IN MEMORY OF DR. GERDA BOS
The entire Trinity Christian College community mourns the loss of Dr. Gerda Bos, who passed away on October, 7, 2006 at the age of 88. She was a beloved faculty member and an integral part of the College’s history.
Dr. Bos was selected to be part of Trinity’s original faculty as a professor of English when the College opened in 1959. She taught English faithfully for 25 years. More importantly, Dr. Bos helped broaden her students’ sense of God’s presence in the world and enriched their visions of how meaningful Christian faith makes all areas of human endeavor.
Dr. Bos helped document Trinity’s history for future generations of students to look back upon and treasure. In 1984, as part of the school’s 25th anniversary celebration, Dr. Bos authored a commemorative book chronicling how the school began, and a number of important events throughout its history to that point.
Today Trinity continues to honor Dr. Bos’ contributions to the College with an annual Gerda Bos English scholarship awarded to a student who, like the award’s namesake, has demonstrated academic excellence, Christian qualities, and service to the College community.
Countless alumni remember the lasting effect of Dr. Bos’ academic guidance. Her commitment and dedication to teaching was evident in the passionate way she delivered her lectures and the high standards to which she held her students accountable. Her continuing influence on students’ lives was formally recognized when she was awarded the first Trinity Honorary Alumni Award in 2004.
Dan Diephouse, Dr. Bos’ colleague in the English department, commented that “Gerda was respected by everyone on campus; she inspired generations of students.”
Dr. Michael Vander Weele, a former student who took her position after Dr. Bos retired, still tells students that half of what he learned about English literature he learned from Dr. Bos, whether in agreement or in respectful disagreement--which she not only allowed but encouraged.
“She was a strict teacher,” he said, “but what people might not know is that sometimes she just turned into a cheerleader, breaking out into spontaneous applause when the class discussion went especially well.” He also has good memories of her studying summers at her own expense in England and, according to the story his father told, proposing in a lean budget year that the senior faculty take deeper salary cuts so that the junior faculty members wouldn’t have to—they still had graduate school loans and, often enough, children to take care of. “Strict, enthusiastic, caring—these are the words I would use to describe Gerda,” Vander Weele said, and then, as an afterthought, “and with enormous confidence in the value of close textual analysis.”
Outside of Trinity’s campus, Dr. Bos’ impact was equally profound: she was a tireless volunteer for local charities such as Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn and made quilts for Trinity fundraisers that were always best sellers. Her gracious hospitality could also be seen through the tea and cookies she often served to guests at both her home and office.
Gerda was the loving sister of Dina Pierik, Effie Steenwyk, Trudy Bos, Ray, Gary, and Jack Bos and the late Grace Voss. She was a dear aunt to many nephews and nieces. A visitation service and a service of thanksgiving and celebration were held for Dr. Bos on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at the Colonial Chapel in Orland Park, Illinois.