AMerican Veteran 10

Gerrit "Chub" Van Der Geest

June 22, 1924 ~ November 11, 2020 (age 96)

Obituary Image


Funeral Services for Gerrit (Chub) Van Der Geest will be held Wednesday, 1:00 p.m., November 18, 2020 at Willow Springs Garden, Wausau, WI with Pastor Jesse Wakefield officiating. Burial will follow in the Maple Grove Cemetery in the village of Maine, located near Merrill, WI.

Friends and family are welcome for visitation during 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, at Willow Springs Garden.

For those attending, masks will be required and please adhere to social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC and WI Department of Health. To view the live webcast of Chub’s funeral service, please go to, click on Chub’s photo, select photos and videos. The livestream will be active 15 minutes before the service.  It will also be livestream on Waid Funeral Home web page under the obituary.

Gerrit (Chub) Van Der Geest, 96, of Merrill, WI passed away peacefully at his home on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Chub was born on June 22, 1924 to Joe and Anna Van Der Geest.  Upon returning from serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII, Chub married the love of his life, Eleanor Berard on March 2, 1946, who proceeded him in death on August 8, 2015. Together they raised 4 children Gary, Vicki, Scott, and Jay who were all actively involved in the community through 4-H, FFA, horse shows, wrestling and more.

Chub’s true passion was in the livestock industry, which he entered into at a young age with his Dad Joe and brothers Richard, Donald, and Kenneth. In 1956, Chub and Eleanor founded Van Der Geest Livestock and continued a successful business in Merrill throughout their lifetime. He truly enjoyed trading cattle and horses, helping farmers and developed many life-long friends and customers. With a smile on his face, wearing his grey cowboy hat and carrying his cattle sorting cane, Chub shared his knowledge of the industry with many. Four generations of family carry on the tradition today through their involvement in the livestock and/or horse industry by dairying, buying and selling cattle, raising bucking bulls, showing horses and cattle, and competing in rodeo. Chub’s legacy will live on through many facets of the agricultural industry.

Aside from his passion for the cattle business, Chub enjoyed watching his sons and grandsons wrestle, traveling with Eleanor in their motor home to watch their family participate in rodeos and stock car races, as well as spend time at their cottage on the lake. In most recent years, they both spent times together at home watching their german shepherds, miniature ponies, llamas, donkeys, and cows in their backyard. Chub also looked forward to his birthday parties where friends and family would gather to celebrate yet another year.

Chub served on the M&I Bank board, was a Merrill Lions Club member and he and Eleanor were lifelong members of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Merrill.

Chub was a WWII Veteran, who served in the U.S. Army Air Force from April 3, 1943 to October 23, 1945, with 10 months overseas. He flew 30 successful missions and made Sergeant of the 467th Bombardment Group of the 8th AAF. He was awarded two Air Medals, Good Conduct, ETO Theatre and four Bronze Battle Stars, AVN Badge Air Crew Member, Aerial Gunner, Overseas Service Bar and Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters. He also was awarded Exceptionally Meritorious Achievement in Aerial Combat over Germany and enemy-occupied France.

Chub is survived by his daughter, Vicki (Jim) Killfoil; sons, Scott (Sue) Van Der Geest, and Jay (Kristin) Van Der Geest, daughter-in-law, Mary Kay Van Der Geest; grandchildren, Amy (Jeff) Butler, Lee (Katie) Van Der Geest, Beth (Gabe) Gwaltney, Johnny (Julie) Zarvos, Kimberly (Josh) Merrell, Andy (Ashlee Walters) Van Der Geest, Brad (Danielle Winter) Van Der Geest, Kristin (Kadin) Boardman, and Levon Van Der Geest; sister, Marlene Stevenson; sister-in-law, Mary Ann Van Der Geest; great-grandchildren, Dorian, Kailey, Ace and Easton Zarvos, Chase, Blake, Gage and Nixon Merrell, Koy and Kyan Van Der Geest, Gunner and Gatlin Gwaltney and Brynn Boardman and many nieces and nephews.

Chub was preceded in death by his loving wife of 69 years, Eleanor (Berard); son, Gary Van Der Geest; parents, Joe & Anna Van Der Geest; brothers, Richard, Donald, and Kenneth Van Der Geest; sister, Alida (Lyd) Van Dyke; brothers-in-law, Dale Stevenson, and Raymond (Dutch) Van Dyke; and sisters-in-law, Mary Jane Van Der Geest, and Anita Van Der Geest.

Memorials in Chub’s name can be directed to Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 300 Logan St., Merrill, WI  54452.

Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at or  There is a tribute video available on .


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gerrit "Chub" Van Der Geest, please visit our floral store.


November 18, 2020

8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Willow Springs Garden
Wausau, WI 54401

Funeral Service
November 18, 2020

1:00 PM
Willow Springs Garden
Wausau, WI 54401

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