Gerrit Marinus Hoogenboezem, of Lynden, passed away on Nov. 26, 2019, at age 99. He was born on July 27, 1920, in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Gerrit grew up in the Netherlands. During World War II he fought in the Dutch underground, moving back and forth behind German lines, often hiding in a haystack on a farm.
After the war, he worked in insurance and married Lineke (Lynn) Capelle. Together they immigrated to the United States in 1949.
After a year, he found a job as an actuary, first in Massachusetts and then in Galveston, Texas, at American National Insurance Company. He worked in the actuarial department there from 1955 until 1985, when he retired.
During that time, Gerrit became an avid runner. He ran in about 50 marathons including the Boston Marathon, and he organized the first officially sanctioned marathon in the state of Texas. In Texas he was known as the “Father of the Marathon” by some. He ran his last complete marathon at age 80.
Upon his retirement, Gerrit moved to Lynden, where he spent the last 34 years of his life. He became well-known for his devotion to his developmentally disabled son, John. Gerrit could be seen taking John on walks nearly every day, and he took care of John until he was no longer able to do so at age 94. For 13 of those years, Gerrit also cared for his wife Lynn, who was afflicted with a kidney disease that required dialysis three times a week.
Gerrit had taught himself to play the piano, and he loved singing to his own accompaniment. Also, he enjoyed gardening and reading religious books, in particular the Bible. He spent the last 4½ years of his life at the Christian Health Care Center in Lynden where he was very content and well-loved and cared for by the wonderful staff there.
Gerrit was preceded in death by his wife, Lynn, and his son, John Clarence.
He is survived by his daughter, Joy Eloise, and his other son, Gerrit Carl, as well as numerous nieces and nephews in the Netherlands.
He will be sorely missed by his family and those who knew him well.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services.