I came across R. E. Werkman as I indexed local news columns in the weekly Holland City News. At first I did not know Werkman, his family, or his doings. But this man, who had caught the eye of the newspaper editor and publisher, caught my eye too. From a series of facts would emerge a flesh and blood man who had a significant part in the Holland, Michigan scene. But he was never considered a hero in Holland.
In 1997 I learned that Werkman's daughter from Santa Barbara, California, had come to town and wanted to know more about him. We made contact and her notes and materials considerably enhanced my research. I have told part of Werkman's story in two articles in Calvin College's Origins. The first covered his career in Holland, Michigan, and the second dealt with his later career. This paper attempts to tie both segments of his life into a single story.