Faith remains theme despite tragic loss of mom, girl

Barbara Bergsma:
Her faith in Jesus Christ
and her family were her world.

Joanna Bergsma:
Those who knew her remember
a youngster who "loved the Lord."

Del's Music Center hit hard by deaths in salesman Doug Bergsma's family.

By Jodi McFarland
The Grand Rapids Press

The music that usually fills Del's Music Center in downtown Holland was silent Tuesday. Employees were subdued the day after a car accident that killed co-worker Doug Bergsma's wife, Barbara, and daughter, Joanna, 11. Bergsma has been head salesman at the store for 15 years. His son Jonathan, 19, also works there. Workers described Doug and Barbara as a set of second parents."It's usually an extremely lively place, a lot of joking around, a lot of music playing. There was none of that today," said owner Del Langejans. "Doug is the big talker out in the store. His voice was absent, and everybody knew why." Many visitors who didn't know why asked where Doug was, and were shocked to hear of his wife's and daughter's deaths.

Ottawa County Sheriff's deputies said they were killed when their car was struck by a vehicle that apparently ran a stop sign Monday evening in Jamestown Township. Doug told friends at Del's that the family would continue to spread word of his wife's strong faith. "This is an opportunity to through Barbara's example witness and minister about what Christ can do in people's lives," family friend Cort Langeland said.

The Bergsma family is a part of the "extremely close" relationship employees at the store share. Mrs. Bergsma picked up her son Daniel, 12, from an electric guitar lesson there the afternoon of the crash. The musical family is often at Del's, pitching in, or just hanging out. "Instantly it hits home," Langejans said. "They were an extremely close family, a thing you don't see a whole lot of anymore. That's what makes it sad."

Mrs. Bergsma is survived by four children: Calvin 21, Jonathan 19, Carly 16, and Daniel 13. The family had recently moved to their Overisel Township home so there would more space for home schooling. Langeland gave Daniel his electric guitar lesson that afternoon. A Bergsma family photo hangs there on a cork board. "A lot of guys here are single, and some are from out of town," Langeland said. "They would really take them under their wing, take them to church or have dinner. It was like having a second set of parents around the store."

The family's strong faith was evident to all who knew them, Langeland said. "(Barbara's) life was in her family. That's what she lived for. Her concern was the spiritual well-being of everyone around her," he said. "Joanna was just a cute little kid. I know she loved the Lord."

Calvin Bergsma, Doug's brother, said that faith makes this time less difficult for the family. "That's the thing that gives us hope, because we know that Barbara and Joanna had a very outspoken faith," he said. "(Barbara) testified that Jesus was her hope in life. We as a family testify that Jesus is our hope in death."

Doug and Barbara were very much in love. They first met at Christ for the Nations Bible College in Dallas, where Barbara was working as the assistant dean of women. "He would build her up in front of people," Langeland said. "He really admired her."

The Bergsma name is well known in contemporary Christian music circles. Doug Bergsma was a member of the Bergsma Brothers Band in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He served as a worship leader for Maranatha Ministries more than 20 years and currently continues to minister in the praise band at Resurrection Life Full Gospel Church in Grandville, where the family is a member. "All the local musicians know Doug," Langeland said.

Services for Barbara and Joanna Bergsma will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Resurrection Life Full Gospel Church. Visitation will be Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cook Funeral Home.

Barb and Joanna Bergsma

Barb & Joanna's obituaries

Memorial contributions to the Bergsma Children Christian Education Fund can be sent to:
Doug Bergsma
3443 146th Ave.
Zeeland MI, 49464
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