Steven James Huisken was born in Slayton, MN, on October 12, 1953, to Frederick and Minnie (Hoek) Huisken. The family moved from Lake Wilson to Edgerton when Steve was an infant. Steve was baptized and later made profession of faith at 1st Christian Reformed Church in Edgerton.
As a child, Steve spent his hours exploring the Chanarambie Creek and Rock River. Unfortunately, one of the highlights of his wanderings was when he decided to use an electric fence wire as a makeshift urinal. This event was never repeated. Steve once also mistook poison ivy for bathroom tissue. This occurrence was also a once-in-a-lifetime event. Steve assisted his parents in the Hardware Hank store and also delivered the evening edition of the Minneapolis Star newspaper. According to his two older brothers, when he was a young lad, Steve did not have a stuffed toy. No, he had a mounted, taxidermied badger. There are many tall tales concerning the mishaps and misadventures of Steve and his stuffed badger, but you’ll have to ask his brothers Dave and Charlie about that. In summertime, Steve spent many hours at the Edgerton swimming pool, even performing bravely and impressively from the high dive. Always a lover of literature, he was heavily involved with the Drama Club at Southwest Christian High School, and while there he and a friend made a 16 mm film entitled “The Great Potato Chip” in which he was also a featured actor. This film was not nominated for anything. But his little brother was The Great Potato Chip, a role and performance which will never be duplicated.
After attending Edgerton Christian Grade School and Southwest Christian High School (graduating in 1972), Steve attended college. He took a circuitous route from Calvin College to the University of MN, Twin Cities, to Dordt College, where he earned his teaching certificate and a B.A. degree.
Once Steve graduated from Dordt College, he spent some months teaching in Minneapolis, followed by working with the indigent and homeless in Grand Rapids, MI, at the Guiding Light Mission.
In 1981, with financial and spiritual guidance from Bethel Christian Reformed Church (Edgerton), Steve traveled to Gboko, Benue State, Nigeria in Africa where he taught at the Bristol Second School until 1986. While there, Steve met his future wife, and his future wife met him. Prior to romance and marriage, companionship was provided by the Denny and Kathy Kooiman family, who had preceded him there in service. The Kooimans became Steve’s second family, sharing their hopes and fears at the Benue Cement Plant swimming pool and traveling through the countryside in Steve’s trusty steed, his Toyota Lite Ace, “The Mighty Igor”. While many of the extended Huisken family and their in-laws are avid and skilled fishermen and fisherwomen, it is doubtful that any of them have ever caught a 65 pound Nile Perch, which Steve did at Kortenhoven’s Hole in Nigeria. As a teacher, Steve taught, mentored, and inspired so many students at Bristol. He made it his mission to be the light of Christ to them. He lived life with zest and adventure which entailed frequent fishing trips for Nile Perch in the hippo-inhabited Katsina Ala River and watching movies on video-cassette with the Kooiman girls and countless gatherings of Nigerian youth.
After marrying Mercy Iember Iyorfa, the couple honeymooned in Togo and then traveled to Europe before moving to Minneapolis, MN. There they raised two children, Sarah and Joshua. Steve spent countless hours at Josh’s hockey games and Sarah’s art shows and performances.
Much of Steve’s work experience in Minneapolis was in assisting developmentally disabled adults obtain and maintain work experience and life skills. He worked for Portland Residence, Lifeworks, and MRCI. Steve also spent many Sundays ministering to North Africans who had recently immigrated to Minneapolis.
Steve’s final hours were spent at the Avera South Central Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, where he died when his abundantly-giving heart simply stopped pumping. He died on August 19, 2018.
Steve’s remains will be laid to rest next to his father Fred’s, at the Hillside Cemetery in Edgerton, MN.
Steve relocated to Edgerton from Minneapolis so he could care-take his mother, Min, who at age 96 is still living on Mechanic Street. While in Edgerton, Steve gardened perpetually on Min’s yard, substitute taught in Edgerton and Pipestone, and took his mother on leisurely car rides through the countryside. He also spent countless hours texting with and talking over the phone with his children. When Min now looks outside her den window, she can see Steve’s horticultural handiwork, a vivid display of technicolor flowers, a constant reminder of her son’s abiding love and care, not only for her, but also for Steve’s children, brothers, nieces and nephews, a multitude of cousins, and his friends. The household cat, Rooney, and a number of stray outdoor cats will dearly miss Steve’s doting attention.
He was preceded in death by his father, Frederick. He is survived by his wife, Mercy; his children Sarah (Minneapolis) and Josh (Minneapolis); Mother, Min (Edgerton) and his brothers, David (Philadelphia), Charles (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and Douglas and his spouse, Marnie (Minneapolis), and his many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be contributed to Hope Haven or Bread For The World or Second Harvest Food Bank.
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