Share a special moment from Ginnie's life.

Shared by Ellen Dozier on January 23, 2021
Ginnie, Bobbi and I always celebrated our "January/February" birthdays together.  Here we are in 2016 enjoying ttime with one another and a great meal at the Thai restaurant in Black Mountain.  We had planned to get together in 2020, had a date set, but the pandemic changed all that.  Nevertheless I have such good memories not only of our birthday celebrations together but  of so many meals, travel adventures, hard work shred with these two special people in my life.  Doy gracias a Dios hoy por la vida, fe y amistad de Ginnie!

A memory from Ineke Calis-van Ginkel

Shared by Rob Stevens on January 18, 2021
      We, Gijs and I, met the Stevens family in spring 1977, when Gijs started working on the University of Nijmegen in the Mösssbauer Spectroscopy group of Jan Trooster, where he met John Stevens. John was in The Netherlands for 1 year and lived with his family in Wychen. Gijs invited John and family to visit us in our house in Molenhoek to eat pancakes.  For me that was the first contact with John, Ginnie, Shelly, Rob and John G.

     In the summer holiday of 1978 Ginnie asked me to accompany her and the kids to the Openluchtmuseum in Arnhem. I took two 12 year old girls with me. She were our guests.  Four kids had a lot of fun in the garden and Ginnie, Shelly and I enjoyed the sculptures in the garden and the paintings of Vincent van Gogh in the museum.

     In 1979 we went to a Mössbauer conference in Portoroz (former Yugoslavia), where we met John and Ginnie again. It was amazing to see how many people Ginnie reconized by name and what she knew about them concerning their publcations in the Mössbauer field.  That all had to do with her work for the Mössbauer Effect Data Center. And how quick she could understand things that people tried to tell her in their different languages.  She had a very good  linguistic feeling and was a great networker.

     The Edinburgh Mössbauer conference in 1980 brought us again together. We climbed Arthur's Seat where on top of the hill we were eating filled potatoes and listened to Ginnie's story about her visit with the kids to the London Dungeons. She was interested in history,  history of her own country and of the countries she visited.

     After Jan Trooster died in 1981 John Stevens became Gijs' supervisor for his Ph. D. : "A Mössbauer study on dynamic electron spin behaviour".

John invited Gijs and me to come to Asheville (NC) to make progress in finishing the thesis. We were guests in the Stevens house on Woodbury Road. Ginnie showed us around on the Blue Ridge Parkway, to Cherokee Indian Reservation and to Biltmore House and Gardens. A good alternation of work and leisure-time.

The Ph.D. ceremony was on June 24 and John came, together with Shelly, to attend the graduation. They stayed with us and that was a lot of fun.  Shelly playing the flute in the middle of the night (thanks to the time difference) an John trying to pronounce the Dutch   "Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen". Ginnie would have loved it to be with us to attend the Ph.D. ceremony.

     From Oktober 1981 until the end of January 1982 we lived in Asheville, NC where Ginnie had found two rooms for us in an old colonial house on Pearson Drive. Gijs worked, together with Li Zhe, a physicist from Beijing (PRC),  on the Mössbauer Department of the UNCA, to build a Mössbauer measurement apparatus. The Stevens family, Li Zhe, Gijs and I did a lot of things together.  We went for the autumn-walk of the university, picking apples in an orchard, Gijs gave a performance as Sinterklaas with Rob and John G. as Black Peters, we attended church ceremonies and Li Zhe, Gijs and I went to Disney (Fl) as Ginnie advised us. And on New Yearsday we were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to Ginnie we had a great time that four months.

     The years after we saw each other now and then. We went to the USA,  or John and Ginnie came to The Netherlands to see their friends and for biking.  On a city trip to Maastricht (15 km from our house in Hulsberg) we attended a very special puppet-theater, without puppets. Children of the audience had to play the story the director told them. It was amazing to see how it all worked and it gave us all a lot of pleasure, laughing and hilarity.

     In 1992 we met the Stevens family on the San Juan Islands in the Pudget Sound. Ginnie told me about her study Theology and the preaching she did in the mountainous area around Asheville. She made a very enthusiastic impression on me. It seemed she did not miss her job for the Mössbauer Effect Data Center, although she had done that for a very long time.

     2004 was our last time in the USA, seeing each other there.

     In 2010 Gijs was diagnosted for Alzheimer. Ginnie, who was afraid Gijs would not recognize her when she waited too long to come, came in 2011.  Happily Gijs recognized her immediately on the railway platform and was very glad to see Ginnie as was Ginnie. We enjoyed her stay with us and travelled with her to Marguerite and Paul in Mook, from were she went to Gudrun in Doesburg and Harry and Jannie in Leusden. It was Ginnie's last trip to the Netherlands. She has sent us the pictures of her visit.

Two other trips she planned for 2017 and 2018 had to be canceled and that was a great pity for her.

     The latest years, we contacted each other by mail and some telephone calls. Ginnie wrote about her moving to the surroundings of Atlanta , about physical problems and all what had to do with that. Her passing away was not unexpected for me. I will miss her.

