life. As a boy soprano he sang at church, for family weddings, and was even invited to sing on the radio several times. Up until the last days of his life, he took great delight in singing hymns, always leading with his strong voice. Jim, 90, died July 3.

After graduating from Calvin College (now University), Jim studied at Calvin and Westminster seminaries. Ordained in the Protestant Reformed Church in 1956, he served PRC churches in Chino, Calif., and Manhattan, Minn. In 1961 he was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church.

Jim then pastored Bethel CRC in Manhattan, Minn., and Prospect Park (N.J.) CRC before serving Eastern Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he had the opportunity to lead an urban church in the midst of the Civil Rights era. He then served Third CRC (now Hope Fellowship), Denver, Colo., for almost 19 years, establishing some deep relationships that lasted until the time of his death. He enjoyed two sabbaticals during this time, traveling to the Free University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and to Cambridge University in England. For the last years of Jim’s ministry career, he served churches in northern and central California as an interim pastor. 

After retirement, Jim served as a chaplain at Bethany Home in Chino, Calif. The Koks then moved to Clermont Park Senior Living Community in Denver, Colo. He took up his “work” again, visiting residents and leading worship, Bible studies, and Clermont Park’s spiritual welfare committee.

The motto Jim lived throughout his career and passed along to the many men and women he mentored in the ministry was “Love the Church.”

Predeceased by his wife, Eleanor, in 2012, Jim is survived by six children and their spouses, 18 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren.