With hearts full of sorrow and yet comforted by our Savior, we say goodbye to Dean Arkema, 72, our beloved husband, father, and grand-father who was ushered into his heavenly home on Apr. 4, 2022. Funeral service was held Apr. 11 at Grace Community Church, Surprise, AZ. A memorial service will also be at 11 a.m. Apr. 22 at Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church, Centennial, CO. Dean was a warrior to the very end, who battled a weak heart and health complications with unwavering faith and determination, relying on the deep love and prayers of his wife, family, and many dear friends. He spent many of his days devoted to studying and teaching God’s Word. Holding his Savior’s hand and surrounded by his family, Dean peacefully died in his home and now is in his heavenly home free from suffering and glorifying his Lord.
Dean and Gayle were married 22 years and shared a strong bond of love and gratefulness for their family. He was a loving father to his children Heidi (Scott) Dorr and Ryan (Heidi) Arkema as well as Gayle’s children Brad (Jenn) Meyering and Suzanne (Keith) Tolsma. He was a proud grandfather to 11 grandchildren.
Dean was born Dec 1, 1949, in Oskaloosa. He was raised on a farm in Sully and had so many fun stories to share. He developed a strong work ethic on the farm where he grew up with broad shoulders and strong leg muscles from throwing hay bales.
He was preceded in death by his parents Bernard and Cornelia Arkema. Dean is survived by his dear brothers – Carroll (Mairead Stack) Arkema and Kenneth (Pat) Arkema.
He attended Christian primary schools in Iowa and Pella Christian High School where he loved basketball, girls, and fun friends. He went on to attend Calvin College in Michigan, graduating from the University of Iowa. He moved to Colorado in 1972. His career spanned becoming a CPA, working as a controller and treasurer for two large stock brokerage firms, and managing real estate properties for a large property management firm.
Due to congestive heart failure, he was forced into early retirement. Dean’s physical heart was weak but he had a strong heart for service. He served as a deacon at Third CRC, a board member of Bethany Christian Services, and on the Booster Club at Denver Christian Schools.
If you opened Dean’s garage, you would see two golf carts, because golf was the game both Dean and Gayle enjoyed. The game of golf runs deep in the blood of their children and grandchildren; many of them could out drive him in recent years. Dean never missed an opportunity to instruct and encourage his grandchildren (or anybody) in this game of golf.
Both Dean and Gayle attended the former Third Christian Reformed Church of Denver and Southeast Christian Church where they served for many years. They moved to Surprise, AZ, in February 2020 and are so thankful for and blessed by their new church family and pastor at Grace Community Church (Evan-gelical Presbyterian). Dean just recently accepted the nomination as an elder and bible study leader. They are so thankful and blessed by their new church family and pastor.
Dean used his God-given blessings in all areas of his life. He spent his quiet time (a lot in the last few years) reading and delving into deeper meanings of some passages of the Bible. He passed his Christian heritage on to his children and grandchildren, which was so important to him. Jesus Christ was the cornerstone of Dean’s life, and we celebrate his life knowing he is now with his Lord and Savior.