Pella Chronicle


February 20, 2009

Gary J. Vermeer


His son, Stan, served as President of the company from 1982 until 1986. His other two children, Bob Vermeer and Mary Vermeer Andringa, currently serve as co-CEO’s of the company. Throughout the years, Gary and Matilda Vermeer continued to enjoy their farmland. As recently as spring of 2007, Gary took time out of his schedule to climb on the cultivator, planter or combine. Gary first obtained a pilot’s license in 1950 to save travel time visiting customers and dealers. By the late 1960’s, he was regularly flying customers, employees, friends and mere acquaintances from his church and community to a wilderness camp in Canada. While Gary enjoyed flying and was an avid fisherman and hunter, his greatest enjoyment was providing a new experience to someone for the first time. He, too, appreciated new experiences as he and his wife, Matilda, enjoyed traveling for the challenges offered rather than any luxuries enjoyed.

In addition to Gary’s notable contributions to manufacturing, he was well known for his philanthropy. In 1958, the company started a foundation. Over the years, the Vermeer Charitable Foundation has made significant contributions to many projects, both locally and worldwide. From the beginning, the Foundation was established to relieve poverty, advance education, promote health and extend the influence of religion. Gary took an active role in his community and led a drive that raised money to build the Pella Community Hospital. Gary also supported many college scholarship programs and building projects at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Central College and the Pella Christian Schools in Pella, Iowa, as well as disaster relief, aid for missions and much, much more. He took an active role in his church and made innumerable contributions to the church universal. Gary was a charter member of the Calvary Christian Reformed Church and the Faith Christian Reformed Church in Pella where he had served as an Elder. He had also served as a youth leader at the First Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church. Gary served on many area boards and was recognized with several awards including the Pella Community Service Award in 1977, and was named Iowa Inventor of the Year in 1984. He was inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 1986, the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Achievement in 1992, and the Construction Equipment Industry Hall of Fame in 1996.

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