Wesley James Rozema, former professor of mathematics

Wesley Rozema

Wesley James Rozema, who taught mathematics at NAU for 31 years, died Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. He was 80.

Mr. Rozema was born Oct. 23, 1930, in Grand Rapids, Mich. He graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He married Ruth Vida Smitter, also of Grand Rapids, in 1950.

Mr. Rozema taught high school math, physics and directed the choir on the Zuni Indian Reservation in New Mexico from 1955 to 1963. He earned his master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 1961, and two years later began teaching mathematics at NAU. He especially enjoyed his involvement in teacher training programs for math teachers on reservation schools. He spent his summers working with the U.S. Geological Survey doing terrain studies for lunar vehicles or driving a Pepsi-Cola truck on the Navajo Nation. He was a charter member of Hope Community Church, where he served as elder and choir director for many years.

Mr. Rozema retired from NAU in 1994 and moved with Ruth to Sedona. He became very involved in relief work with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, making trips to Malawi, Africa, Nicaragua and several places in the United States that were affected by natural disasters. He had a passion for bringing help to people in need. He was a man of integrity, humility, humor, compassion and peace with an exceptionally generous spirit. He loved to spend time with his family—hiking, fishing, traveling, singing and going to gather wood. He enjoyed engaging in “pun wars” with anyone willing to participate.

Mr. Rozema is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughters Ellen (Les) Willsey of Mesa, Carole (Jim) McMurray of Dillingham, Alaska, and Margie (Ruben) Campos of Huntington Beach, Calif.; sons David (Judith) of Kearney, Neb., and Mark (Leann) Rozema of Lynnwood, Wash.; brother Don (Barb) Rozema of Phoenix; sister Virginia Kreeft of Denver; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Services were held at Hope Community Church in Flagstaff. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to support the relief work of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.