Corine R. Overkamp, MD of Lincoln Park, NJ died on April 17, 2020, after complications due to the Covid-19 Virus. She was 84 years old, born 11 July, 1935 to Joseph and Alice Struck Overkamp in Chicago, Illinois while her parents were attending Moody Bible Institute to train to be Missionaries to Malaysia. Corine was raised in Little Falls, NJ and graduated from Passaic Valley High School in 1952.
She received a scholarship to Rutgers University (Newark) where she graduated Pre-med in 1956 with Phi-Beta-Kappa honors. The Reformed Church in America and the Second Reformed Church in Little Falls shared the cost of her studies at Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia. This was the first medical college that accepted female students and Corine helped pave the way for women to become Doctors. It is now called Drexel University College of Medicine.
After her residency in 1965, she made final plans to fulfill her promise of going to Bahrain, a small island country in the Persian Gulf, as a medical doctor at the American Mission Hospital, for the women there who were not allowed to be seen by male doctors. She had extensive language training at Stony Point, NY before boarding the SS Maasdam in New York Harbor on Feb 6, 1965. After five years as a missionary doctor, while she was on furlough, questions came up concerning whether the Reformed Church of America would continue its support of the Hospital in Manama, Bahrain. With a suggestion from the management of the hospital she enrolled in medical courses at the college in Philadelphia while working in a HMO Clinic. She worked there for two years and was certified in Internal Medicine specializing in the area of the Heart at Women’s Medical College.
1973, she returned to Bahrain to work under a new Board at the American Mission Hospital in Manama, Bahrain. She continued there on staff, rising in responsibility to one of the head Doctors until she retired in 1997.
In 1993 she was honored as a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. Dr. Overkamp maintained her active license to practice medicine throughout her retirement years by taking refresher courses online to keep up with new methods, procedures and cures in this technological world.
Dr. Overkamp represented the American Mission Hospital for a tribute to Sheikh Isa who had died. Sheikh Isa always supported the AMH and Corine gave a eulogy which was televised on Bahrain TV.
During her retirement, she was invited to return to Bahrain in 2002 for the 2003 Centennial Celebration of the American Mission Hospital that had its beginnings in 1903. And it was here that Dr. Overkamp was honored for her decades of service from 1965-1997. The American Mission Hospital was the first “modern” hospital up and down the Arabian Coast, established by the Reformed Church of America to serve people of every faith.
She seldom discussed her patients, but was very happy to talk about her overall experiences as a doctor in Bahrain and her contacts with other men and women in the medical missionary fields all over the world. In 2011, she finished writing a book of her life called “Transitions: Mission…Medicine…Bahrain” which is archived at the Reformed Church of America headquarters in New York City and on Amazon.com. In her book she mentions a time when her father had a quiet moment to say to her,” Now I know how King David felt when God told him he could not build the Temple, but had chosen his son Solomon to build it.” Corine’s mother and father had trained to be missionaries but they never got to pursue their intentions, and now they were sending their eldest daughter out into the world skilled in Medicine to fulfill their dream.
If you read the Epilog in Dr. Overkamp’s book, “Transitions” you will get a sense of how she lived through very simple medical procedures to the new technical advancements in three decades over in Bahrain. You will also learn the historical and political changes that took place during her service. Bahrain was only a British Protectorate and had become an Independent nation by 1970. Dr. Corine did not mention that during the Egyptian War, she and all the staff were confined to the hospital under armed guards and were given gas masks to wear in the middle of this turmoil. One of her favorite hymns was “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” One of the lines say, “Be thou still my Strength and Shield.” It was this faith that led her to continue to serve, even during many critical political upheavals.
She loved to sing and was always a part of some choir in the church or community. She was a masterful knitter and all her nieces and nephews received sweaters made by their “Auntie”. She had gentle hands as she treated her patients, young and old, and she had much Christian love for everyone she knew.
In retirement she continued to be active in the Second Reformed Church in Little Falls, while she kept in touch with her many missionary and doctor friends around the world. She moved to assisted living three years ago with her sister, Lois Overkamp, who predeceased her. She lived alone the last two years at Care One.
Dr. Overkamp will be missed by her brother, Frederick W. Overkamp and wife Catherine Baker Overkamp living in Hurricane, Utah. Their two children, niece Joanna Overkamp in Hurricane, Utah, niece Jill Overkamp Dawson and husband Scott A. Dawson in North Hudson, Wisconsin and their two children; great nephew now deceased Elliott T. Dawson, and great niece Olivia A. Dawson of North Hudson, Wisconsin. She will be missed by her younger sister, Janet C. Overkamp Braen and husband George C. Braen of Hamden, Connecticut and their two children: Niece Linda C. Braen, now deceased and Nephew Joseph G. Braen and Wife Nancy Hilton Braen and their two children: great niece Mary E. Braen and great nephew Daniel J. Braen of Hamden, Connecticut.
Arrangements are being made by the Bizub-Parker Funeral Home in Little Falls. Because of the quarantine restrictions, there will be no funeral at this time. Plans are to have a memorial service for Dr. Corine later in the year. Family may be contacted through the Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Hospital at www.stjude.org/donate.
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