After a short struggle with cancer, Gary Veeneman died peacefully at home on April 25. His witty humor, wise words, and deep love for all people will be missed by many. “Gary had an infectious personality, a genuine warmth, and a laugh that could illuminate the darkest spaces,” said a college friend.
Veeneman was born in Lacombe, Alta. A graduate of Calvin College (now University) and Calvin Theological Seminary, he was ordained in 1980. He served two Ontario congregations—Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Listowel and Fruitland CRC in Stoney Creek—before moving to Abbotsford, B.C., to pastor Trinity CRC.
Pain and disability from numerous back surgeries led to an early retirement in 1997 but Veeneman still had many opportunities to preach. “It was the only time that I would see him totally pain free,” said his wife. He also participated in different ministry opportunities during several trips to the Philippines where he loved preaching at All Nations Church and visiting and supporting the work of Seeds of Dignity and Clean Water International.
Passionate about gardening, Veeneman had difficulty walking past any flower bed, even at the home of a parishioner he was visiting, without picking weeds and deadheading dying flowers. He always went for a walk with a small garbage bag. "Let's help keep God's earth a little cleaner," he would say as he picked up litter.
Veeneman will be lovingly remembered by Elizabeth (“Liz”), his wife of 49 years, his four children, and 13 grandchildren for whom he was a caring and cherished Opa.