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Stephen Holtrop

Stephen Holtrop, age 64 of Sioux Center, Iowa died Saturday, October 14, 2023, at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota following a one-year battle with esophagus cancer. 

A memorial service will be at 10:30 AM, Saturday, November 11, 2023, at Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, IA, with Rev. Joel Kok officiating.

Visitation will be held from 4pm to 6pm Friday, November 10, 2023, at Memorial Funeral Home in Sioux Center.

Steve Dean Holtrop was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on October 9, 1959, to Philip and Marie (Greenfield) Holtrop. He spent his childhood in Amsterdam, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. He was active in Boy Scouts of America, as an Eagle Scout and working summers at camp. Steve attended Calvin College (now Calvin University), where he majored in English and education with a minor in religion. At Calvin Steve met his wife, Sharon Bouma. They were married in 1981.

Steve and Sharon moved to Florida, where Steve taught English at Westminster Christian School. Their first daughter Rachel was born in Florida. A few years later they moved to Iowa, where their second daughter Elizabeth and son Stephen Henry “Jimmy” were born. The family moved to Sioux Center, where Steve taught English at Unity Christian High School, and then Iowa City, where Steve attended the University of Iowa. 

Steve graduated with his PhD in Education from the University of Iowa in 1992. The family moved to Indiana, where Steve joined the faculty at Huntington College (now Huntington University). During his time at Huntington, Steve taught in the Education department and served as department chair, associate dean, and dean of the graduate and online programs. He was a frequent presenter at conferences and was active with the Christian Adult Higher Education Association. 

Summers were spent traveling as a family, spending time with relatives at the lake in Michigan; criss-crossing the country camping out of the back of the family’s beloved Crown Victoria station wagon; and filled with bike rides and kayak trips. Steve and Sharon homeschooled their children and enjoyed presenting at conferences on parenting and child education. As a family, bedtime stories were a routine for years and included reading aloud literature from Shakespeare to Steinbeck to The Baby-Sitters Club. 

Steve spent many hours driving his kids to activities. He could be found grading papers during Rachel’s orchestra rehearsals, Rachel and Elizabeth’s dance classes, and Elizabeth’s theater classes. Jimmy and Steve explored local airfields together and mapped many airplanes taking off and landing. 

In 2014, Steve accepted a position at Dordt University. At Dordt, Steve taught in the Education department and worked with graduate students. He enjoyed exploring local parks and spent many hours hiking the trails. 

Steve was a member of various churches in his lifetime, including First Presbyterian Church in Huntington and Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center. Over the years Steve taught Sunday school and catechism and served as a trustee and elder in his congregations. In his free time, Steve was an active photographer. From teaching high school journalism and running the school darkroom, he progressed to years of candid photography, capturing memories from family parties and events, his daughters’ dance performances, and many candid snapshots. In later years Steve preferred solitary nature photography. 

Steve is survived by his wife of 42 years, Sharon Bouma; his children Rachel Holtrop, Elizabeth Holtrop, and Jimmy Bouma-Holtrop; mother, Marie Holtrop; brothers Philip (Sandy) Holtrop, Daniel Holtrop, and Peter Holtrop; and numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews. He is preceded in death by his father, Philip Holtrop; and sister-in-law, Julie Holtrop.