Raymond N. Westra: July 24, 2017

Published 2:02 pm Monday, August 21, 2017

We say goodbye to Raymond Nelson Westra, Ph.D., joyfully entrusted to Christ on July 24, 2017, born of Netherland immigrants Henry Charles Westra and Cora Westra DeHoog on Nov. 30, 1932, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

His siblings include Charles Henry (deceased), Arlene de Jong, John Westra and Coralyn Le Fabre Van’t Hof. Ray served in the U.S. Army following high school, and then began his extensive education at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he met his beautiful bride to be, Grace Buma. Married June 18, 1956, he continued his work and University studies through Guam, University of Hawaii, University of Miami, University of California-Berkeley, University of North Carolina, University of Georgia and eventually settled in Americus, Georgia, with his doctoral, teaching biology, botany and plant physiology until his retirement from Georgia Southwestern College in 1995.

Post-retirement, they moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he taught for 10 more years at Bellhaven Christian College. After Dr. Westra’s second retirement, he settled on 11 country acres in Fort Valley, Georgia, which proved to be a perfect playground for a lifelong botanist and super-cool grandpa to his 14 grandchildren. Ray is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Grace Buma Westra, and five admiring children; Mary Westra Davidson, Mark Raymond Westra, David John Westra, Debra Anne Westra Etter, and Becki Westra Hayter. His life of sharing, teaching and commitment to his faith has forever enriched the lives of his family, friends and countless students. He not only lived a good life but also was an inspiration to all who knew him. The memory of a good person is a blessing (Proverbs 10:7).

At Dr. Westra’s request, there will be no viewing or funeral service. A gathering for family and friends to celebrate his life will be held at a later date.