Faith Grieves the Loss of Dr. Van Hooser
November 6, 2020
Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary grieves the loss of Dr. R. Irving Van Hooser, who lost his battle with cancer on Thursday, November 5, 2020. “Doc Van,” as he was affectionately known, retired from Faith in 2019 after 24 years of ministry. He was beloved by faculty, staff, and students, and will always be remembered for his sense of humor, his energy, his passion for music, his love of bicycling (especially with his son Ryan), and his love for his family.
Dr. Christopher Ellis, successor to Dr. Van Hooser as the music department chair in 2019, shared his thoughts about Dr. Van Hooser with the following tribute to his former mentor, colleague, and friend:
“Dr. R. Irving Van Hooser arrived at Faith in the fall of 1995 after his family had made the difficult decision to leave the music ministry at Forestville Baptist Church in the Cincinnati area. In 2001, when the FBBC Chorale had the opportunity to sing in that church at the end of the spring tour, he reminisced with some of his students how much he loved that ministry, and how much that church loved his family. But Irv felt God’s call to go to Faith and to train future musicians for God’s service.
Irv brought a wealth of academic and practical experience to the music department at Faith, but also, and at least equally important, an insatiable desire to instill in students a passion for ministry of all kinds. He had a significant impact on music majors, pushing them to excellence in making music for the glory of God, but his influence easily extended beyond music majors, primarily through the ministry of the Chorale. He was not shy in promoting a main purpose of the European Chorale trips—that God would use the trip to call students to missionary service in Europe. There are currently some missionaries in Europe who were a part of those trips (Doc Van’s final European Chorale trip memories were written by him here in 2019).
Perhaps one of the most significant evidences of the impact of Irv’s ministry at Faith was the number of former students and Chorale members who made the trip back to Ankeny to honor him at his final Commencement Concert. He, in an effort to be considerate (and perhaps in his mind realistic), had only invited former students within a certain radius of the campus. It was his students who extended the invitation to include all of his former students, and they responded. Around 100 students from all of his 24 years at Faith concluded his final, formal concert at Faith. (He also revealed his closely guarded secret that the “R.” stood for Roland, though he did let it slip out in one of his classes early in his tenure).
Irv’s time at Faith is marked by his love for the Word of God, his passion for ministry and service, and his drive for musical excellence. It was his daily mission to instill these values into his students. His example stands as a high standard for those whom he taught and for those who follow him in training and impacting the next generation of servant leaders for Christ.”