Gerrit Johannes Betz
Loved to Travel -
Gerrit Johannes Betz, age 88, of Mechanicsburg, and formerly of Arnhem, Netherlands, died at UPMC Pinnacle on Monday, December 23, 2019, after a long battle with heart and kidney disease. Gerrit was born on Monday, April 27, 1931 in Arnhem to the late Christiaan Johan Betz and Grada Gesina (van de Brink) Betz. Gerrit was the widower of Margaretha Catharina Betz, whom he married on April 10, 1956, and who preceded him in death on March 4, 2019. In addition to his parents and wife, Gerrit is preceded in death by his brother, Christiaan Johan Betz.
Gerrit’s survivors include his three daughters: Diana M. Merkel and her husband, Greg, of Mechanicsburg, Winnie M. Work of Etters, and Amy M. Betz and her significant other, Jack Sargent, of Anson, Maine; his six grandchildren: Katie Merkel, Gregory Merkel, Andrea Work, Benjamin Work and his wife, Brianna, Christiaan Merkel, and Tessann Merkel; and several nieces and nephews.
Gerrit graduated from high school in the Netherlands and received a BS in Civil Engineering from the Royal Dutch Engineers School in the Netherlands. He majored in highway and sanitary engineering and heavy equipment. He also attended the Civil Defense School for Building Construction in the Netherlands. Gerrit served in the airborne infantry in the Netherlands from 1949-1955. He then continued his service, training civil defense personnel from 1955-1957. He received an honorable discharge from the airborne infantry with the rank of sergeant, so he and Margaret could immigrate to the United States in 1957. He and Margaret became naturalized citizens of the United States together on May 1, 1963. He became a licensed surveyor and opened his own Surveying and Engineering Business, Gerrit J. Betz Associates, in Shiremanstown in 1974. Gerrit served as a board member of the Holy Spirit Auxiliary, served in various positions on the Chamber of Commerce, served on a committee at the Navy Depot and was a Grand Mason in the Free Masons. He loved to travel and planned annual trips every year for his extended family. He especially loved the ocean and the mountains. Gerrit enjoyed “playing” the stock market. He was also a miniature train enthusiast and loved to play cards with friends and family.
Gerrit’s family will be remembering and celebrating his life privately. Interment will be at the family’s convenience. Cremation was private.
The family sends their most heartfelt thanks to UPMC Pinnacle West Shore and Davita Dialysis Center who so lovingly cared for Gerrit throughout the last year of his life.
Contributions in celebration of Gerrit’s life can be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, www.StJude.org/Donate or Homeland Hospice, 2300 Vartan Way, Suite 115, Harrisburg, PA 17110, www.HomelandatHome.org/Giving-Back/.
Gerrit’s family has entrusted his care to Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421. Read Gerrit’s full obituary, view his portrait, and sign his official guest book at Buhrig.com. Gerrit’s family thanks Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory for helping at this difficult time.
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