Gerrit DenHartog

June 16, 1943 ~
June 4, 2023

Gerrit L. DenHartog, age 79, of Grand Rapids, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday, June 4, 2023. He was born June 16, 1943 in Ellecom, The Netherlands, the son of Dirk and Tona Jacomina (Romp) DenHartog. After early years in Nazi-occupied Holland, he resided in Switzerland and Canada before immigrating to the U.S. in 1953. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1963. He was united in marriage to Anastasia Gritter on June 9, 1967 in Fonthill, Ontario, Canada. She preceded him in death on March 17, 1988. He was also preceded in death by his only daughter, Carla Joy DenHartog on November 16, 2020. He was united in marriage on August 19, 1990, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Lynne R. Veenstra who survives. Other survivors include his brother, Dirk DenHartog of Overberg, The Netherlands; numerous cousins in The Netherlands; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law with their families in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area as well as in the Ontario and Alberta provinces of Canada. Gerrit was the oldest male in the 18th generation of DenHartogs, a genealogy which archivists have traced by name to early 15th Century Europe. He graduated from Holland (MI) Christian School, earned a B.A. from Calvin University (MI), a Master of Arts degree and completion of coursework for the Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also participated in a summer language institute in Portland, Oregon and a semester as a university student in West Germany, which included extensive travel and a day behind “The Wall ‘’ in communist East Berlin. He was a college instructor in foreign languages and literatures for seven years before launching a career in the field of substance abuse and addiction in 1972. Gerrit served as Executive Director of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association for eight years and was employed by the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse for 18 years before retiring in 2000. Thereafter he worked as a consultant, policy analyst, and governmental relations specialist for ACT Missouri, including one year as project director for the Missouri Recovery Network. During 36 years in the field of addictions he worked at many levels - national, state, regional, local- and in various sectors: academic, governmental, nonprofit, private, and ecclesiastical. Gerrit served on numerous boards, advisory councils, task forces, and committees and was active in several advocacy groups. He authored a series of policy monographs and research studies; wrote, edited, and published newsletters; and was a frequent contributor to other publications. He especially enjoyed his roles as trainer, facilitator, and mentor. In retirement he was active in several organizations as a volunteer. He served on the leadership team for a national training project for the United Methodist Church’s Boards of Global Missions and Church and Society. He was a member of the Social Justice Team of the United Methodist Church’s Missouri Conference, the National Advisory Council Interfaith Rush Center of the Johnson Institute, and the Board of Directors of Missouri Impact. Gerrit also served on church councils in the Christian Reformed Church, the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, Illinois (The Abraham Lincoln Family Church), Wesley United Methodist Church of Jefferson City, Missouri, and the Central United Church of Christ of Jefferson City. He enjoyed traveling both in the U.S. and abroad, loved camping in the National Forest campgrounds and on Mustang Island with Lynne, and was an avid reader of many kinds of literature. He also enjoyed singing and sang in various choral groups. A celebration of Gerrit’s life will be held at 2 pm on Friday, June 9, 2023 at Matthysse Kuiper DeGraaf Funeral Home (Grandville), 4145 Chicago Dr. SW with Rev. Dr. Daniel Mouw officiating. Burial will take place at Washington Park Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet the family Friday from 1-2 pm prior to the service at the funeral home. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to the Porter Hills Foundation or South Grandville Church. The service will be livestreamed, see “Livestreams and Recordings” at top right of page.

Friday, June 9
1:00pm - 2:00pm

MKD - Grandville
4145 Chicago Dr. SW
Grandville, MI 49418

Phone: (616) 534-8656

Funeral Service
Friday, June 9

MKD - Grandville
4145 Chicago Dr. SW
Grandville, MI 49418

Phone: (616) 534-8656

Leave Your Tribute Message

June 20, 2023 3:20am
To Dirk, Gerrit and their parents, I can't imagine the memories they may have endured and to Gerrit, a lovely man by all accounts who had seen and done more that 100% of people. May our remembrance account for the memory of the ones they loved.

- Dylan

June 07, 2023 5:03pm
Lynne, I am so very sorry to learn of Gerrit's passing. I enjoyed knowing him and am glad we met on multiple occasions in addition to our phone and email chats. He and Carla will always be a part of my heart. Wishing you peace and many blessings.

- Sue Doucette

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