posted May 13, 2013

Emeritus Professor James Zoetewey of Political Science Dies

James Zoetewey

Dr. James Zoetewey of Holland, a long-time member of the Hope College political science faculty who retired in 2007, died on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at age 75.

Zoetewey joined the Hope faculty in 1966.  During his 41 years at the college, he taught nearly every course his department had to offer, several within his field of American government but also including international relations, comparative government focusing on Europe, and religion and politics, among others. He was department chair for 17 years, beginning in 1971 when he assumed the mantle from department founder Al Vanderbush. He also led the college’s spring Washington Honors Semester six times, and led eight of the department’s Washington May Terms.

Through the years he expanded his knowledge of his discipline through National Endowment for the Humanities and Project ’87 summer study awards on university campuses around the country. His own scholarly work included the instructor’s manual for the textbook “American Government: Essentials and Perspectives,” and co-authoring the book’s third edition with colleagues Dr. Robert E. Elder Jr., Dr. Jack E. Holmes and Dr. David K. Ryden as well as Dr. Michael J. Engelhardt.

After Vanderbush retired in 1972, Zoetewey was also the college’s coordinating pre-law advisor, guiding hundreds of Hope students in their quest to gain admittance to law school. He was correspondingly active in pre-law advising professional associations, his service including a year as president of the Midwest Association of Pre-law Advisors and a year on the Pre-law Advisors' National Committee.

A native of Colorado, Zoetewey initially came to West Michigan to attend Calvin College, from which he graduated in 1960. He completed his doctorate at the University of Colorado in 1971.

He was a member of Faith Christian Reformed Church.

He was preceded in death by an infant grandson, Jacob Zoetewey, and a brother, Alvin Zoetewey.

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Karen; children, James E. and Kristen Zoetewey of Grand Rapids, Mich., Lisa Zoetewey of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Derek and Meredith Zoetewey of Tampa, Fla.; three grandchildren, Abby, Becca and Henry Zoetewey; a brother and sister, Loreen and Leo Shuart of Cole Camp, Mo., and Gary and Valerie Zoetewey of Denver, Colo.; brother and sisters-in-law, Jan and Ted Boers of Grand Rapids, Jack Terpstra of Rockford, Ill., Lois and Paul Kats of Highland, Ind., and Louise and Don Hoogstra of Wyoming, Mich.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation will be on Tuesday, May 14, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Faith Christian Reformed Church, 85 W. 26th St. in Holland.  A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 15, at 4 p.m. at Faith Christian Reformed Church, with Pastor James Boer officiating.

The family is being served by the staff of Lakeshore Memorial Services in Holland, and www.lakeshorememorial.com may be visited to leave a message or memory for the Zoetewey family.  Memorial contributions may be given to Hope College – Department of Political Science or Holland Christian Schools.