H97-1286. Beld, Gordon G. ( -2014). Papers, 1996, 2014. 2.75 linear ft.


Hope College

Document Type



The son of George H. and Josephine (De Young) Beld, he was a graduate of Wyoming High School and earned degrees from Hope College and the University of Michigan. He was married to Martha Debbink of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, three days after graduation from Hope. As a trooper of the U. S. Constabulary, he served in the occupation of Germany after World War II. He was director of news services and publications at Alma College from 1965 until his retirement in 1989. Prior to his tenure at Alma, he was an editorial staff member of The Grand Rapids Press and The Grand Rapids Herald; a teacher at Kelloggsville, Godwin Heights, and Wyoming Public Schools in suburban Grand Rapids; and director of information services for Wyoming Schools. After leaving Alma, he was employed part-time as an academic advisor at Davenport College in Grand Rapids and as a writer for Grand Valley State University. While at Alma, his publications received awards from the American College Public Relations Association, American Alumni Council, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In 1976, Beld received one of four national citations from CASE for photography by editors of higher education publications. Interested in local and regional history, he was the first chairman of the Wyoming Historical and Cultural Commission (1963-1965) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Holland Area Historical Society (1997-2003). The first of his more than 200 historical features published by newspapers and magazines were six series on Michigan and Midwest history carried in Sunday editions of The Grand Rapids Press during the 1960s. During the first decade of the 21st century, he wrote several features for Michigan History and Grand Rapids magazines. His historical novel, A Gentle Breeze from Gossamer Wings, was published in 1999. Refugees and other immigrants were the focus of his voluntary efforts. He and Martha assisted Cambodian refugees while in Alma, Vietnamese in Grand Rapids, and Kosovars and Cubans in Holland. In 1987, he researched and wrote The Hmong in a Promised Land, a monograph published by the Episcopal Church, New York City, which was based on interviews of Hmong refugees and service providers in Syracuse, New York; La Cross, Wisconsin; and Fresno, California. Since 1989, he provided voluntary editorial and photographic services for Exodus World Service, a refugee-assistance agency based in greater Chicago. In 1994, he was the first recipient of Exodus’s Open Arms Service Award, presented annually since then to recognize outstanding service in behalf of refugees. From 1997 to 2005, Beld was a tutor of immigrants learning English as a second language, first in Holland Community Education classes and then at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. He passed away in May 2014, in Holland, Michigan. The collection includes biographical information, the novel by Beld titled A Gentle Breeze from Gossamer Wings (1999); slides of Hope College, Macatawa Park, Ottawa Beach, and aerial views of Holland; copies of many of his newspaper articles and a paper titled “Holland’s Indochinese: A Blessing From Failed U.S. Policies,” by Gordon G. Beld, November 11, 1996; and 8mm films/DVDs illustrating the following subjects: Byron Center Road; Burton Street (Grand Rapids) rail yard wreck; Hope College campus (Carnegie Gym, Dimnent Chapel, Zwemer Hall, Van Raalte Hall, Graves Hall, Van Vleck Hall, T-Dorm [barracks]); Army Air Corps flyover; steam train passing through Holland; T-Dorm interior; Russ Norden, Jerry Viening, Dave Hoogerhyde, Gord Beld, and Robert Schuller; football game at Riverview Stadium; ice at Holland State Park; and unidentified channel dredge.


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