Memorial service for Nicholas Willems, 85, Lawrence, will be held 6:30 p.m. next Saturday, July 25, 2009, at the Mustard Seed Church. Mr. Willems died Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at his home in Lawrence. Private family graveside services will be held at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Mr. Willems was born January 6, 1924, in Aardenberg Holland, Netherlands the son of Hendrik and Elisabet Wilhelmina Lefevre Willems.
Nick and his wife, Ineke, immigrated to South Africa in March of 1948 and lived in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Lyttleton. In 1954 they transferred to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia until they immigrated to the United States and settled in Lawrence in June of 1960.
He and his wife, Ineke, co-founded the Mustard Seed Fellowship in Lawrence in 1974. He was the senior pastor at the Mustard Seed Church until 1997 and continued to serve on the pastoral staff until June 2009. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1963. He was also a professor of civil engineering at the University of Kansas for 30 years. During his years as a professor, he served as chairman of the civil engineering department for one term. He retired in 1990. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; South African Institute of Civil Engineers and a member of the Mustard Seed Church. Throughout his career, he authored several engineering books and many articles and in 2008 he wrote and had published two Christian books. In 1997, he and his wife, Ineke, brought the Alpha Course to Lawrence, which has run continuously until the present.
Mr. Willems married Ineke C. Wessels on January 15, 1948, in Holland. She preceded him in death on October 19, 2002.
Survivors include three sons, Hank and wife, Mary, and Pieter and wife, Alice, both of Lawrence, Kevin and wife Lorri, Olathe; two daughters, Ann Kihm and husband, Walt, and Elise Dreyfus and husband, Lawrence, both of Lawrence; one sister, Mia Duiven, the Netherlands; grandchildren, Brian and David Kihm, Laura Suhr, Jason and Amanda Willems, Hannah and J.J. Willems, Elisa Brooks, Isaac Willems, Adrienne Barclay, David and Rebecca Dreyfus, Brandon and Andrea Willems, Colt, Scott, and Krystle Haines and nine great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Nick Willems, four brothers, two sisters.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Mustard Seed Church Alpha Course and sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, Lawrence.