Jan Gerard Goes

Jan Gerard Goes

November 18, 1939 - May 15, 2013

After a courageous battle with MDS and acute leukemia, Jan died peacefully in his home with his wife Mary Etta, daughter Julie Young, and the Rev. Peter Luton at his side. Exhibiting the dignity, integrity, and strength with which he lived his life, he was alert, ambulant, and responsive until the final days.

Jan was born in Hilversum in the Netherlands and lived the first five years of his life in a German occupied country. His memories of those days, the experience of the "hunger winter," and the liberation of his country led to a life-long interest in the history of World War II and military history in general. An avid reader, he was completing the sixth volume of Winston Churchill's The Second World War at the time of his death.

After serving in the Dutch army for two years, Jan attended Nyenrode Business University, the only private university in the Netherlands, founded after the war to educate an internationally focused generation of new business leaders. As part of his college experience, he participated in an exchange program at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. There Jan met and made lifelong friends with Denny, Gerry, and Fred Donahue; the Ladners; and others whom he called his American family.

After graduation he worked and lived in the US and in England with his first wife Marsha Vulliamy. In 1971 Jan graduated from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. He became an American citizen that year. His career in international business with companies like McKinsey & Company, Inc., Barry Wright Corporation, and Sonicare took him to Amsterdam; Washington, DC; Denver, CO; Bolton, MA; Hingham, MA; and Seattle, WA.

On a visit to Denver in 1978 to visit his old friend Denny Donahue, Jan met Mary Etta and her young daughter Julie. Considering them "a package deal," he became husband to Mary Etta and second father to Julie. The new family moved to Bolton, MA in 1981. A new career opportunity took Jan and Mary Etta to Mercer Island where they have lived for the past 22 years.

Retirement was a good time for Jan and Mary Etta. They traveled, camped, and enjoyed the company of family and good friends. Jan especially enjoyed annual hut-to-hut skiing with friends in the Methow Valley in eastern Washington and biking with his intrepid group of biking buddies. (He trained for and completed two Seattle to Portland bike rides in his late 60's.) He loved Tuesday mornings with the Wisdom Group as they made their way through a series of Teaching Company tapes; Saturday mornings with the East Shore Unitarian Church Men's Breakfast Group; and monthly Military History meetings.

In 2009 Julie and her husband John Young delighted their parents with their first grandson Jackson and a second grandson Harrison born 15 months later! The grandsons called Jan "Opa". In recent years Jan and Mary Etta spent as much time as they could with the family in Raleigh, NC, and were able to make a trip there two weeks before he passed away.

One of Jan's four sisters and her husband came from Holland to visit in early April. Jan's loving sisters are Andrea van de Vort, Ria Hellman, Corry van Kleef, and Joke Bellhouwer. The sisters, their husbands, and many nieces and nephews live in Holland.

Jan's American family, his Dutch family, his wife and daughter, son-in-law, grandsons, and his many friends are lucky to have had such a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. He will be missed.

Jan asked that remembrances be made by giving blood and/ or donating to the Puget Sound Blood Center.

A Celebration of Life will be held at East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, WA on Saturday, June 15th at 2:00 PM.

Published in The Seattle Times from May 25 to May 26, 2013