The Van Der Geest Family, Van Der Geest Dairy, and the community lost a “very special” loved one. On November 1, 2000, Gary, age 52, passed away unexpectedly in his office on the Dairy. Today – and for the rest of our lives, we are changed.
Gary truly loved our farm, building it from 17 cows in 1969 to what it is today.
He was also actively involved in the community serving as President of the Lincoln County Rodeo Days, Officer for the WI Independent Livestock Dealers Association, past President of the Merrill Riders Club and a member of the Planning Commission for the Town of Maine. He was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Gary always seemed to be able to make time and to take time for people.
Gary enjoying a favorite pastime aboard one of his black & white paint horses
Giving advice to someone who asked or just taking a minute to talk, he had that “special way” with people. Many people have relayed to our family just what an impact Gary had on their lives. It only gives us another reason to be proud to be “his family”.
Gary’s dreams were many, he loved spending time with his family, whom he loved dearly. Working with his horses was also high on his list for what he called relaxation. However, Gary had a great passion for dairy cattle and seeking to pursue the success of the dairy industry. He worked extremely hard to succeed at whatever he set out to do. When he faced difficult challenges he would often say “just makes you a stronger person”. The latest addition of the 3,000 cow dairy facility is a true symbol of his efforts. When he was asked why he wanted to do this, his reply often was, “I want a dairy facility that is an educational experience for everyone. People need to know where milk comes from.” That is exactly what the facility is, an “educational experience” for young and old, farmers and city folks.
To try to help continue Gary’s dreams for agriculture, each year Van Der Geest Dairy and Mary Kay, Amy & Jeff, Katie & Lee, and Beth & Gabe proudly present two $1,000 Gary Van Der Geest Memorial Scholarships to two graduating seniors planning on attending an accredited college or university,
and pursuing a career in an agricultural or animal related field.
We hope as you view this web-site and/or tour the facility that you are able to enjoy it, learn from it and take your own special memory from our Dairy, a part of Gary’s dream.
Mary Kay, Amy & Jeff, Katie & Lee, and Beth & Gabe
Gary has a bird’s- eye view of the holding area from the catwalk that passes through the milking facility.