Gerrit de Graaf, 82, of Ransom Canyon, Texas, went to meet his Lord and Savior on Feb. 7, 2011. He was born on June 18, 1928, in Leiderdorp, the Netherlands, and immigrated to California in 1948. Anna Mae was 14 years old and told her girlfriend about the â€œcutest green Dutchmanâ€ that sheâ€™d met at church and she knew she would marry him someday. They married in 1953.
Gerrit was a dairyman in California until 1997, when they moved to El Paso, Texas, then Roswell, and most recently, Ransom Canyon. They were active members of every church they attended. At each of those churches, he was likely the choirâ€™s loudest tenor. Gerrit was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951. Shortly after he proposed to Anna Mae, he was sent to serve in the Korean War.
He was honorably discharged in 1953 and married his â€œAnnieâ€ that same year. They have been blessed with a family of 48 loved ones. His favorite things were the color yellow, riding bikes, the USA, â€œMcDonaldâ€ coffee, writing poems, his Dutch heritage, flying kites, buttermilk, the dairy, singing, planting sunflowers, his kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, his Anna Mae and most important his Savior, Jesus Christ. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Anna Mae; his five children, Gary and Donna de Graaf of Pixley, Calif.; Debbi and Larry Kelley, of Roswell; Brad and Barb Bouma, of Ransom Canyon; Jon and Carolyn Veenendaal, of Plainview, Texas; and Brian and Linda de Graaf, of Dexter; 15 grandchildren and soon-tobe 15 great-grandchildren. The graveside service will be held at South Park Cemetery in Roswell for family and close friends.
A celebration service of his well-lived life will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Dexter, at 2 p.m., Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Pallbearers will be his 10 grandsons. Memorial donations can be made to Gideons of Roswell, â€œadopt an orphanâ€ through Operation HOPE (operationhopeusa.org), World Vision or the charity of your choice. Please take a moment to share your thoughts and memories with the family in the online register book at andersonbethany.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson Bethany Funeral Home and Crematory.