He had one of the sharpest minds on campus, and one of the sharpest wardrobes (thanks to his wife, Hester). His work in Science and Theology went beyond the bounds of theological study, adding an openly spiritual element to a global, interdisciplinary dialogue. What made him a good mentor and outstanding teacher: he found life fascinating, in its many aspects. He made writing my dissertation much more interesting for his presence on my committee. More than any of these things, Wentzel was a friend.
I spent many hours in the van Huyssteen home, as a guest and as the campus bartender for special events at the seminary. The social grace and gracious spirit to be welcoming, respectful, and comfortable in both circumstances were signs of confidence and hospitality that eluded many others.
Wentzel was part of my life, not just part of my academic life. He and Hester toasted my engagement, celebrated the births of my sons, and made life wonderful with their presence at the dinner table. I am so grateful for his life, and for the blessing he brought into mine.
Tom sent a work of art every year – a Christmas card. Always beautiful, with a wonderful sense of proportion – the kind of art that the heart and soul appreciate as much as the eye.
Angels on High
These images graced our living room for the holidays, and now keep my place in the Bible and Book of Common Prayer. I see them every day, and every day I am grateful for the beauty they bring.
That would have been enough, the gift of beauty. But Tom also brought other gifts: a wonderful, quiet sense of humor; music to fill the worship space; and art in many forms to gladden the hearts of all who sat in the sanctuary of Christ Church.
This past year, Tom’s generosity brought joy in a holiday overshadowed by Covid-19. He let me send his Three Kings to the parish and beyond as an Advent Sunday school activity – the magi on a journey to unknown places, bringing gifts of beauty and hope.
Tom didn’t have to be generous, but he was. Tom didn’t have to gladden the hearts of others with his talents, but he did. The world is better for Tom’s presence, and I am better for spending time in his presence.
Three Kings by Tom Nordquist
Blessings and Peace, and Grateful Thanks for you, Tom.