Thursday 17 June 2021

In Memoriam: Elizabeth "Bep" Koole

by Barbara Carvill (President of Friends of ICS)

Bep Koole (b. 1936) went to the Lord on Monday, June 14, 2021. She immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in 1967. While working in Thunder Bay, Bep attended a lecture by the late Gerald Vandezande, who suggested that she move to Toronto and look for a job at ICS. Bep would be forever thankful to Gerald for this suggestion, because after becoming one of the earliest administrative staff members at the Institute, she met and fell in love with the widower Marinus Koole, one of ICS’s most loyal and generous supporters. 

Bep and Marinus married in 1972, and Bep then moved to the Niagara region where Marinus had a thriving greenhouse business. Bep was an affectionate mother and devoted wife, and a very much beloved member of Jubilee Fellowship CRC in St. Catharines where she and Marinus were founding members. In 2013, nine years after Marinus’ death, she moved to Grand Rapids to be near her daughter, Heather, a professor at Calvin University, and her four grandsons. In no time, Bep became an active member of the Church of the Servant, with a remarkable talent for friendship, compassion, and caring kindness. We all admired her solid faith in Christ, her good taste in clothes, and her always grateful and positive outlook, even when she already suffered from the symptoms of undiagnosed ALS. 

One of her biggest joys came half a year ago when her son Phil moved to Grand Rapids to take care of her. And now Bep has left us, a beautiful Christian who wanted so badly to be with the Lord and again with the love of her life, Marinus. Together and separately, both Bep and Marinus treasured and blessed ICS in countless, untold ways. We at ICS remain grateful for their vision, witness, and support for ICS’s mission in Christian higher education, and mourn Bep’s passing alongside her family and friends.

Bep arriving in Canada in 1967.