John Andrew Gertsma, 92 years, 1 month, and 2 days, of Lynnville died Saturday, Apr. 28, 2018, at Grinnell Regional Medical Center. A graveside service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 4, at Woodland Cemetery in Lynnville. The family will greet visitors from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, at the Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Newton. Memorials to the Lynnville Historical Society, where John was a member and volunteer, may be left at the funeral home.
John, the first born to Cecil Lowell and Ruth (Fleener) Gertsma, was born Mar. 26, 1926, at Mahaska Hospital in Oskaloosa. After birth, he came home to Lynnville on the train. John attended Lynnville Independent School and graduated in 1943. John was the last surviving member of his class. After graduation, he worked as a driver for Dr. Cliff Sparks at Sully Veterinarians for one year. In October 1944, he entered the U.S. Army and served in Manilla and Tokyo in the General Headquarters of General Douglas McArthur, attaining the rank of S/Sgt. He was honorably discharged in November 1946.
After being discharged, he returned to Iowa and received his bachelor’s degree from State University of Iowa in 1951. He worked for 3M in Chicago, moved to New Mexico and then to Mojave, CA, to manage a service station. He later moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he worked as a parking valet at Trader Vic’s Restaurant and attended school to further his education. John then worked as a claims adjuster for Aetna Insurance until his retirement when he returned to his home in Lynnville. In 1975, he purchased Harris Boat’s Store in Sully, changing the name to John’s Market and operated it until 1980.
John is survived by his brother, David (Garnet) Gertsma and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Laurence Gertsma; and a nephew, Mark Allen Gertsma who died in 1957 at the age of 27 months from cancer.