Gary L. Van Rees, 80

Gary L. Van Rees of Pella passed away Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines shortly after his 80th birthday. Funeral services were held Nov. 28 at Covenant Reformed Church in Pella followed by commital service with military honors at Oakwood Cemetery, Pella. Memorials may be given to Pella Christian Grade School or Pella Christian High School.

Gary Lee Van Rees was born May 5, 1935, in Jasper County near Sully. He was an only son born to Cecil Joe and Wilhelmina Jansen Van Rees and had two younger sisters, Jean Lucille and Cynthia Jo. Gary attended Sully Christian School and graduated from Pella Christian High School. He enlisted in the Army of the United States of America in September 1955. On Jan. 18, 1956, he and Delores Ann Zylstra were united in marriage at the Sully Christian Reformed Church where he was baptized and had made profession of his faith. Gary and Delores lived in Panama for 14 months while he served in the Army. In September 1958, their first daughter, Paula Jo, was born, and in July 1960, their second daughter, Mary Lu Ann, was born. Following his discharge in August 1961, they returned to Sully where he farmed and sought employment. Gary then began working for the Sully Cooperative Exchange. In July 1969, their son, Calvin Jay, was born.

Gary and Delores moved to Pella in 1980, while he continued to commute to his work at the Sully Co-op. Gary worked for the Sully Cooperative Exchange for 33 years until his retirement in 1999. He currently worked part-time for Ewing Land Development in Pella. Gary thoroughly enjoyed following the activities of his children and six grandchildren and made this a priority! In later years, he enjoyed playing with his eight great-grandchildren. Gary and Delores enjoyed travelling. They had visited all 50 states and several foreign countries. In September 2015, he was honored to go on the Freedom Flight to Washington, D.C., with fellow military veterans.

Gary is survived by his wife, Delores; his three children: Paula (Sherwin) Klyn and LuAnn (Michael) Blom, all of Pella, and Calvin Van Rees of Arvada, CO; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and his two sisters, Jean (Lewis) Arkema of Sioux Center and Cynthia (Terry) Hayworth of Mitchellville; and the following sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Bertha Zylstra of Sully, Nellie Zylstra of Pella, P. Marvin (Celia) Zylstra of Pella, Wendall (Dorothy) Zylstra of Sully, and Claude (Joan) Zylstra of Pella.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his parents-in-law, Paul and Gertie Van Den Hoek Zylstra; and the following brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: William John Zylstra, Orville Zylstra, Mary Lou (Zylstra) and Merle Van Steenis, and Judy (Claude) Zylstra.

Gary was currently a member of the Covenant Reformed Church in Pella. He lived out his faith every day to his family and those around him in his own quiet way.


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