     I (Gijs died in May 2017) will remember Ginnie as an active friend, interested in people, sympathizing her Dutch friends, enjoying travelling, get to know new people, new things, loving  nature and culture,  her hospitality. And the mother she was and the love she had for her children and her grandchildren and her love for us, her Dutch friends Gijs and I.

That is the friend I will keep in mind.

-Ineke Calis-van Ginkel

Guatemala Ties

Shared by Deborah McEachran on January 15, 2021
Ginnie spearheaded our Presbytery's Guatemala partnership for many years.  It would not have flourished without her steadfast, loving persistence to continually invite new people to experience relationships with our Guatemalan brothers and sisters (either in NC or in Guatemala) or her commitment to keeping up the ties between the two communities. 
I recently quoted one of her foundational teachings for traveling to visit our Guatemalan partners in a sermon.  Ginnie taught us that when we travel to another culture/country, we should travel with empty hands.  When we travel with hands full of stuff to give, we cause harm to the relationship we have or want to have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we travel with empty hands, we are so much more ready for a hug, a handshake, the chance to work side by side, to play a game with the children, and much more. Ginnie was so, so wise, and I am very grateful that I could learn from her.
Shared by Marguerite Trooster on January 15, 2021
Dear Shelly, Rob and John,

Our friendship with Ginnie was a golden friendship. Not only because it lasted over 50 years, but also because it was so precious to my family.
In 1967 my husband Jan Trooster, a physicist at the University of Nijmegen finished his thesis on the Mössbauer Effect. He got a 2-year grant to work at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. So we moved to New Brunswick with Steven and Rose, who were 5 and 4 years old at that time. 
In 1971 and 1972 we returned to Rutgers for the summer.
As John and Ginnie were also involved in the Mössbauer community, we came to meet each other and our families.
In 1977 Ginnie and John and their children came to Nijmegen. John and Jan worked together at the  Research Institute for Materials of the Department of Physical Chemistry.
We found them a home, next to Piet and Gudrun, and a school for their children. And Ginnie learned Dutch, so she could communicate with Dutch people.
Our families shared the same passions: bicycling, sailing and camping.
Ginnie and her family returned for shorter stays to Nijmegen . One time their home was a very primitive house on the grounds of an apple farm. There was no furniture, so we had to borrow and improvise to make it liveable. But Ginnie loved it. Even on an antique stove she could do wonders.
In 1978 Jan returned to Rutgers for another year. In the spring of 1980 he became terminally ill. In November Ginnie came over to Nijmegen to help us and to say goodbye to Jan. For days she stood in the kitchen preparing meals and baking bread. After she left , we had the freezer filled with delicious food. 
In 1982 Steven graduated from High School and he was invited to stay with John and Ginnie in Asheville for 3 weeks. 
Steven, Paul and I were invited to Rob and Katia’s wedding. Ginnie had planned an international buffet, and we had brought cheese from France and Belgium.
After the wedding we were invited to stay at the beach with her for a week. Shelly was there too with her baby. The house was a dream and the crabcakes delicious.
Later Ginnie visited us several times. One time she brought Shelly and Sophia with her to stay with us in Mook. It was great to have our families together.  
Ginnie was always interested in our family and kept us up to date of the (sportive) performances and wellbeing of her grandchildren and children.
We will miss her dearly.

Marguerite, Paul, Steven and Rose Trooster   

Some Memories . . .

Shared by Douglas Michael on January 10, 2021
Ginnie and I would have met for the first time as committees were being established for the new interim presbytery in the 1980’s.  I recall that we shared geographic roots, hailing from the south Jersey / far eastern Pennsylvania region.  And, I recall learning early on that she had wanted to be a missionary, but that that had not happened.  She seemed a bit wistful about that.

I remember:

  • Being at the table with Ginnie, fatigued, when it was decided we should proceed with an international partnership with brothers and sisters in Guatemala.I had no idea of the blessings this would bring my way, or how Ginnie would bring Mimi into the women's work, which developed into the Microloan program. 
  • Ginnie’s concept of time; that is, how many hours she could contribute to a task that was designated as “part-time, 20 hours / week.”
  • Her car, and the tools of her trade - a not-so-recent model vehicle, packed with projector, screen, books, games, boxes, colorful items from many countries and cultures, so many resources, filling the car completely, sparing only the driver's seat.  Once, I believe, and no more often, I rode with her, the preparation, and the shifting of objects to find space for a passenger, requiring more time than the trip. 
  • Countless phone calls to 828-258-8220.  Right down the middle of the phone keypad, straying neither right, nor left.  (If anyone is not sure I remember it correctly, the number can be Googled; I recommend trying it, even now!)
  • An intergenerational missions fair she provided to our church in Newton in the late 1980’s.  A few weeks later, our family was talking about something we thought was unrelated, and we asked our oldest child what she thought she wanted to do when she grew up.  Elizabeth, now a pastor, was then about 7 or 8, and responded, "I want to be like Jenny."  It took us a while to determine who "Jenny" was!  She had missed the name slightly, but had captured Ginnie’s essence.
Ginnie brought many of us together, helped plant us where we would flourish, and cared for us.  We have been richly blessed indeed, having had such a wonderful, tireless, humble, “never-got-to-be-a-missionary” servant among us.

