He hasn't lived in Ann Arbor his entire life, but he's come close. "I was born in Grand Rapids in 1959 but immediately left with my family for Amsterdam," Postema explains. "My father was on a Fulbright scholarship, and the family came to Ann Arbor in 1963."
A Dutch Reformed minister originally from the south side of Chicago, Don Postema studied theology in Amsterdam before becoming pastor of the Campus Chapel on Washtenaw, a post he held for more than thirty years. He and his wife, Elaine, bought their home on the southwest side when the neighborhood was new and Scio Church and Maple were dirt roads.
"That neighborhood was very modest then," Postema remembers, "much more modest than now. And it was filled with children. I have two sisters and an older brother, and most families had four or five kids. That's what Ann Arbor was like back then. And kids were allowed to roam free. This city attorney roamed free. We went everywhere on our bikes. You were let loose in the morning and expected to come home at some point for meals."
Postema grew into an outstanding scholar and star athlete, and he readily acknowledges his parents' influence. "My father was very active in the community, and we discussed all the big issues of the day at the dinner table: the Vietnam war, civil rights, justice, peace.