Robert Kloosterhuis, Former World Church Vice President, Dies at 87

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In ministry he was known to be ahead of his time.

Robert John Kloosterhuis, long-time church administrator and previous vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, died on November 3, 2019. He was 87. 

Kloosterhuis was born on August 22, 1932, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the youngest of four sons to Dutch parents. He spent much of his childhood helping on the small family farm. He was a graduate of Forest Lake Academy in 1950 and earned a BA from Emmanuel Missionary College in 1954 with a major in religion. 

In June 1953, Kloosterhuis married Ruth Schoun, and the couple lived in a small apartment on the university campus. The industriousness learned in childhood earned him much of his tuition expenses and served him well when he was unexpectedly called to be the Industrial Director at the Franco-Union Institute in Haiti in 1954. Upon return to the US in 1960, the couple was able to send their two sons, David and Robert, to denominational schools, and Kloosterhuis earned a master’s degree from Andrews University in New Testament studies. He served for 11 years (1964-1975) as pastor and departmental director in the Illinois Conference in the youth, stewardship, and health and temperance departments. 

Many who served with Kloosterhuis and his wife, Ruth, would say that Robert was a shining light for Jesus throughout his life. The Lake Union Herald published a story written by Kloosterhuis in 1980, entitled, “Let It Shine,” in which he related the particular way that Haitian lay members attracted people in rural areas to evangelistic meetings in the villages. They would hang a kerosene lamp on a pole. Curious to see what was happening, people were drawn from afar. The people would join in the singing and hear the messages. More than 3,000 people from 200 such lamppost sites were baptized that year alone. This happened during the time Klosterhuis served as the Franco-Haitian Union president in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from 1976 to 1980. Kloosterhuis had also been the president of the Franco-Haitian Seminary, as well as secretary-treasurer for the Franco-Haitian Union. 

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