from Rev. Dr. Johanna van Wijk Bos
A.David Bos – February 15, 1935-February 12, 2011
David was born before the outbreak of the Second World War, at the tail-end of the depression, in Holland, Michigan, at the time a homogenous town, settled by Dutch dissidents in the middle of the 19th century. He went on from Holland High School to attend Harvard College and subsequently Union Seminary in New York. As a Presbyterian minister in the town of Olean, New York, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship, which he spent in The Netherlands at Leiden University where I was preparing for an advanced degree in theology. We met there and married in the Pieterskerk in Leiden in 1966. This coming year would have marked our 45th wedding anniversary.
David was raised in a household fairly typical for the time, with his parents filling traditional roles of breadwinner and homemaker. Yet, from the beginning of our acquaintance, David was a major cheerleader and booster of my studies and eventual career. When my world was turned upside down by Mary Daly and other feminist thinkers of the seventies, he was right there alongside me, often ahead of me in identifying and critiquing the patriarchal nature of the structures in which we live and work, in secular and religious contexts. When eventually the Women’s Center came into existence at the Seminary, his interest in and support for our activities was enthusiastic and unflagging. He was present at all our major events, did not miss a single one of the Katie Geneva Cannon Lectures, furnished financial backing for our fundraising dinners, marched with us during the Louisville AIDS walk, and rejoiced with us when we acquired new space on the campus. While he was engaged in a number of movements for social change, among them housing and health care for all, gender equity was always in his sights as a part of our structures that is in crucial need of change. He helped me to understand heterosexism and homophobia as part and parcel of the patriarchal mores and standards that rule our world and our religion.
His death entails a loss for the movement toward single payer healthcare, for our family and my household, and also for the Women’s Center. I have established a memorial fund in David’s memory at the Seminary, to be administered through the agency of the Women’s Center. In the coming months we shall determine the specific use to which we will put the fund. As we celebrate Women’s History month, I lift up and celebrate the enormous significance of this man in my personal life, a life partner without whom I would not have been able to see any of my undertakings to their end.