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Calvin Mourns Student Death
March 19 , 2008

Kim HolstA Calvin College sophomore has passed away after battling a recurrence of leukemia. Kimberly Holst of Jenison died at home on Tuesday, March 18. She is the daughter of James and Dianne Holst.

Calvin will host a service of remembrance for Holst on March 19 at 10 am in its chapel.

In addition visitation will be on March 20 from 5 to 8 pm and on March 21 from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm at Matthysse Kuiper Degraff Funeral Home in Grandville.

The funeral service for Holst will be on March 22 at 11 am at Cottonwood Heights CRC in Jenison.

Members of the Calvin community said Holst will be missed.

"She was always smiling," said June DeBoer, who works in academic services at Calvin. "She was brave, courageous, a fighter. She was always upbeat and never willing to give up. And through everything she went through she stayed connected with a wonderful group of friends."

Holst, a Jenison High graduate, was hoping to become a nursing major at Calvin and worked with nursing professor Judith Baker to make that dream a reality. Baker also will remember a fighter when she thinks of Holst.

"I always ask my new students to write for me a couple of things about themselves," Baker recalled, "and I remember Kim describing herself as someone who didn't easily give up. She also said she was friendly and a people person. All of those descriptions were true."

Baker remembered too that when she asked Kim to describe why she wanted to be a nurse her response was moving.

"I feel that I am being called towards nursing," she said. "I have had experience being a patient and interacting with nurses. I see myself being able to do the same job they did. I want the patient interaction."

And despite the toll her illness took on her, Holst stayed strong as a student.

"When she came back to Calvin after taking a year off for treatment for her cancer," Baker said, "we met to talk about her course load. I asked if she would be taking anything for honors, since I was concerned about having too much of a load given her physical and energy limitations. She said she had told her parents that her brother and sister would have to do the honors for the family. She would be happy just to get through the program. She then proceeded to do excellent work in all the courses she took in the fall."

Calvin biology professor Rich Nyhof knew Holst for only a very short time when she became a student in his human physiology class this spring semester, a class that she eventually had to drop along with her other Calvin classes as her illness grew worse. Nyhof said that in the time he came to know her he saw a young woman who "had a wonderful smile and a strong sense of self-confidence." He added: "She had a very positive influence in my life and I wish I could have thanked her for it."

The Calvin College on-line prayer log of the past few months tells some of Kim's story, but also tells the story of hope that members of the Calvin community, and all Christians, find in the living Christ.

As her parents and siblings wrote in a March 17 prayer request:

"We know that she will be better off but the goodbyes here are hard. She understands what is happening and is fearful. That is to be expected. Please pray for peace for all of us that we made the right decision. Pray that we have the strength needed to get us through the time she has left. And pray that she will be comfortable, that she will be able to enjoy her time at home, and not fear what is going to happen. Knowing that Christ is our ALL! Jim, Dianne, Kim, Chris & Nick."

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