BETTY JEAN BAKKER CRETE, IL Betty Jean Bakker, age 63, of Crete, IL passed away Monday, January 28, 2013 at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, IL where she was also born back on August 18, 1949. Betty was an amazing wife, loving mother, adoring grandmother, inspiring teacher, devoted minister, and caring friend to many. She loved education and was a constant seeker of knowledge. Betty had four degrees and most recently was working on her PhD in Ministry at Regent University. Her other degrees were as follows: BA in Elementary Education and MA in Science Education from Purdue University, MA of Ministry from North Park Theological Seminary, and a MA of Divinity from Olivet Nazarene University. She also had a Bible degree from Charis Bible College and was an Ordained Minister. Betty was a stay at home mom who spent time raising her children while going to school part-time to earn her teaching degree. She was an outstanding teacher for many years in Hammond Schools and then moved on to work as a ministry leader at Crossroads Community Church and Believers Church. Throughout the years she had an opportunity to travel overseas on many missionary trips to Ecuador, Amsterdam, and Russia. Most recently Betty served as a teacher, intern coordinator, and assistant to the director at Charis Bible College and was an associate pastor at Grace Church in Steger, IL. Betty began her life as Betty Jean VanNoort, daughter to Grace and Peter VanNoort Jr. who both precede her in death, along with her sister, Carolyn Tiemens. Betty grew up on a farm in a large family and is survived by her four other siblings: Ginger (Marvin) Hoekstra, Arlene (Ed) Zander, Russ (Ruth) VanNoort, and Gary (Bev) VanNoort; along with many nieces and nephews. When Betty turned 18, she married Ken Bakker and is survived in death by her loving husband along with their four children: Chris (Gina), Ben (Heather), Rebecca (Rhonda) Daugherty, and Josh (Tracy) who will all miss her greatly. She was a very proud grandmother to six grandsons: Jackson, Seth, Ethan, Owen, Evan, and Jordan; and one granddaughter, Ava who is expected to join us on January 31, 2013. Betty was an avid reader and has a collection of well over 1000 books. She always aspired to write her own book some day and journaled daily. Her biggest devotion was to the Lord and her husband Ken who shared her passion for Christ during their 45 years together. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the Schroeder- Lauer Funeral Home, 3227 Ridge Road, Lansing, IL. The burial will follow at the Oak Ridge Cemetery, also in Lansing. Friends and family are invited to join us to celebrate Betty's life on Friday, February 1, 2012 from 3:00-8:00 p.m. at Schroeder- Lauer Funeral Home. Betty and Ken sponsor seven orphans from third world countries through the Ambassador to the Nations program. Flowers may be sent to the funeral home or, in lieu of flowers, they ask that you consider making a donation through their sponsorship program which can be done online by going to http://www.ambassadorstothenations.com/Donations.html. www.schroederlauer.com
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Published in The Times on Jan. 31, 2013