Friday, April 29, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Calvary Baptist Church
517 West 32nd Street
Holland, MI 49423
1 (616) 396-2724
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
National Multiple Sclerosis
21311 Civic Center Dr.
Southfield, MI 48076
1 (800) 344-4867
Life Story / Obituary
Jack Andrew Severson, age 91, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Jack was an extraordinary man. To know him was to love him. Born in Battle Creek, MI, Jack was a multi-talented person. His first job after graduating early from high school (1942) was playing alto saxophone in the Big Bands. He started in Kalamazoo, but his talent was quickly recognized by more prominent bands in Chicago. The nightclub life was fun, but hard, and the Big Band era was losing ground; so, Jack, always interested in everything, went into advertising. Working as the Advertising Manager for Town and Country stores he won a national advertising award. But Jack’s real passion was broadcasting; and by the late 1950s he was working for WKZO and WKPR (respectively) radio in Kalamazoo. In 1966, Jack moved his family to Holland, MI to work at WJBL as the News Editor where he also had his own radio show.
Jack was a wonderful husband and father. By 1974, his wife, Phyllis, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He did everything he could to keep their life as normal as possible. Whatever it took, he made sure Phyllis had anything she needed to be able to stay in their home, go to concerts and plays, even travel. He stood by her side as the MS slowly took its toll. There was never any question as to what was to be done. He loved her and took care of her until her passing in 2009. And even though there were times it was difficult for him, when she was gone he maintained he would do it all just the same if he could only be with her again.
Having a servant’s heart, Jack served as deacon, song worship leader, and choir director at both First Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church of Holland. He had a beautiful singing voice and was frequently asked to be the guest singer for many church services in the area. In his late 70’s, Jack put together his own gospel quartet of local talents. The group performed for church services and at other venues for several years. He never gave up singing and was set to record a CD of hymns with his long-time friend, Bob Wolters, as accompanist. Jack is singing in Heaven instead.
Jack was also a talented actor. He had roles with the Hope College Summer Repertory Theatre, the Grand Haven Civic Players, and for several years was involved with Calvary Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School doing hilarious skits with Pastor Paul Davis and others – it was some of his best work! After many years of not playing his saxophone, Jack began playing again with a Hope College Jazz ensemble comprised of music professors and staff. He was by far the oldest man in the band, but easily the most experienced and talented – and, boy, did he have style!
There is much, much more one could say about Jack. Some of those things are: He had an incredibly silly sense of humor that only his family or very close friends had the chance to observe. He loved to laugh and he loved social situations. But the thing about which he was most passionate was serving the Lord and being a witness to others of Christ’s saving grace. Every aspect of his life was a testimony of his love for God and his trust in God’s Word – much of which he committed to memory including the first 11 chapters of Revelation. If you had a problem and brought it to Jack, he would always listen and encourage you with the perfect passage from God’s Word. His own Bible is very worn and almost tattered from many years of daily use; many, many verses are highlighted or underlined or have notations written beside them. It was his guide for living and he followed it well. There was no pride, superiority, or arrogance in his faith in God and his willingness to share his thoughts about trusting Him. Instead, he always shared his faith with humility and genuine concern for others.
A life celebration service will be held on Friday at 11:00 am at Calvary Baptist Church. Officiating will be the Rev. Paul Davis. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Arrangements are by the Mulder Chapel. Dykstra Funeral Homes Inc 188 West 32nd St. For more information please visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com
Jack shared his testimony with the Calvary Baptist Church family in 2009. The following link is a video of that testimony.
https://vimeo.com/164275304. Please copy and paste to your browser to view.