Gysbertus "Guy" Schuurman
Our amazing husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away peacefully on November 1, 2015 following a stroke. He was surrounded by his sons at the time of his passing, with his loving wife Jeannette at his side. Guy was born in Utrecht, the Netherlands on August 22, 1931 as the second child to Dirk and Gijsberta (van den berg). He had one older brother, Dirk Jr. just 18 months his senior. The balance of this story will be told to you from his son’s point of view, those of us that were raised by Guy.
Our dad will be sorely missed in this life as an inspiration for many aspects of our lives. Dad loved many things, he loved to travel, to boat, to read, to work on genealogy; but most of all, dad loved our mom. Dad was a survivor of the hardships of World War 2 as the Nazis invaded Holland. His family suffered many hardships with near starvation conditions, but dad was resourceful and found that farmers would part with a single potato. My dad would go farm-to-farm to gather enough each day to keep his family alive, as his father was in hiding from the Nazi’s, and his brother gathered fire wood. Dad was just 19 years old when he and his family emigrated to the U.S. in December 1949, following their conversion to the LDS faith. They initially moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho where a family sponsored their emigration, they later moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where my dad met my mother. Mom and dad were married in the Salt Lake Temple for Time and all Eternity on mom’s 16th birthday on October 21, 1952. Mom and dad would go on to have 3 sons, and 1 daughter. This has now turned into 22 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren, and continues to grow.
Dad was well educated here in the U.S., which itself is amazing as he did not speak any English when they came to the states. He received a Bachelor degree from the University of Utah, and earned a Master of Library Science Degree from the University of Washington. He had worked as a Librarian in a High School, a Seminary teacher, and then was able to start in his true love as a Librarian. He started as the Director of the newly funded State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. He would later become the Director of the Weber County Library system, and finally complete his career as the Director of the Salt Lake County Library system. Dad was also the President of the Utah State Library Association for 14 years. Dad had a vision for the library system to become a community center. He fought hard and was able to build the most modern and advanced library in the U.S. He digitized the card catalog creating the ability to search for books through a computer, and brought multi-media to the library including music and movies available to be checked out. He built a conference room, music rooms (piano and organ), and an area where teachers could work on lessons including overhead projectors, lamination materials and much more. He also started an “information/reference” desk, the equivalent to Google where a person could call and ask ANY question, and the staff would research and call you back. Dad had amazing insight into what the community needed, and he had a huge impact on the Library system across the U.S.
Our father loved many things, but one of his favorite things to do was to boat on Lake Powell. We all have many treasured memories of spending time as a family in this truly beautiful area. Following his retirement he developed a passion for genealogy. He worked tirelessly for years combing through data bases, and microfilm, using his ability to read in his native tongue of Dutch to complete “the work” for thousands of souls. He traveled back to Holland, communicated with colleagues, and completed a veritable treasure trove of genealogy for generations of our family. He carefully crafted this into several hardbound copies of thousands of hours of work that he completed over the years. Our dad was very special, and brought many talents to this earth.
Dad always loved us as his children, and always treated us in a way that made us all feel special. The greatest gifts that he shared with us were his sense of humor, his polite manner, and his deep and abiding love of our mother. I lived in his home for 19 years of my life, and never heard a raised voice or an angry word directed at our mother. We as his children consider this his greatest gift to us. He taught us how to love, a true Christ like love, and he gave this to our mother. Thank you Dad, we love you!
Dad was preceded in death by his parents Dirk and Gijsberta, and his brother Dirk Jr. He is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years Jeannette, his children Ron (Janet), Rene (Sherry), Rick (Jan), and Yvonne (Mark), as well as multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren that loved and cherished him. There will be a viewing held at Mountain View Memorial Estates on November 7, 2015 from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. with graveside services following at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at Mountain View Memorial Estates, 3115 East Bengal Boulevard (7800 South).