Life Story / Obituary
Gerald J. (Jerry) Horstman passed into Glory Monday, January 16, 2023 at the age of ninety-two.
Born in Orange City, Iowa, Gerald grew up in Sioux and O'Brien counties. He graduated from Western Christian High School in Hull before attending Northwestern College in Orange City.
After two years, Gerald moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to attend Calvin College and where he worked at Butterworth Hospital. It was there he met and dated Evelyn Cole, a young Charge Nurse. Gerald joined the U.S. Army and returned to Michigan after Basic Training to marry Evelyn before deploying to Germany with the 6th Armored Division, 7th Evac. Hospital. Following his active duty, he returned to Michigan and continued to serve as a Corporal in the U.S. Army Reserves while completing his Bachelor degree from Calvin College.
Gerald then taught Junior High science classes for a few years at Grand Rapids' Oakdale Christian School before moving his family to Spartan Village in East Lansing and earning a Masters degree from Michigan State University. The family then returned to Grand Rapids and Gerald taught science at South High School until it's closure. He taught the following year at Creston High School before becoming an Instructor at Grand Rapids Junior College. Over the next twenty-four years he taught Microbiology to thousands of Nursing, Dental Hygiene, and other students. In addition to his professional work, Gerald enjoyed traveling the U.S., building houses and barns, and was active in his church.
After his retirement from GRJC, Gerald and Evelyn filled their life enjoying time with their grandchildren (and later, great-grandchildren) as well as traveling and remodeling a small cottage near Fountain, Michigan. Eventually, they moved to the Rose Garden Assisted Living Center in Grandville, Michigan where they both lived their remaining years.
Gerald was predeceased by Evelyn, his wife of sixty-three years, as well as his parents, Gerrit E. and Angeline, his brothers Marion and Irvin, his sisters-in-law Agnes, Doris, and Valda, and his brothers-in-law Bill, Dale, Ed, and Leo. He is survived by his sons Brian (Karen) and David (LuAnn), his grandchildren Elizabeth (Craig), Audrey (Justin), Valerie (Mike), and Brandon, and seven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers Gene (June), Keith (Ann), Del (Marla), Virgil (Joan), Nelson (Gloria), Gary (Florence), and Robert (Glenda), his sister Gertie, and brother-in-law Chuck (Linda). In addition, he leaves behind a multitude of nieces and nephews, other family, and friends.
According to his wishes, Gerald has been cremated and his ashes interred alongside Evelyn in the Rosedale Memorial Gardens, Tallmadge Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. A memorial service and celebration of his life and legacy will be held at a future date.