Gerrit's Story

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Gerrit Sneller, Jr. died Sunday, March 19, 2017, at the Hospice of Pella Comfort House in Pella, Iowa from complications due to congestive heart failure. He attained the advanced age of 97 years.
Gerrit was born in the Sandridge vicinity near Pella on January 25, 1920, the son of Gerrit Sr. and Cornelia "Kate" (Van Hemert) Sneller. He attended public school first at a country school near Leighton, Iowa, then attended North Porterville School and finished his 7th Grade education at Webster School in Pella.
At that time, he began work as a farmhand and then a number of other jobs before entering the United States Army Air Corps on October 16, 1942. Gerrit served in England as ground support for the 100th Bombardier Squadron and was honorably discharged on November 15, 1945.
On December 8, 1945, Gerrit married Ilda Fern Smith at the Community Church in Sully, Iowa. They had five children: Barbara, Steven, Gary, Donald, and Larry. Ilda died on December 9, 1962 after a battle with breast cancer.
On February 6, 1964, Gerrit married Genevieve Marie (Lankford) De Vos and two more children were blended into the family, Janice and Kenneth De Vos. Gerrit worked most of his life as a welder and flame-cutter at Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella, retiring in 1983. In retirement, Gerrit enjoyed camping, spending time with his family, walking all around town, and later riding his red mobility scooter around town.
Gerrit was baptized as an infant at the Otley Reformed Church in Otley, Iowa in 1920, later becoming a member at Third Reformed Church in Pella. He also made a public confession of faith during the war in England and was baptized as an adult on March 16, 1944. After marrying Ilda, he became a member of the Open Bible Church in Pella where he was active most of his adult life.
He is survived by six children and 18 grandchildren: Barbara and Wayne Shives of Pella, IA, Chris and Mary Shives, Melissa and Gavin Mulder; Gary and Diane Sneller of Cedar Rapids, IA, Suzanne and Clint Koch, Sarah and Mark George; Donald and Melody Sneller of Lexington, SC, Michael Sneller and Carl Cartwright, Patrice and Brad Draughon; Janice and Michael Cervellera of Pella, IA, Jennifer and Justin Bailey, Stacie Cervellera, Debra and Derrick Williams, Jeff and Heaven Booy, Jeni Cervellera, Victoria and Darrell Kooistra; Larry and Sue Sneller of Jefferson City, MO, Bradley and Cassie Sneller, Wesley Sneller, Megan and Brian Mitchell; Kenneth and Kathy De Vos of Pella, IA, Kourtney De Vos, Kayley De Vos, Klaire De Vos. Gerrit's family has grown to include 30 great-grandchildren (with three more on the way); numerous nieces and nephews including Ed Goemaat of Pella who was raised like a brother in the Sneller home; and a special friend, June Biehn.
Gerrit was preceded in death by his parents, his two wives, Ilda and Genevieve; a son, Steven Sneller; three grandchildren; and all of his siblings. They were: Evalena Goemaat/Whitlatch, Elizabeth Rozenberg, Peternella Leydens, Carrie Breen, Cornelia Sneller, and Nickolas Sneller. He was the last of the first generation of Snellers born in America to the children of Gerrit and Aaltje/Lubbertje Sneller.
Published on March 24, 2017
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