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Gerart Bernard VerstraeteGerart Bernard Verstraete was born in Marshall, MN on October 27, 1927 to Belgian immigrants Edwarde and Emma (Wolfrank) and lived on a farm near Marshall with his family. At 6 years old, with the ability to speak only Belgian, he attended country school and had to walk about two miles (uphillâ¦ both ways) to get there. Part way through first grade he moved with his family to Ghent where he attended St. Eloi Catholic School until 8th grade, when he quit school to help support his family. Gerart worked long hours at odd jobs until he was 18, when he enlisted in the Army. He served during WWII in Germany, Korea, and Japan. After his service, he returned to Ghent. In 1949, he proposed to Margaret Klysen and they planned to wed in October of that year, but were persuaded to elope by her sister and her sisterâs fiancÃ©. They were married in a double ceremony on February 26, 1949 in St. Paul, MN. The couple lived in the Marshall/Ghent area until 1953, when they moved to Chicago. They moved back to Ghent in 1954 after Gerart was laid off from his job at Burlington Northern Railroad. He worked at various jobs in the area until 1983 when he started his own business, Verstraete Plumbing and Heating, becoming a successful entrepreneur. He begrudgingly retired in 2013 when the couple moved to Hill Street Place in Marshall. Gerart loved fishing, vegetable gardening, and was an avid and very competitive card player. He especially enjoyed playing Pinochle and Pepper at the Adult Community Center and Hill Street Place in Marshall. Gerart was not always dealt a winning hand in life (or in cards), but somehow always managed to come out a winner. His greatest passion in life was to provide for his family. This was evident in his hard work and the sacrifices he made to ensure that they were, and always would be, taken care of. His great love is a legacy to his family. He will be dearly missed by his children, grandchildren, relatives and friends! Gerart died on Monday, April 23, 2018, at the Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD. He is survived by his children Sharon (and Ray) Root of Marshall, Patti Almich of Marshall, Gary (and Renee) Verstraete of Marshall and Kathy (and Tim) Blomme of Ghent, granddaughter Stacy (and Jeff) Pagano, great-grandchildren Nick and Isabelle, grandson Robert Shatto, great-grandchildren Owen, Brianna, Caden and Mylie, grandson Ricky (and Tanisha) Shatto, great-grandchildren Lilliana, Braedyn and Emilia, granddaughter Nicole (and Sean) Borth, great-grandsons Noah, Gage and Ethan, granddaughter Jeana (and Nick) Ziegler, great-granddaughters Emma and Adalyn, granddaughter Heather Blomme (fiancÃ© Paul Rupp,) nephew Dennis (and Shirley) Kerkaert, relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Margaret, brother Jules, sisters Mary Kerkaert and Margaret Boogaard, nephew Ed Boogaard and niece Janet Madden. Blessed be his memory.
Kathy and Sharon: I was saddened to read of your dad's passing. He was truly a kind man of great integrity! He was always ready to help me when I called and never overcharged for his plumbing expertise! I remember him with great fondness and pray you are comforted with many good memories.
Mickie Paluch Apr 29 2018 4:03 PM
My love and sympathy to Gerart's family . You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I remember that smile of his when ever I saw him, The Verstraete family wonderful friends and neighbors. Hugs to all of you.
Theresa Skorczewski Apr 28 2018 10:51 AM
Gerat was a great man. He was always so friendly and accepting whenever I was around him. He and Margie were very kind and receptive. I remember him as a very tall, strong but gentle man.
Steve Jansen Apr 27 2018 2:15 PM
Sharon, Patty, Cathy and Gary, You have our sincere sympathy. We will so miss your dad here at Hill St. Place and all our card games. He was a joy to be around!!!
Jules and Marlene Noyes Apr 27 2018 2:11 PM
Sharon, so sorry to hear of your father's passing. He was a great man and well known for his great work. Prayers, cares, and hugs to you and all the family. take care in God we trust!
Syl and Fran DeBaere Apr 25 2018 10:53 PM
So sorry to hear about your loss. Prayers be with you Kathy and your family. Mary Jo (MN Lottery)
Mary Jo Bergquist Apr 25 2018 10:58 AM
I'm very saddened to hear the news of Gerart passing away. My love and prayers go out to all of his family.
Kim Burkham Apr 24 2018 9:08 PM
So sorry to hear about Gerart's passing. I have so many fond memories of your whole family through all the years growing up as neighbors and could always count on a friendly smile from Gerart and Margaret whenever we were back home. Loved the relationship our families had all those years!!! Take comfort in knowing Gerart and Margaret are back together and at peace.
Mary Jo (Illies) Remick Apr 24 2018 1:17 PM