John Gerritsen

John Gerritsen, age 81 of Rock Rapids, IA died on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at the Rock Rapids Health Centre.

Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, September 30th at First Reformed Church of Rock Rapids, with Rev. Dan Haggar officiating. Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery of Rock Rapids.

Visitation will be Sunday, September 29th from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., with the family present from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Jurrens Funeral Home of Rock Rapids.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.

An online registry is available at

John Gerritsen was born June 23, 1932 in Rock Valley, Iowa, the son of Jacob “Jake” and Fredreaka (Kleyn) Gerritsen. He was raised near Rock Valley, on a farm and attended Rock Valley School through the 8th grade. He entered the United States Army on October 20, 1953, where he served state side during the Korean Conflict. While on leave John was united in marriage to Hermina Joan Klarenbeek on August 28, 1954. He was honorably discharge on October 19, 1955 with the rank of Specialist 3rd Class. He returned to northwest Iowa and moved around to various farms near Doon, Sioux Center, Rock Valley and Rock Rapids. In 1967 they bought a farm outside of Rock Rapids where they farmed until 1982. They then moved into Rock Rapids, where they opened a repair shop along with their son, Don Gerritsen. John worked there until he retired in 2004.

John was a member of the First Reformed Church in Rock Rapids and the Rex Strait Post No. 103, American Legion. He has always enjoyed collecting toys, specifically farm toys and old cars. He enjoyed welding and tinkering on things. He also enjoyed visiting family and playing cards and marble games. His greatest joy in life was his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will fondly be remembered by his family through their memories of rides through the park, feeding the animals and enjoying Slade’s ice cream. Also is remembered for always greeting everyone with a peppermint life saver. He loved cartoons, jokes and visiting with people.

John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Melanoma Cancer. On January 28, 2011 John entered the Rock Rapids Health Centre, where he remained until this past Thursday, September 26, 2013, when he died at the age of 81.

He is survived by his wife, Hermina Gerritsen; son Don (Laurine) Gerritsen all of Rock Rapids; two granddaughters; Julie (Kevin) Joachim of Larchwood and Michelle ( Ryan) Hellenga of Little Rock, IA; one grandson Don Gerritsen, JR of Rock Rapids; five great-grandchildren, Cole and Rachael Joachim of Larchwood, IA, and Adrianna, Samantha and William Hellenga of Little Rock, IA.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jake and Fredreaka Gerritsen; five siblings, Nellie Gerritsen, John Gerritsen, Margaret DeJong, Frank Gerritsen and Nellie Milano; four brothers-in-law, John Van Peursen, Tom Milano, Tom DeJong and Henry “Hank” Klarenbeek; and two sisters-in-law, Mina Gerritsen and Alice Gerritsen.