Gerrit Van Aartsen

Date posted - February 17, 2012

Gerrit Van Aartsen, age 80, of Luverne, Minnesota, formerly of Rock Rapids died on Wednesday (2/15) at Sanford Hospital in Luverne.

The funeral will be on Saturday (2/18) at 10:30 AM at the First Reformed Church of Rock Rapids.

Visitaiton with the family present is this afternoon and evening (2/17) from 4 until 8 PM at the Hartquist Funeral Chapel of Luverne. Burial will be at the Riverview Cemetery in Rock Rapids.

Online expressions of sympathy may be left at hartquistfuneral.com.

The Hartquist Funeral Home, Luverne Chapel in charge of arrangements for Gerrit Van Aartsen.

GERRIT VAN AARTSEN was born to Henry and Jenny (Roelofs) Van Aartsen on May 20, 1931 in Matlock, Iowa. They lived near Hull Iowa and moved in 1942 to Rock Rapids. His father died in 1944. Gerrit attended country school near Hull and Rock Rapids. He graduated from Rock Rapids high school in 1948. Following his schooling, Gerrit began his career in construction working for Glen Foltz. He enlisted into the United States Army Corps of Engineers in November of 1951. Gerrit was stationed with the 59th Engineer Construction Co. in Alaska until his honorable discharge in October of 1953. He then returned to northwest Iowa and continued his job with Foltz Construction. While attending the roller skating rink at the Lyon County fairgrounds, Gerrit met his future bride, Mary Ann Akkerman. The couple was united in marriage on July 2, 1956 at St. John Lutheran Church in Luverne, Minnesota. The couple made their home in Rock Rapids for a short time. They then moved two and half miles south of Luverne in 1957. Here they raised their four children while Gerrit continued to work construction. He then partnered with Vernon Van Wyhe for a short time. In 1975, Gerrit went to work for Virgil Christiansen and was a part of building some of Luvernes landmarks such as the Centennial Apartments, St. Catherines Catholic Church, and the Tri-State Insurance building. In the fall of 1979 Gerrit went out on his own and began Van Aartsen Construction. His son, Darrel, joined him in 1980. The pair worked alongside of one another for the next 28 years. Gerrit transferred ownership of the company to his son in 1991. Gerrit formally retired in 2008, but remained active in handyman projects for those who called. On Wednesday, February 15, 2012, at the Sanford Luverne Hospital, Gerrit went to be with his Lord at the age of 80 years, 8 months and 25 days.

Gerrit was an active member of the First Reformed Church of Rock Rapids where he professed his faith, served as Elder, Deacon, and directed the church choir. His love of music led him to establish church choirs in both the Steen Reformed Church in Steen, Minnesota and the American Reformed Church in Luverne. The faith Gerrit had in God was very important to him and he made sure to pass this gift on to his family. His zeal for singing was his gift from God which he shared with many happy listeners over the years at weddings, anniversaries, funerals, and on area stages. Gerrit was also a part of several singing groups over the years, including The Reformers, The Messengers Quartet, Sheldon Chord Masters, The Dialtones Barbershop Quartet, River Valley Players, Green Earth Players, and In His Service. A special love in Gerrits life was his family. In his later years, Gerrit seldom ever missed an opportunity to be with his family, especially his 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Gerrit’s wonderful smile and great wit will be greatly missed.

Gerrit will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 55 years, Mary Ann; four children, Darrel and his wife LaDonna Van Aartsen of Luverne, Peggy and her husband Vince Gacke of Luverne, Bonnie and her husband Randy Muller of Jasper, Minnesota, and Kathy and her husband Kevin Jacobsma of Luverne; ten grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; one sister, Jane Albers of Rock Rapids, Iowa; three brothers, Bernie and his wife Tillie Van Aartsen and John and his wife Ruth Van Aartsen, all of Rock Rapids, Iowa, and Henry and his wife Marlys Van Aartsen of Orange City, Iowa; and other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Jenny; one infant brother; a sister, Hermina Boote; and two brothers-in-law, John Boote and Marv Albers.

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