1916 - 2005
Rev. Gerrit Vander Plaats, age 89, passed away Dec. 23, 2005, at Mi Casa Nursing Center in Mesa, Ariz.
Vander Plaats was born in Holland, Minn., the son of Dick and Jacoba Vander Plaats. He was raised in Bejou, Minn., and Sanborn, Iowa, where, upon graduation from the eighth grade, he worked on the family farm for eight years. The young Gerrit, however, felt a growing desire to serve his Lord in the gospel ministry. He completed high school in three years, graduated from Calvin College in 1946 and from Calvin Seminary in 1949.
In 1944 Vander Plaats married Frieda De Vries, who preceded him in death in 1962. He married Jean De Vries Postema in 1964.
Rev. Vander Plaats served the following Christian Reformed churches: Bigelow (Minn.) CRC, 1949; New Holland (S.D.) CRC, 1952; and Calvin CRC, Holland, Mich., 1957. In 1962 he became a teacher of Bible at Western Christian High School, Hull, Iowa. He returned to the parish ministry in 1970, accepting a call to First CRC, Oskaloosa, Iowa. And in 1978 he accepted a call to Momence (Ill.) CRC. The Vander Plaats retired in 1981, settling in Orange City, Iowa, where they remained active in Christian ministry.
Vander Plaats was known as a cooperative, industrious pastor who enjoyed the ministry of the Word in its various forms as much as pastoral-care giving. He was passionate about both evangelism and Christian education.
Vander Plaats is remembered with affection by the churches he served as a soft-spoken, gentle, loving pastor.
He is survived by his wife, Jean; by their children: David and Nancy Vander Plaats; Alyda and Daryl Haack; Robert Vander Plaats; David and Karen Postema; Steven Postema; Judith de Vries; Susan and Orwyn De Boer; Cheryl and Keith Newendorp; and Gary and Jean Vander Plaats; and by 29 grandchildren.