Wesley William Sikkema, M.D


Wesley William Sikkema passed away peacefully to be with the Lord Monday, April 4th at the age of 80.

Born in 1930 to Clayton and Freda Sikkema in Morrison, Illinois, Wes arrived just in time for the Great Depression to hit, and in his formative years quickly learned about hardship. Together with his upbringing in the Reformed Church, he molded these lessons into an amazing life of service.

After graduating high school, he left Illinois for Hope College in Holland, Michigan. There he met and married H. Mary La Huis, and found his calling in the medical studies. Soon Wes began medical school at the University of Michigan, and while there he joined the US Public Health Service, a uniformed, commissioned service under the Surgeon General with ties to the other military services. Wes eventually attained the rank of Captain. After serving internships in Michigan in the late 1950s, Wes was deployed by USPHS to the Puget Sound region in the state of Washington.

Once there, Wes and Mary sought a spiritual community and found it in the Presbytery, a Reformed Church affiliate. Wes’ service at USPHS eventually landed him in Seattle, and they chose to reside in a brand-new subdivision east of Lake Washington called Newport Hills. Wes and Mary were on the Presbytery committee that eventually purchased the land on which Newport United Presbyterian Church was built. They subsequently joined that church, and after 50 years that membership still continues.

Ten years into his career Wes felt God calling him to Mission. He placed his career on hold, packed up his young family and left for Ethiopia to perform medical service for the destitute in that nation. Within months the USPHS would recall him to the U.S., but not before he treated a young Ethiopian girl that had suffered terrible injuries in a fire. Wes and Mary knew that this girl, disabled from her injuries, would not have a good life in Africa and in a stunning act of selflessness brought her to the U.S. and adopted her. In that spirit, for many years Wes and Mary were active in African refugee relocation programs, sometimes opening their home to those seeking asylum.

Wes resumed his career at USPHS, eventually becoming Chief of Surgery at the Beacon Hill USPHS Marine Hospital. A decade passed, when federal budget problems threatened closure of the facility. Rather than allow that to happen, Wes got together with a team of other medical professionals with a stake in the facility, and they took it upon themselves to take over operation of the hospital and run it privately. Through that team’s diligence and dedication, Pacific Medical Center was born.

Once PacMed was running, and his children reaching adulthood, Wes again felt the call of the Mission and with Mary returned to Africa. For many months Wes again volunteered his medical skill to make a difference in the lives of people so poor they literally have nothing but the shirts on their backs, and sometimes not even that. This time it was political upheaval in the Horn of Africa that forced his return to Seattle. Wes then finished his career as Chief of Surgery at PacMed, performing a wide variety of services including teaching at the University of Washington Hospital and presenting at international medical conferences.

In 1997 he settled into quiet retirement with his wife Mary and took on his most satisfying position yet- grandfather. He was as good at that as he was all his other work.

It would be impossible here to outline all that was exceptional about Wes; his devotion to his wife and family; his selflessness and humility; his commitment to service; his skill as a surgeon; his faith in God and his Son Jesus Christ. Suffice it to say he was an exceptional man, and he will be missed.

Wes is survived by H. Mary Sikkema, his loving wife of 59 years; sister Lillian Woodyatt; brother Verne Sikkema and wife Lorraine; brother Ron Sikkema and wife Kathy; daughter Helen Kraft and husband Bob Mierendorf; daughter Brehani Sikkema; son Carl Sikkema and wife Carol; son Glenn Sikkema; and his three beautiful grandchildren Mary Mattea Kraft, Thomas Sikkema and Derek Sikkema.

 

If you wish to make a donation in honor of Wes, they can be made to World Vision (http://www.worldvision.org) in honor of Wes’ commitment to international service and charity. We arranged a World Vision code to use; it is 105429418. To donate, call 888-511-6401 or write a check and send it to:

World Vision

PO box 9716

Federal Way, WA

98063-9716

Be sure to put the World Vision code on the check.

Services will be held at Newport United Presbyterian Church (http://www.newportpres.org) on April 16 at 2:00 PM:

4010 120th Ave. SE,

Bellevue, WA 98006.

4 Responses to “Wesley William Sikkema, M.D”

  • Gretchen McKay says:

    Dear Carl and Glenn,

    My son, Riley, played on your soccer team a few years ago. I wanted to express my deepest sympahty for the loss of you Dad. He sounded like a wonderful, giving man and he definitely passed that on to you both. Our biggest sign of success in life can be seen in the children we raise. Your Dad must have been a great man. Again, I am so very sorry for your loss. Gretchn MCkay

  • Michael Niebauer says:

    To the Sikkema Family,
    I remember Wes vividly, especially in his uniform. Throughout my naval career I remembered Wes telling me about how much enjoyment he got out of serving his country and others.
    I will remember the kitten I received from your family and the trust Wes put in me to cat/house sit while the family was away.
    Having lost our father this past year I know how much your husband, father and grand-dad will be missed.
    The prayers of the entire Niebauer family are with you all. God Bless.
    Mike

  • Cheryl Schut says:

    My sympathy.
    Glad we had the time with Uncle Wes and all of you together a few years back.
    Imagine my arms around you and feel wishes for peace being sent your way.
    Love, Cheryl

  • Student_NOC_EH says:

    My mentor Dr Sikkema, I will take your advice: “Don’t take your eyes off your goal, stay focused” Rest well.

    Noc person from EH

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