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  • Doug Tjapkes

Mary Trap Tjapkes: 1914 - 1995

Doug Tjapkes is a perfect example of a mother’s influence. At Age 4 “If you’re going to keep banging on that piano, you might as well take lessons and turn that noise into music.” Started piano lessons at age 4, switched to classical organ lessons at age 14, and at age 84 still play the piano and/or organ in church every Sunday! Music has always been an integral part of my life! At age 12 “Look at this magazine article about a kid getting on the radio! You’re always imitating radio announcers. Why don’t you try give it a try?” Had my first radio program at 12, my first part-time radio job at age 17, became Grand Rapids’ youngest radio News Director at age 19...and remained in the radio broadcasting business until 1983! One of my first loves, and radio is still dear to my heart! Influence on writing My mom submitted an exceptional poem to a teacher while attending Muskegon High School. The instructor insisted that she had plagiarized the piece, and gave her an F! Who knows what kind of a writer she might have become if that man had been an encourager instead of an ass? She and I loved writing then, and I still do. I think she'd like the books and blogs. Involvement with prisoners My mom established relationships with more than one prisoner, sending letters of encouragement and support on a regular basis, despite words of caution from other members of the family. Her influence no doubt led me to get involved in the Maurice Carter case, and in 2001 to create what is now HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. Importance of personal notes When the memorial service was held for Mary Tjapkes in 1995, people showed up in droves to say that she had dropped them a note, baked them a pie, or invited them for coffee at a critical time in their lives. I’m still trying to live up to that! What a mom! Happy Mother’s Day, Mom...RIP. I’ll see you soon.

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