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Obituaries » Garrett Boersma, Jr.

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June 18, 1943 - August 2, 2018

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 1:30 pm at the First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, 321 West South Street. Memorial contributions can be made to Kairos Dwelling, The First Presbyterian Church or to a charity of one’s choice.

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Age 75, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at Kairos Dwelling in Kalamazoo following a year long illness. He was retired after spending a 44-year career in education, which took him through a varied and interesting journey. It began in Fremont, Michigan where he taught English to middle school students. During that time, he became interested in special education, and after teaching for eight years in a regular classroom, he took a position at Pine Rest Hospital in Grand Rapids to teach emotionally impaired students. This initiated another journey to pursue a doctorate degree at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Upon completion of that degree, Garrett was hired by the Kalamazoo Public Schools and soon became director of special education. He loved teaching and preparing students for careers in education and was able to fulfill that desire at Nazareth College in Kalamazoo. After several years he left to take a position with the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia to develop and head an in-school program for their Community Mental Health Center. He also had an adjunct teaching position at Hampton University to prepare teachers for positions in special education. Following seven years in Virginia, the Portage Public Schools offered him the position of Director of Special Education for the Southern Service area of Kalamazoo County which he held for the next 13 years. Again, he was able to share his experiences in administration by teaching as an adjunct in the department of Special Education at Western Michigan University. Garrett culminated his career at the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA) and was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Woods Edge Learning Center. He was forever grateful to the Kalamazoo community for their support of this building project. Among his many interests, Garrett was an avid reader, enjoyed traveling, all kinds of outdoor sports and activities and gardening. He volunteered for numerous Habitat for Humanity and Vine Neighborhood community projects and served at Ministry with Community as a Food Pantry worker. He was involved with and took great joy in his Sunday morning Reading Aloud group at First Presbyterian Church discussing all matters of faith in an intimate setting. Garrett is survived by his wife, Laura; two sons, Michael and Mark (Shantelle), and grandson, Jake; two sisters, Theresa (Tom) Kamphuis and Claire (Brian) Fondren and two sisters-in-law, Carol and Bonnie Boersma; as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Garrett and Clara and two brothers, Andrew and Clarence.