Mimi and Doug Michael

Impressions from my friendship with Ginnie

Shared by gudrun Gilhuis-Glenthøj on January 9, 2021
Dear John, Rob and Shelly and families, dear siblings and families of Ginnie.

In 1976 the Stevens family came into our family’s life. When I introduced myself as a Dane to Ginnie, she answered: I am Norwegian. I was so happy than we could talk together in our own language, but unfortunately, she never learned much of her mother’s language. We were neighbours for a whole year and after that year the Stevens family came back 3 summers, every time leaving bikes and stuff in our attic in Wijchen at de Heilige Stoel (the Holy Chair, yes that was the name of our neighbourhood!),

It should become 45 years of friendship. On and off we had contact through letters and later much easier by emails. Every Christmas at least the family chronicle of the Stevens family.

1992 we went to visit you in Asheville, Karsten celebrated his 18th birthday in your home, Ginnie organized a small party for him with Dutch friends (Gijs and Ineke) who were around. Mirjam was 14 at the time. We never forgot your hospitality. It was very warm that summer, and as we arrived the fridge broke down. JohnG was send out to buy a new one, while we brought the stuff from the freezer to the neighbour’s freezer. And we experienced for the first time a fridge with cold iced water tapped directly from the fridge, one of the American wonders we experienced! And we borrowed your car to drive to the Blue Ridge.

Both Karsten and Mirjam went back to the States. Karsten to study at NYU for a semester and Mirjam much later to attend a conference in Chicago, from where she visited Shelly.

1996 Ginnie came with John camping for two weeks in the Netherlands. We had a reunion with them and their Dutch friends on the occasion of our Silver wedding. We had become friends with their friends, too. Unfortunately, their marriage stranded thereafter.

I don’t know exactly when Ginny came with Shelly and her daughter Sophia. She wanted to show the Netherlands to the next generation.

In 2010 Ginnie and I toured in New Jersey visiting the places of her childhood. It was so fun to hear: 0h look! at that farm this friend lived and there another. We even visited the house where she grew up. She recognized everything. And having breakfast in a restaurant with Wendy and another sister-in-law she met her boyfriend from when she was 13, hilarious! Now he had Alzheimer! We visited an Amish village in Pennsylvania, which Ginnie never visited before. New for both of us. And both of us all the time wondering, how this lifestyle could still be kept alive. Our coachman told us that many women were sitting in the front garden with their hand to their ear. Guess why? He himself had no telephone in his house, but in the barn, so that he could call hospital when it was necessary.

We had a lot of fun together and for me it was very interesting to meet Gennie’s family in New Jersey and eat crab cakes. A very nice memory was, when we were invited by Wendy (sister-in-law) to have some special doughnuts. Under our excursion that day Wendy phoned to tell us to come and eat our sandwich at her house. And when we came there Ginnie’s brother and his wife were there, too, with their sandwiches! And afterwards we had doughnuts and a blueberry cake. Pfff! That was a lot food. We went to Shelly’s family in Boston at that time. From there we went to Plymouth where everything was in the atmosphere of Mayflower in 1627.

I often use as an example of the American health system, that Shelly had to consider if she would go to the doctor on Sunday with the infected finger of her son. Unbelievable for a European, and an eye opener. Eventually she did. And Ginnie never got new knees because she could not afford it, it might too be stubbornness! But she would rather use her money to travel. By the way Ginnie was one of the first persons I knew who talked about sustainability already back in the 80’es. And she was always busy to recycle and fix things and live as healthy but sober as possible.

Later she came by herself to the Netherlands to visit Ineke and especially Gijs, who had started having Alzheimer, and that summer she attended the opening of an art exhibition of my late daughter in law.

When Ginnie in 2018 had to cancel what she reckoned to be her last visit to the Netherlands, very thoroughly planned, it was a big sorrow and disappointment for her and for us, her friends.

Two years ago, March 2019 I went to see her in her new apartment. And what had she done as the first thing in her new surroundings? She took care that every resident of the house was correct introduced in a written portfolio with all residents, so that you could look each other up, to see your interests, hobbies, and origin. That was Ginnie: always trying to bring people together, to connect.

She took me to Martin Lither Kings memorial place. And as Rob joined us that week, he had to do some administration things for her, he took over driving and we went to cabbage village with all its street art and the Cyclorama. We had dinner twice with Johns family. And she arranged dinners in the house trying to connect neighbours in the house with one another and now with me and Rob (she was proud to introduce her son). Amazingly we could take a walk around the little pond and in the woods. And Ginnie did it all within 6 days. I suppose she was very tired afterwards.

We both realized that it would be the last time meet in this world. And it was.
Honoured be her memory. Æret være hendes minde !
I hope that I’ll succeed in being connected with Ginnies family. Know that you always have somewhere to stay in the Netherlands and in Denmark.

Share a story

Illustrate your story with a picture, music or video (optional):