Ok, now you know where the H comes from in my name. For a short time, some parents were naming sons after their dads but calling them by their middle name to emphasize their “uniqueness.”
Good thing, because no one could fill the shoes of my dad, Hank Schuringa. God broke the mold after He created Dad.
Born of turn-of-the-century immigrants from the Netherlands, Dad, like his father and grandfather before him, was a successful businessman whose life centered around his home, the church and the school.
Dad was certainly “old school,” in that he was king of his castle, Mom served him hand and foot, and for us four kids it was his way or the beltway, if you know what I mean. We learned from him (and Mom) a relentless Christian work ethic, the rudiments of Reformed doctrine (TULIP), and love for the church and psalm-singing. He never missed leading family devotions and had a mystical side to him that trickled down from the Dutch Second Reformation. He had a soft heart for the down-and-out and responded philanthropically.
But Dad wasn’t all business. He knew how to show us a good time whether it was going to county fairs or Cubs games, pulling practical jokes, attending Johnny Cash concerts or singing “He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills” at the top of our lungs as we rode along in the car.
The last fifteen years were not pleasant for Dad. After bouts with cancer, he had almost two hundred blood transfusions to keep him going. Increasingly he was torn between wanting to stay and wanting to go. Toward the end, he repeatedly quoted the Heidelberg Catechism’s assurance that when we die our souls “immediately” go to heaven. He passed away peacefully in his sleep early on Father’s Day.
My son, Greg, is also a pastor. Dad had asked that the two of us conduct his funeral, which we gladly did. I asked Greg to do the “heavy lifting” of the sermon, which, in the context of Psalm 23, described and honored his grandpa to perfection.
Dad and I parted on good terms. No unfinished business. The successful running and growth of Crossroad I owe completely to our marvelous volunteers and staff, but also to growing up in the home of a businessman who loved Jesus.