Albertus Hercules de Jager was born Sept. 19, 1955 in Vrede, South Africa to M.P. and Elise de Jager, the third of four children.
He grew up in Vrede, and attended the all-boys high school, Grey College, in Bloemfontein South Africa, four hours from home; where he enjoyed playing on the rugby, tennis, and swimming teams.
He was the 4th generation from his family to attend this boarding school. Following high school, he enlisted in the South African Army as a Parabat, which is the parachute battalion.
He fought in the South African Border War. He remained enlisted in the Army until 2000, but began ranching in Frankfort, South Africa in 1976.
He loved ranching and living in the country. (When he was a young boy, he would run to his friend's house in the country because he was bored in town.)
Albert married Riana Grewar in 1978, and they ranched in Frankfort for 23 years. During that time they had four children. Albert earned his bachelor of commerce degree in 1991, and his master's degree in business administration in 1997 from the University of South Africa.
In 2001 he, Riana, and daughter, Petra moved to Burlington where they began a new adventure in life.
Albert worked at Schaal Drilling. He had Colorado and Kansas Water Well Contractor's Licenses and was a Board Certified Safety Professional.
Albert became a United States citizen in June 20, 2012, going through all the hoops and paperwork because he believed in this country and what it stood for.
Albert was generous, and humble, a man of few words. He only said what needed to be said.
He said what he meant, and did what he said he would do. It was important to him to be a man of integrity in every area of his life. It was a motto he encouraged his family to live by.
Albert loved life, and lived every moment. In his younger years he would run from farm to farm to visit.
He didn't take the roads, but ran through the fields so he could take in all of God's creation. He loved physical activity and ran 11 Ultra Marathons (the Ultra Marathon is called the Comrades Marathon, which is 88.7 km. – approximately 56 miles.) He ran them from 1985-1995, and again in 2000.
Albert enjoyed history. In 1999 he wrote a book on the history about the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa, focusing on events and battles fought in the area where he lived (Franfort, Free State, South Africa.) The book is still sold in the museum there.
He appreciated traveling and would stop in small towns sometimes, just to study the history, and talk to the people about where they had come from. He made a lot of friends along his way.
Albert loved making things, especially with wood. He made a lot of the furniture his family enjoys. If he didn't know how to do something, he would study and research until he figured it out.
Priorities were important to Albert. He loved the Lord, his family, and his country – his homeland South Africa, and now America.
The man of few words lived the great love he had for his growing family which includes his wife, Riana, Burlington; their four children: daughter Ronel, husband Jaco Pienaar, and their baby due in July; daughter, Ilse, husband Hendrik Wessels, and their children, Lana, Wessel, and Maya; son, M.P. de Jager, wife Qewy, their daughter, Lea all of South Africa; daughter, Petra de Jager, Burlington.
"Mean what you say, and do what you say you are going to do," was his heartfelt message to his family.
He loved his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ more than anything. Even though he wanted to stay here for his family, he was so excited to go home and meet Jesus. There were no doubts or fears about where he was going.
It is a treasure to find a man who lives his life with true meaning and eternal purpose; a man who lives his life in the love of God, who loves and cares for his family above all.
Albert fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
"There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve – even in pain – the authentic relationship. Furthermore, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain." – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer express the heart of his family, who will treasure Albert all the days of their lives.
Memorial services were held Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 at the Burlington United Methodist Church with a dear friend Dennis Coryell as the celebrant.
Albert will be taken back to his homeland of South Africa for inurnment.
The family has asked that any donations be made to
and can be dropped off at the funeral home.
Friends and family may leave a condolence at www.Brownfuneraldirectors.com
Brown and Latimer Funeral Home Burlington was in charge of this special tribute to Albert.
Published in The Burlington Record on Feb. 6, 2014
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