Dr. Lamont Dirkse, a retired member of the education faculty whose 28 years at the college included three years as dean of students, died on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. He was 92.
A 1950 Hope graduate, he was a member of the education faculty from 1964 until retiring in 1992. He chaired the Department of Education from 1968 to 1975, and again from 1986 to 1991.
He served as dean of students from 1983 through the spring of 1986. In addition, he and his wife, Ruth, a Hope classmate, were head residents in Voorhees Hall for two years, and lived in Hillegonds Cottage (located on 10th Street near where Cook Hall now stands) while he was dean.
In 2004, he and Ruth, who was the tutor coordinator with the college’s Academic Support Center from 1986 until also retiring in 1992, were among three alumni couples who were given special recognition during the 1992 Homecoming dedication of Bill Barrett’s sculpture “Wall Relief: Opus A” for their decades of service to Hope. Originally on the outer northern wall of the former Nykerk Hall of Music’s organ studio, the sculpture is now within the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts near the departmental office. (The other two couples honored were Philip and Ann Frederickson, and Vern and Isla Schipper.)
Lamont was born in Hingham, Wisconsin, on Jan. 5, 1927, and graduated from Oostburg High School. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a hospital corpsman. In addition to his degree from Hope, he held a master’s degree from Northwestern University and a doctorate from Michigan State University.
He began teaching elementary school in Ferrysburg after graduating from Hope, and later became an elementary school principal in Grand Haven. He was the coordinator of student teachers and instructor of education for Western Michigan University and Muskegon County Community College for a year before returning to Hope in 1964.
His professional involvements included serving as president of the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and chairing the Inter-Institutional Teacher Education Council of Western Michigan. He was twice selected by the Michigan Inter-Institutional Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching to lead teacher training programs abroad, one to Belgium in 1977 and the other to the Netherlands in 1981.
His active involvement in the community included helping establish Habitat for Humanity in Holland and serving on the boards of Evergreen Commons and Resthaven. He served in various leadership positions at Christ Memorial Church during his 40 years of membership there.
Survivors include Ruth (DeGraaf), his wife of 58 years; a son, David (Anne, deceased); two daughters, Susan (Bob) Carlson and Nancy (Scott) DeWitt; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be on Friday, Feb. 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at First Reformed Church, 630 State St. in Holland. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m., also at the church. Arrangements are by Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home.
Memorial contributions are to Resthaven Care Community – Boersma Cottage.