Retired Christian bookstore owner was passionate about sharing his faith

2014-06-17T11:00:00Z 2014-06-17T16:35:31Z Retired Christian bookstore owner was passionate about sharing his faithDiane Poulton Times Correspondent
June 17, 2014 11:00 am  • 

HIGHLAND | Retired Christian bookstore owner Roy Kolas, 92, of Munster, died Saturday.

Kolas’ daughter Joyce Duncan said her father, who still taught weekly bible study classes at Kolas Christian Bookstore in Highland, was passionate about sharing his faith.

“Dad said at age 17 he promised his mom he would read the Bible and pray every day,” Duncan said. “That was important to him. He loved the bookstore. The past seven years the Bible study classes were a highlight for him.”

Duncan said 12 to 15 people attended her father’s weekly sessions. She said Kolas was a faithful supporter of missions and ministries around the world.

Born and raised in Hammond and a 1940 graduate of Hammond High School, Kolas first opened his bookstore in his home in 1947. In 1950 he rented a storefront on Fayette Street in Hammond and later moved to State Street, where it remained until 1965. The store then moved to Hohman Avenue in Hammond and then in 2007 to its current site at 2635 Highway Ave.

Kolas was a charter member of the Christian Booksellers Association.

Until her death in 1981, Kolas’ wife of 39 years, Martha, co-owned the business. After Kolas retired, his daughter Sherri Vandersteen and her husband took over the bookstore.

Duncan said Kolas met Martha at Hammond’s Full Gospel Tabernacle Church, which later became First Assembly of God and is now known as The Gate. Kolas attended the church where his mother was a founding member his entire life. Six years after Martha’s death Kolas married Ivadell Stump who died 10 years later, Duncan said.

In addition to Duncan and Vandersteen, Kolas is survived by daughter Pat Wagner, son Rev. Roy Snapp-Kolas, 11 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. His son, two son-in-laws, daughter-in-law and two grandsons are ministers.

“Ministry runs deep in the family,” Duncan said.

Kolas worked for Pullman Standard Car Co. after high school and served in the U. S. Army during World War II in Europe with the 135th Medium Maintenance Ordinance Company, participating in the Battle of the Bulge.

On June 4 Kolas was honored as part of the Honor Flight.

“Because of his illness, he didn’t make the flight but he was at the airport for the return part cheering them,” Duncan said. “It was really meaningful to him.”

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the bookstore.

Kolas’ funeral service will be at the Gate, 5670 Sohl Ave., Hammond at 10 a.m. Thursday.

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