Nature 14

Gary Paul Vander Plaats

October 2, 1959 ~ December 29, 2021 (age 62)


Gary Paul Vander Plaats, age 62, New Galilee, entered his heavenly home on December 29, 2021.  He rested in the arms of his wife, Jean, until he entered the arms of his heavenly Father.  Gary was born on October 2, 1959, in Holland, MI to Gerrit and Frieda (DeVries) Vander Plaats.  Frieda went to be with the Lord when Gary was two years old and Gary was raised by his father and stepmother, Jean Vander Plaats (Hofstee), and his eight older siblings. 

Gary attended Dordt College, where he met Jean Sybesma, whom he married in 1979. Together, they raised 10 children: Jennifer, Kayla Schaap (Brian), Melissa, Jonathan (Kate), Lisa Feikema (Ross), Jacob, Caleb, Isaiah, Jiana & Shiyan. He found great joy in his granddaughters: Charlotte, Ingrid, Sabine, Fern and Freya.  He taught his children to fish, play cards, camp, swing a hammer, and love life. He did nothing in a small way.

 He went on to earn advanced degrees and found his calling as a professor, teaching finance, economics, and business at Geneva College. He taught generations of students, often revered as a favorite professor due to his unyielding pursuit of excellence coupled with a humor-laden delivery. Gary’s life was marked with achievements but will be remembered most for his abiding love for the Lord. His faith is an inspiration.

Gary gave the world color through his infectious laughter. His sense of humor is irreplaceable. The Vander Plaats family finds peace in his unswerving faith. He will be greatly missed.

Friends and family will be received on Sunday from 2 pm-5 pm in the Gabauer-Lutton Funeral Home – 117 Blackhawk Rd., Chippewa Twp., Dr. Vander Plaats will lie in state on Monday from 10 am until the time of the service at 11 am in the Old Main building at Geneva College. Pastor Scott Moreland will officiate.

Private interment will take place in White Church Cemetery.   

In honoring Gary’s memory and passion for missions, the family requests memorial contributions for Sacred Road Ministries, a ministry of believers serving the Lord and ministering in indigenous communities of Washington State.  The ministry is run by a young man from Gary’s home congregation, Christ Presbyterian Church, and was close to his heart. Memorial contributions will be ear-marked for a new van that is necessary for the work of the mission. 

Memorial contributions can be sent at (see link below titled "Donations")


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary Paul Vander Plaats, please visit our floral store.


January 2, 2022

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Gabauer - Lutton Funeral Home
117 Blackhawk Road
Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Lying in State
January 3, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Geneva College-Old Main Bldg
3200 College Avenue
Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Funeral Service
January 3, 2022

11:00 AM
Geneva College-Old Main Bldg
3200 College Avenue
Beaver Falls, PA 15010


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