Gerrit Byeman went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Sept. 7 after many years of dealing with the physical decline from the effects of a stroke.
He is survived by his loving wife Arlene of 57 years, his children, grandchildren and a great granddaughter; Mike & Deanna: Matthew (Helena Baechler) and great granddaughter Nadia Byeman, Jeremy, and Alec Byeman, Carol & Andrew: William and Anna Johnson, Denise & Paul: Kenny, Katelyn, and Kerri Barnes and Donna & Sean: Wyatt and Josey Duling as well as Hannah and Johnny Gillihan: Axton and Alex who have joined our family.
He will be greatly missed by his siblings Tena (Warren) VanderWerff, Jack (Mary Ann) Byeman, Karen (Joel) Kok and his wife’s family (Pam) Heutink, John (Bonnie) Heutink, Linda (Rich) Bosman, Delbert Heutink, aunts, uncles and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Gerrit was considered a close friend by many and will be dearly missed by all. Gerrit was preceded in death by daughter Deloris Byeman, his parents, Cornelius and Pearl (Van Weerdhuizen) Byeman, stepmother Frances (Bierlink) Byeman, father and mother-in-law John and Dena Heutink and brother-in-law Eldon Heutink and sister-in-law Karin Heutink.
Gerrit was known for his faith, love for his family, his love of the outdoors, and his mounds of creativity. He was born on June 6, 1942 to his parents Cornelius and Pearl Byeman and older sister Tina and later his younger brother Jack.
He grew up in Amsterdam, Holland moving to Lynden, Washington when he was 9 years old.
Gerrit was known for being a hard worker early on milking cows, working in fields and canaries. In his early teens, he suffered the loss of mom Pearl Byeman. His dad remarried a wonderful woman, Frances Bierlink, and together they welcomed his little sister Karen into their family. Gerrit always remained very close to his family.
After high school, Gerrit attended Western Washington University earning both his bachelor’s degree in Commercial Art and his master’s degree in Education.
He married his high school sweetheart Arlene Heutink, before joining the Army serving in Virginia during the Vietnam War.
It was in Virginia they welcomed their first daughter Deloris. After returning home to Bellingham, he taught at Western for several years.
Gerrit and Arlene added their son Michael to their family, ran a print shop and pursued opportunities in graphic design before starting their own business GBA Design Group which they ran together for many years.
It was through this business Gerrit used his gifts of creativity to help and support many clients all throughout the Puget Sound Area.
It was also during this time they lost their first child Deloris who died of leukemia at age 4. Shortly after that they welcomed daughters Carol, Denise and Donna.
Gerrit loved the Lord and truly felt closest to God in the mountains. He took every opportunity he could to share that love with others.
Many of us of have stories of hiking, volunteering, hunting, or outdoor trips taken with Gerrit.
He patiently taught, mentored, and shared experiences with so many. He also captured the beauty of the mountains in his art, photography, murals, and in the yards he designed which is another space we saw his talent come to life.
He will be remembered for his quiet humor, kind servant-filled heart, his generosity, his joy in solitude or in small numbers, his compassion, and willingness to walk along aside of others in his own quiet steadfast way.
Gerrit and Arlene loved each other through many hardships and modeled beautifully what is means to love God and love people by how they lived their lives.
We will have a celebration of life this Spring Details with to come and all will be invited.