Nov. 24, 2003
Librarian Emeritus Steve Lambers
EDITOR'S NOTE; See bottom of this page for funeral details and to leave a memory of Steve Lambers. Read memories collected thus far.
In August 1954, when Steve Lambers was 24 years old, he and his wife Ardene applied to become missionaries. On the application form Steve wrote frankly about the difficulties missionaries face. But, he said, "we are convinced in our hearts that Christ would help to bear the burdens and that we would be happy in bringing the 'joyous message.'"
Lamberts went on to bring that joyous message to the mission fields in Nigeria for nine years (from 1955 to 1964). Later in life, say former colleagues, he continued to quietly bring joy to whatever he did during a 23-year tenure (1969-1992) as a librarian at Calvin College.
Friends remembered Lambers this week aft er he died on November 20 after suffering a heart attack. He was 74 years of age, having turned 74 on the day of his death.
"Steve was a good colleague," said former Calvin librarian Conrad Bult, who worked with Lambers all 23 years at Calvin. "When I think of him I picture a guy with a little bit of a whimsi cal smile - someone who was optimistic and worked hard. He was a devout man and very loyal to Calvin. he made an important contribution to the college."
Lambers was born November 20, 1929 in Butterworth Hospital and attended Central High School and th e n Calvin College, graduating from the latter in 1951 with a history major and minors in English and sociology. For four years after graduating he taught at Allendale Christian School. He then spent the nine years in Nigeria, returned to the U.S. and t aught at East Paris and Creston Christian schools for five years and then began working at Calvin.
His labor at Calvin included many special projects. Lambers was instrumental in the library beginning an anniversary/obituary file, consisting of over 10,000 such notices garnered from such publications as The Banner and De Wachter. That project was spurred, in part, by Lambers keen interest in genealogy. He also established copious files for the library on well-known Calvin alumni - people such as author Peter DeVries and screenwriter/director Paul Schrader.
"He was really interested in history," recalled former colleague Bult. "And he enjoyed organizing things. His work at Calvin was often behind-the-scenes, but his labors were important labors that still benefit people."
Lambers labors also benefitted his church - Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Church. He served in a variety of capacities, including as an elder and as editor of the church's centennial book. And he served on the school board of Oakdale Christian School.
Lambers is survived by his wife Ardene, six children - Steve Jr., Rebecca, Michael, Sarah, Benjamin and Polly - and numerous grandchildren whose sporting events he was a regular attender of.
In fact, Bult remembers convers ations over coffee at Calvin that often turned to family.
"He talked about his family a lot," he said. "His family meant a great deal to him."
Visitation for Lambers will be from 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm on November 23 at Zaagman Memorial Chapel on Burton Street in Grand Rapids and then again from 10-11 am at Oakdale CRC on November 24. The funeral service will follow at 11 am at the church.