David Lee Rienstra, 79
A memorial service for the Rev. David Lee Rienstra, 79, of Tecumseh, will be held at a later time. Mr. Rienstra died peacefully on Nov. 10, 2018, at Hospice House in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
He was born March 7, 1939, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the youngest of the five children of August and Gertrude Hoogeboom Rienstra, Dutch immigrants from Friesland, Netherlands.
He grew up in Grand Rapids, where he had to help support the family with a paper route after his father, a World War I veteran, contracted tuberculosis and had to be moved into a sanitorium. Consequently, David’s education was sporadic, and he was unable to graduate from high school.
He served in the Marine Corps from 1956 to 1962 and then returned to Grand Rapids, where he fell in love with Carole J. Bahre. They were married June 13, 1962, and had three children together, David Jr., Sherilyn and Kathryn.
Mr. Rienstra learned the tool and die-making trade, and in 1970 he went to work for General Motors in Grand Rapids. While working there, he found his calling and enrolled at Boston University, continuing to work days while attending evening classes. He graduated with degrees in religion and philosophy in 1978. That same year, he was ordained on a call to serve the Fryeberg New Church in Fryeberg, Maine. In 1988, he became pastor of the Church of the Open Word in St. Louis, and during the early 1990s he served as chair of the Council of Ministers, sat on General Council and served the church in many other ways.
In the year following the death of his wife on March 7, 1996, a member of his church and friend of his late wife invited him to dinner, where he met the friend’s cousin, Diane Wuestenfeld LaFevers. They were married at his church in St. Louis on Nov. 22, 1997.
In 2000, after Mr. Rienstra retired from the church, the couple moved to Alaska, where they both worked with special needs children in public schools. In 2004, they moved to Jerseyville, Illinois, where Mr. Rienstra enjoyed his retirement, gardening and occasionally performing marriage ceremonies or filling in as pastor at his former St. Louis church or at the Presbyterian church in Jerseyville.
In 2007, the Rienstras built a cabin on property overlooking Bryant Creek near Tecumseh. The property was part of the LaFevers family farm across the creek that had been in the family since 1974 and is now owned by Mrs. Rienstra’s sons, Rick, Scott and Martin LaFevers.
For the next few years the Rienstras divided their time between the cabin and Jerseyville, and in 2015, they moved to their beloved Bryant Creek cabin permanently.
Mr. Rienstra is survived by Diane Rienstra, his wife of 21 years; his children, David Rienstra Jr. and wife Kathi, Sherilyn Rienstra and husband Matt, and Kathryn Pruiett; his stepsons, Rick LaFevers and wife Traci, Scott LaFevers and wife Mandy, and Martin LaFevers and wife Liz; grandchildren Jonathon, Heather, Jadon, Grant and Lilian Rienstra; step-grandchildren Carly, Annie, John and Jake, Kintla, Dylan and Taylor LaFevers; his brothers, Bill Rienstra and Pete Rienstra and their spouses; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, John Rienstra; and a sister, Alice Decker.
Mr. Rienstra believed in always being useful; hence, his body was donated to Washington University in St. Louis for medical research.