The sudden loss of alumna Ruth M. Ozinga (nee Gombis), wife of Martin Ozinga III, has deeply saddened the Trinity Christian College community. Ruth died on Friday, October 8, 2010, of a heart attack. She was 61 years old.
“Ruth Ozinga was a gentle giant of faith,” said Larryl Humme, vice president for development. “Filled with the Spirit and humble, she quietly walked through her life having a deep impact on everyone she met. There are touches of her beauty and grace all over this campus. The ways in which she touched the lives of so many of her fellow Trinity Christian College alumni is felt worldwide. Our prayers are with Marty and the family.”
Most recently, Marty III and Ruth served as co-chairs of the College’s ongoing Capital Campaign, The Time Is Now. That commitment, however, was just one tangible example of their dedication to the College. Ruth designed the banners that hang in the Fireside Room and the Grand Lobby of the Ozinga Chapel. The banners were used for the College’s two most recent presidential inaugurations and have been admired by thousands throughout the years, the latter reminding students and visitors alike to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 12:23).” Marty III is currently serving on Trinity’s board of trustees.
For their tireless mission efforts, Marty III and Ruth were honored with the 2006 Trinity Global Service Award, presented at Jubilation!, the College’s annual fundraising event. The award recognized the Ozinga’s work with the Luke Society, an organization of Christian professionals dedicated to medical missions. The Ozinga’s work has sought to not only help those in need, but also equip them to help themselves and others in the future.
Having raised six sons, four of whom attended the College, Ruth had a heart for teenagers. She helped start a prayer and mentoring network of parents and students at Chicago Christian High School in the 1990s with the goal of building bridges between the generations. She believed that a group of adults who supported the students and prayed for them was necessary to ensure their commitment to living lives that honor God.
“I have a passion for young people and feel it is important to model what it means to love and serve Jesus,” Ruth said in a 2005 interview for Trinity’s President’s Report. “We are called to reflect the Lord’s image to the culture and share what He has given us by demonstrating generous, unselfish love. As we walk with Him, He will lead us in the way we should go.”
And it is that unselfish love that made Ruth so unique. She was also a past member of Trinity’s Women’s Guild, which coordinates various activities and fundraisers to benefit the College’s student body.
“The Spirit of Christ was evident in every kind word, thoughtful gesture, and loving embrace provided by Ruth Ozinga,” said President Steve Timmermans. “Most significantly, she gave of herself to countless numbers, living out her faith in every way.”
Ruth is survived by her husband of 40 years and their children Martin IV (Amy), Karl (Amber), Justin (Annie), Aaron (Amanda), Paul (Sarah), and Timothy (Amanda), along with 15 grandchildren. She was the beloved sister of Theodore (Niki) Gombis and Dr. Leon (Kathryn) Gombis; the dear sister-in-law of Ken (Judy) Ozinga and Beverly Ozinga; and the fond aunt of many nieces and nephews.
Visitation was held at the Colonial Chapel in Orland Park, Illinois, on October 12. Thoughts and condolences were expressed at www.colonialchapel.com. The funeral service was at the Eagle Rock Community Church in Homer Glen, Illinois, on October 13. Memorial contributions can be made to the Trinity Christian College stained-glass window project.