Obituaries » Gerrit DeGraaf
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Burial Date May 4, 2022
A funeral service to honor and celebrate his life will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, beginning at 11:00 AM. The family will receive friends at the funeral home beginning at 10:00 AM, one hour prior to the service. Interment with military honors will follow at Maple Grove Cemetery in Mattawan. Memorial contributions may be given to the ASPCA or the Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries, c/o the funeral home.
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Age 104, passed away on April 29, 2022, at Maple Lake Assisted Living in Paw Paw surrounded by loved ones. He was born in Holland, MI, on June 3, 1917, the son of the late Evert and Petronella (Brasser) DeGraaf. Gerrit was a kind, compassionate, loyal and courageous man who leaves behind the legacy of a life well lived. As a young man he worked alongside his siblings on the family farm. In April of 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served our country with honor. After being discharged in 1946, he returned to make Southwest Michigan his home. On November 8, 1949, he married the love of his life Joyce (Pursley) DeGraaf. After a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s through which Gerrit was her caregiver for ten years, she passed in 2002. Gerrit worked hard to provide a happy home for his family where all were made to feel welcome. He retired from what is currently Eaton Corporation after more than twenty-seven years of employment. When not working he loved spending time with his children and grandchildren. Together they made many camping trips out west and to other parts of the country. He also enjoyed spending time outside gardening and riding bikes. Gerrit had a strong faith in the Lord and was a member of Valley Family Church where his welcoming smile will be missed. Gerrit was fond of animals and especially loved his dog “Bailey”. Above all he loved his family and friends. He was a present and involved father and grandfather who will be missed. He leaves to cherish his memory five children, Sharon Simmons, Greg DeGraaf, Patti (James) Ledbetter, Gale Powell, Laura Spars; ten grandchildren, Joseph DeGraaf, Gordon Roscoe, Danielle (John) Simmons, Bradley Ledbetter, Chelsey Powell, Ashley (Andres) Powell-Bejarano, Joshua, Jamie, Jacob and Lucas Spars; two great-grandchildren, Salinger and Gerrit Simmons; many nieces, nephews and extended family. He was also preceded in passing by seven siblings, Jacoba VanderBor, Evert DeGraff Jr., Ann Daisy, Alice DeGraaf, John DeGraaf, Dora Reits and Gertrude DeGraaf.