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Gerritt Jon VanWagenen
July 13, 1966 - October 23, 2016
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Gerritt “Willie” Jon VanWagenen, Jr., 50, departed this world for heaven on October 23, 2016 in West Bend, WI after a short battle with late stage colon cancer. Gerritt was born in Madison, WI on July 13, 1966. He went to high school at The University School Milwaukee, graduating in 1984 and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from University of Wisconsin – Madison, graduating in 1988. He had a rewarding and fun career as a Chemist, working jobs in WI, MO and MA. In 2002, he switched careers and pursued a Masters Degree in architecture from Boston Architecture College and went on to work in this field. In January 2012, Gerritt and his wife Julie felt called by God to become full time missionaries in Port Au Prince, Haiti and have lived there ever since. Gerritt loved God and his family with all his being. He loved spending summers at Camp Highlands For Boys in Sayner, WI as a camper and then a counselor. He was a kid at heart, serving as a leader in AWANA and Youth Group. He faithfully served at Westgate Church in Weston, MA on the pastoral search committee and at Quisqueya Chapel in PAP Haiti as a Deacon-Elder. Gerritt’s smile would light up a room and he put God first, others second and lived “I’m Third.”
Gerritt is survived by his wife Julie (nee Henderson) VanWagenen of 14 years, his parents Gerritt & Kathleen VanWagenen, West Bend, WI, his brother Mike & Sara VanWagenen (Erin & Hannah) of West Bend, sister Kristin & Mike Keepman (Mary), Milwaukee. His in-laws, Ken & Carolynn Henderson of Holliston, MA and brother-in-law Derek & Molly Henderson (Michael, Jacque & Kate) of NJ. Gerritt is preceded in death by his sister Heidi VanWagenen.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, November 5 at 10am at Westgate Church, 100 Winter St., Weston, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Camp Highlands for Boys, Highlands Donations c/o John Bauer, 1204 Talbridge Way, St. Louis, MO 63303 or AWAKENHAITI, PO Box 951, Carlisle, PA 17013.