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Gys VanBeek


1919 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Gys VanBeek Obituary
Gys Jansen VanBeek
March 31, 1919 - November 14, 2015
Gys Jansen van Beek (96) was born March 31, 1919 in Angeren, Holland. He passed away on Nov 14, 2015 at a Boise Hospital from an injury that morning.
Gys was the 4th of 8 children. He liked school and loved to read, write and learn. He attended school until he was 12 years old. He was then needed to help work on the farm. In the evening he continued learning with different courses. He became fluent in 3 languages.
1940-1945 during the war, he was in the Dutch Resistance and worked with the Dutch Underground rescuing downed pilots and soldiers that lived; if they didn't survive he would bury them, sending their dog tags back to their family.
He was always on his bicycle riding thru the area, wherever trouble was, he was there to help. He watched the planes, saw parachutes that came down in the area, keeping track where they landed so he could help hide them and found help needed to keep them safe. His knowing the English language helped him communicate with the Americans.
In 1944 Gys' family was given a two hour notice that they needed to evacuate their farm on foot, the family was split up so all could be safe. Gys assisted other local families also in moving to safer places. That helped him communicate with the Americans.
The parents of a pilot from Utah that Gys had buried had a Dutch friend that visited Holland and came to see where their son fell and was buried, Gys gave him all the information and in turn was asked if he needed anything and Gys expressed that he would like to immigrate to America.
After the war, Gys' town was adopted by his future wife Zwaan's town to help them rebuild. The allies left them a Jeep and in 1947 Gys and a brother went to Westerbork, Holland to thank them for their assistance. Zwaan's uncle was the head of the committee. Gys drove him home after the meeting. Zwaan's aunt stopped to tell her family that there were good looking guys at the house. Zwaan thought she should stop there on her way to her friend and see for herself. They started corresponding.
In September 1948 Gys married Zwaantje ten Berge. In October 1948 Gys and Brother Evert went on a troop ship across the ocean to America leaving his bride Zwaantje in Holland until January. They also knew they would never see their father again. After the war there was little money and he was only allowed to take a little over 225 dollars out of the country and one wooden suitcase with him. The passage ticket cost $154, leaving $70 to start their journey from New York to Utah. On the boat they met a Dutch family (Van Vliet) that lived in California and were told that would be a good place to come. Their sponsor met Gys and Evert in New York; he had just purchased 2 new Buicks that they would drive to Utah. Gys did not have a driver's license but drove one of these cars and his brother was with Mr. Piper in the other. They were separated in the NY Holland Tunnel. A motorcycle cop was flagged down and was asked to look for Gys. He was found. They drove across the USA paying half of the gas, slept in the cars, eating hotdogs and drinking malts along the way.
He worked on a dairy in Utah. In January 1949, he went by Greyhound to New York to meet Zwaantje and bring her back to Utah. In April 1949 their daughter Helen was born. In 1950 after saving enough money they moved to California. He found work on a dairy. In January 1951 their son Koop was born. They lived in California until 1954 when they moved to Idaho, to start their own farm. The family moved to their Middleton farm at the end of 1955. Their daughter Jan was born in February 1956. The family had a good life in Middleton.
Gys and Zwaan enjoyed life together, traveling, entertaining, listening to music, dancing, and meeting people from all walks of life.
Gys was a Businessman, Inventor of many tools, Poet receiving awards, Writer, Fabricator, family man and a good Opa. He was very talented. Even in his later years being blinded by Macular Degeneration his mind continued to think of inventions or ways to make things better. His mind was sharp until the end. When he couldn't drive anymore, the telephone became very important to him.
Gys was always an optimist, having a positive attitude and was able to see opportunity. He never really retired; he was still filing patents last year making him one of the oldest inventors in the USA.
His courage earned him decorations from the governments of Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands and USA. He was particularly proud of the award that he received shortly after the war by Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight Eisenhower.
In 1999, the Shoah Foundation, founded by Stephen Spielberg, recognized him as an Aid Giver for helping save Jewish lives and demonstrating fearlessness and courage.
Gys and Zwaan moved to their home in Caldwell in 1998 and stayed there until 2013 when they moved to the Cottages Assisted Living.
He was dealt many blows in his life but losing his 3 children was by far the hardest, he was thankful for the years he had with them.
Gys had published his book in the Dutch Language and worked many years writing it down in English while he could still see. Emmett High School senior Mariah Montoya helped finish it last year as one of her school projects. The book "To Never Forget" was published last year.
At parties the Dutch always sang "Long shall you live"…Gys did live a long good life.
Gys leaves behind his loving wife Zwaantje of 67 years, Son-in-Law - Bob Feller, Grandson - Andrew Feller, Granddaughters- Missy Huff (WA) and Tanya Duncan(CA), 3 great granddaughers, Brother - Evert (Dora) Jansen van Beek (Nampa), Sister-in Law -Jeltje Jansen van Beek (Nampa), Sisters -Correy Scheperboer and Willy ten Bosch from Holland and numerous Nieces and Nephews.
Gys was preceded in death by his 3 children Helen Feller, Koop Jansen van Beek and Jan Feller, 2 sisters, 2 brothers and several In-Laws.
Special thanks to the staff of The Cottages of Boise for their great care these last 2 years.
A Viewing for Gys will be held Monday, November 23, 2015 from 5:00-7:00 PM at Flahiff Funeral Chapel, Caldwell. His Funeral Service will be Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM at Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church, Caldwell. Interment will follow at Canyon Hill Cemetery. Condolences may be left at www.flahifffuneralchapel.com.

Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Nov. 20, 2015
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