June 21, 1989 – April 17, 2021
On Saturday, April 17, 2021 Garret Daniel VanGessel, age 31, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, went to be with his Lord and Savior after a courageous three and a half year battle with brain cancer. Garret was an incredible husband, father, son, brother, uncle, mentor, and friend to many around him. He was born June 21, 1989 to Daniel and Sandra VanGessel. He graduated from Forest Hills Northern in 2007, then went on to earn a Music Education degree in 2011 from Grand Valley State University. After college he began a music program, as well as taught additional classes at Lake Michigan Academy.
Garret met his wife Sarah (Henry) in the cello studio at Grand Valley, and they were married on October 15, 2011. They have a beautiful daughter, Sadie (5).
Garret was a kind-hearted, gentle man who loved Jesus and kept his eyes fixed on him throughout his long battle with cancer. He was an exceptional partner and dad, an excellent teacher, a wonderful mentor to a group of boys at Lifeline at Ada Bible Church, a lover of dad jokes, and an incredibly devoted University of Michigan fan!
Left to carry on his love are his wife and best friend Sarah, daughter Sadie, parents Daniel and Sandra, brother Adam and his wife Kellie, and their children Evelynne and Andrew, in-laws Marvin and Barbara Henry and Susannah Henry, aunts and uncles, cousins, and many wonderful friends.
Memorial Visitation will be held on Friday, April 30, 2021 from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm at Reyers North Valley Chapel, 2815 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids. A Memorial Service will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Ada Bible Church- Knapp Campus, 3869 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids, MI. A short visitation before the service will begin at 10:15 am at the church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Sadie VanGessel Education Fund, set up through the local credit union for Sadie's future education. Contributions should be sent to: 1425 Houseman Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505.
Due to covid restrictions, the luncheon following the Saturday service will be for immediate family only. Thank you for your understanding.
Friday, April 30, 2021
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Saturday, May 1, 2021
May 1, 2021
Dr. VanGessel and Family, we are thinking of you and praying for you at this difficult time. It sounds like Garret was an amazing person and that he touched the lives of many students.
April 28, 2021
GV and CK managed the middle school at LMA 2019-2020! I was nervous moving up from Elementary but he told me I would be fine. We both agreed that our rooms were too far from the staff lounge for coffee. This began a coffee pot hunt! We split a bag of coffee every other week. One of my favorite things was to come in the building and smell that coffee drifting across the hallway. He had it ready to go every morning without fail. I’d fill my cup and enjoy his Dad joke of the day. It was such a simple gesture but it made the days easier. His love for Sarah and Sadie was obvious and he was so proud of Sadie! I cannot imagine your grief but I pray you find peaceful moments with memories of him to start your days. Rest In Peace, GV.
April 27, 2021
I met Garret when I came to work at Lake Michigan Academy in August of 2017. Garret was quiet, thoughtful, genuine and above all a calming presence. I was drawn to him as I sensed he had more of a dry sense of humor. He was as quiet as I was loud and sarcastic. I remember one day after school, there was a HUGE spider in one of the administrative offices. No one wanted to go near it so I got on the phone system and sent out a building wide call for Mr. VanGessel to report immediately to my office. He walked calmly into the office, extracted the nasty spider without blinking an eye! As he walked away, he looked sideways at me with a smirk that showed me his true spirit! I was blessed to have known him. I will continue to pray for you Sarah, Sadie and family. He is in peace and with our Lord but how this world will be a little less peaceful without him here. God bless you all. In Peace, Veronica "Miss Vern" Beitner
April 26, 2021
I am sending my heartfelt love to each of you as you travel this new journey.
I never met Jarret as I was a patient of Dan’s but he told me all about his amazing son through the years. Stories of his love and talent for music, his gentle nature!
Just know we are all sending love to you during this hard time.
Kathy, Len and Anna Kurtz
April 25, 2021
We had so many great times of fun together (remembering boating and more), times of study (remembering our mens's group focussed on cherishing our spouses more) and challenging each other to be more generous in our own ways (Journey of Generosity). Above all, Garrett was fun, courageous and humble. While we celebrate his earthly life and mourn his death I am thrilled he is free of cancer and "playing his music" in heaven. I look forward to seeing him again!
April 21, 2021
Mr. VanGessel was not only my teacher but also my mentor. I know he is now with our lord and savior Jesus Christ his light will always shine bright. I’m deeply sorry your family is experiencing the pain of a loss like this. My heart goes out to each of you.
April 20, 2021
Sarah and Sadie, Dr Dan and Sandy, Dr Adam and Kelly,
Your dear husband, daddy, son and beloved brother now with Jesus. Sending My heartfelt prayers with tears of joy for Garret and compassion for you his family ✝️
April 20, 2021
We wish to send our deepest sympathy to your family.
Dan & Susan Miller