Gilbert Roozeboom was born to Gysbert and Johanna (Hol) Roozeboom on June 18, 1927, near Olivet, Iowa. When he was six months old, he and two older brothers contracted polio. Henry John died on December 1, 1927, but John and Gilbert survived. From the time Gil was a little child, he loved God, people, and horses.
Gil attended Greeley country school through the eighth grade. He enjoyed playing with his brothers and learning how to farm from his father. While other boys wanted to drive tractors, he preferred working with horses. Gil talked so much that his dad once told him he should become a preacher. He replied, “Get me a team to hitch and manure to pitch.”
By the time Gil was 13, he had his own team, Charlie and Molly. When he got a saddle horse of his own, he kept vigil all night with a kerosene lantern, waiting for her to foal. In the morning, his mother persuaded him to come in for breakfast. When he returned to the barn, his horse had a beautiful buckskin colt.
The family attended the Tracy Christian Reformed Church until they moved to a farm south of Leighton. They then attended the Leighton Christian Reformed Church, where Gilbert publicly professed his faith at age 18.
Gil and a friend decided to work their way to California, but he made it only as far as northwest Iowa, where he met Bertha Van Zanten. They were married on February 16, 1949, at First Christian Reformed Church in Rock Valley and settled in the Pella area. They first attended Second Christian Reformed Church, and later became charter members of Calvary Christian Reformed Church. God blessed Gil and Bert with six children and later a foster daughter. Gil served as a deacon and elder at Calvary Church and worked tirelessly to start Christian Opportunity Center (COC), serving on its board many times.
While Gil farmed, he held ag-related sales and service positions. He worked for Iowa Breeders Coop for many years and also de-horned cattle for ten years. For 15 years, he sold feed for the Farmers Coop in Pella. He then became a salesman for McNess Company, earning many awards and trips. In 1987, Gil and Bert moved to town. After retiring at 65, Gil worked in maintenance at COC for five years and then mowed the soccer complex for the City of Pella until he was 79. Gil and Bert moved to Vriendschap Village in October of 2015.
Gil lived life at full-speed, whether that was creating memories with his children or driving down country roads on his business routes. He made friends easily and enjoyed visiting with them. He liked cutting wood on his farm near Tracy, woodworking, feeding birds, gardening, and watching sunrises. He had horses most of his life. The family often skimmed over snow on a sleigh, participated in wagon trains, rode around the neighborhood in a buggy, or rode ponies in the pasture. Many people enjoyed Gil’s wagon rides at Pella Nursery in the fall or uptown on Thursday evenings in Pella or as newlyweds on their wedding day.
The Lord took Gilbert to his heavenly home on December 31, 2017. Those left behind to cherish his memory include:
Keith and Kate Roozeboom of Pella, Iowa
Russ and Amanda Roozeboom of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Doug and Heather Roozeboom of Palos Heights, Illinois
Justin and Jordan Roozeboom of Broomfield, Colorado
Schuyler and Corenna Roozeboom of Chicago, Illinois
Beverly and Allen Van Haaften of Pella, Iowa
Spencer and Kate Van Haaften of Des Moines, Iowa
Brynley and Camilla
Kelly and Kevin Jansma of Ankeny, Iowa
Trey, Anderson, and Henry
Miranda Bruxvoort of Des Moines, Iowa
Glenda and David Mathes of Pella, Iowa
Seth and Sarah Mathes of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Gabe, Logan, and Wes
Kirk and Andrea Mathes of Pella, Iowa
Ariel and Nick Sponsler of Pella, Iowa
Layton, Barrett, and Theo
Bethany and Patrick Stanley of Greenbelt, Maryland
Kevin and Alicia Roozeboom of Pella, Iowa
Joshua and Leah Roozeboom of Harrisburg, South Dakota
Abigail, Ashton, Cadence, and Caleb
Joe and Susan Roozeboom of Long Grove, Iowa
Cole, Sadie, and Violet
Cody and Sarah Roozeboom of Pella, Iowa
Kraig and Norma Roozeboom of Manhattan, Kansas
Andrew and Jennifer Roozeboom of Manhattan, Kansas
Rachel and Chad Stelk of Manhattan, Kansas
Neyland and Colton
Jonathan Roozeboom of Dallas, Texas
Betty and Noel Kerr of Pleasantville
Trenton Emal and fiancée Sarah Dhein
Also grieving Gil’s loss are his siblings, Gerrit & Matilda (Sis) Roozeboom of Pella, IA, and Pat (Henry, deceased) Roozeboom of Knoxville, IA; his in-laws Jo Vander Schaaf of Rock Valley, IA, Bill & Margene Van Zanten of Orange City, IA, and Gerald & Jan Van Zanten of Idyllwild, CA, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and their families. Gilbert was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Evadena De Bruin; his brothers Henry John, John, Arie, and Henry. His daughter, Joan, passed away on January 12, 2017, and his wife, Bertha, on April 10, 2017.