Serving West Michigan Since 1899

Dr. Eugene Scholten

September 25, 1928 - November 7, 2019
Holland, MI



Sunday, November 24, 2019
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
First Presbyterian Church
659 State Street
Holland, MI 49423


Sunday, November 24, 2019
3:00 PM EST
First Presbyterian Church
659 State Street
Holland, MI 49423

Life Story / Obituary


“The Mediocre teacher tells. The Good teacher explains. The Superior teacher demonstrates. The Great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

Dr. Eugene Scholten, 91 years old, died on November 7, 2019 following a recently diagnosed terminal medical condition with his family at his side. Gene was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Joyce and they may now be reunited in Heaven.

Gene was born to Alfred and Jeanette Scholten at the family wheat and dairy farm in Graafschap, Michigan on September 25, 1928. His father, as a farmer, was a soil conservation agent, a Red Cross volunteer and active on the School Board. His mom was a homemaker, designing patterns and clothes, loved gardening and was an award winning cook. Gene was the fourth of six children, oldest brother Leon, who survives him, sister Ruth, brother Justin, sister Bea and loving brother, Allen. The kids all attended Pioneer School in Graafschap, where their father and grandfather had gone to school.

Gene was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Joyce, and by his parents, Alfred and Jeanette Scholten of Graafschap. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Ruth and her husband Jan Osterop, brother, Jud Scholten his wife, Joyce and his sister in law, Adrianna.

Gene is survived by his children, John of Lansing, David Scholten, his wife, Beth of East Lansing, Michigan, and their children Sam and Paige Scholten. He is also survived by his daughter, Nancy, her husband Todd Kamstra, of Holland, and their children, Josh and his wife, Laura, of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jake of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Sarah and her husband, Josh Miller of Dallas, Texas. He is also survived by his brother, Leon Scholten, his brother, Allen and wife Carole Scholten of Holland, his sister, Bea Scholten of Florida and many nieces and nephews who loved him dearly.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, 659 State Street in Holland. Visitation with the family will begin at 2:00 pm. Reverend Linda Knieriemen will be officiating at the service. Cremation has taken place. Gene and his wife Joyce’s ashes will be combined and lovingly scattered near Traverse City, Michigan this next spring by his children and grandchildren. Flowers and cards may be delivered to the First Presbyterian Church.

Gene was 16 years old when his folks were killed in an automobile accident on August 5, 1945. Oldest brother Leon returned home from duty in World War II, married his high school sweetheart, Adrianna, and together they raised the younger siblings, remaining on the family farm and lived as a family.

Dr. Scholten earned his undergraduate degree from Hope College. His Master’s Degree was completed at the University of Southern California. He began his career as a teacher in the Grand Rapids and Holland Public Schools while he was working on his Doctoral Degree.

Gene married the love of his life, Joyce Mulder, on June 24, 1955 as the first couple married in Western Theological Seminary Chapel, which would subsequently be named in honor of his Father in Law, Dr. John R. Mulder, who was President of Western Seminary. The following year, their first child, John, was born, two years later David was a welcomed addition and a year and a half later, daughter Nancy rounded out the family.

A Ph.D. degree was awarded to him in 1964 from Michigan State University. After receiving his Doctorate, Gene served as a Child and School Psychologist for the Holland Public Schools for many years. He was honored with Diplomate status as a School and Child Psychologist, awarded by the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Scholten served as President of the Michigan Psychological Association.

A lifelong educator with a wealth of knowledge in many subject areas, including psychology, the study of Buddhism, eastern cultures and their meditative nature, Dad always had the inspiring enthusiasm to impart his knowledge to his students. “Teaching keeps you young,” he would say. He also consistently helped students to discover the Joy in learning, which was complimented by his compassion and empathy for his students, who were all treated as individuals. His appreciation for the Art of Teaching and his ability to value and respect many viewpoints has been so valued.

After his retirement from the Holland Public Schools, he served as a Professor at Hope College, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University. In his later years, he travelled to India and China, cultures that he studied, enjoyed and wanted to experience. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Holland and worshiped there with many friends. Gene was an Honorably Discharged Veteran, having served his Country during the Korean War.

He constantly evolved as an educator which was driven by his understanding that passionate learners understand the importance of lifelong learning. Dad was always anxious to share new knowledge or to pass along a good magazine article. He proudly served as an inspiration for those students he counseled and taught and was a catalyst in the development of their confidence and their success. He was a visionary educator who supported the independence of his students and made it a point to keep in touch with many whose lives he had touched.

Gene also had a mischievous sense of humor. “We only tease people we love,” he often said, and he loved joking and teasing with the family. Frequently, his humor was laced with sarcasm, a trait that would be passed on to his children and grandchildren. He loved family events and valued his friends and relatives and the love they shared.

The well balanced blend of his knowledge, the strength of his values and principles made him easily recognizable as a person of superior educational and intellectual integrity. Dr. Scholten is worthy of the respect afforded him and should be appropriately recognized for the love of learning he inspired and inspired in the lives of his students, including his children and grandchildren. He was always very active in his community, and his awards, accomplishments and accolades are too numerous to feature.

His children and grandchildren revere him as an outstanding father and grandfather who imparted much of his wisdom to them. Dad will be remembered as a kind, loving and thoughtful person who will be sorely and profoundly missed. We will treasure forever, the many memories we shared.

And, even in our sleep, at least, pain that we cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon our hearts, until, in our own despair, against our wills, comes wisdom through the Grace of God.