Sijbe Gerald Sytsema

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Sijbe Gerald Sytsema

December 26, 1938 - July 03, 2018

Deer Isle Sijbe Gerald Sytsema passed away at Eastern Maine Medical Center on July 3, 2018. He was born on December 26, 1938, in Ureterp, Netherlands, the son of Henry and Theresa Sytsema. The family with their nine children emigrated to America in 1950 and settled in New Jersey, where they began life anew and exemplified the pioneer spirit of immigrants.
Sijbe began his business career with Agway, Inc. and spent the last 16 years of his career as CEO of Maine Potato Growers, a diversified farm cooperative of 14 farm support and community services.
He was a member of the Board of Governors of the NY Mercantile Exchange, Director of ACDI/VOCA, an international development nonprofit organization, in Washington D.C., Director of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Director of the Maine Potato Board, board member of the University of Maine advisory committee, and director of the Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce.
After retiring, he did extensive volunteer work in developing countries, where he taught agricultural practices. He volunteered at a shelter for the homeless in Phoenix, AZ, for many years. He also volunteered at a number of Deer Isle organizations, including the Stonington Opera House, the Stonington Public Library, and the Memorial Ambulance Corporation.
He was an avid cyclist and biked in Croatia, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and the Canadian Rockies. In recent years he played bocce with friends on Deer Isle.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Gail MacAllister Sytsema; his sons, David and his wife, Theresa, Jason and his wife, Tina, and Tim and his wife, Niki; and his daughter, Sheri and her husband, Rex; as well as eight cherished grandchildren, eight siblings, and many nieces and nephews.
A private service of remembrance will be held at a later date. Gifts in memory of Sijbe can be made to Stonington Public Library, 64 Main St., Stonington, ME 04681 or to the Memorial Ambulance Corps, P.O. Box 387, Deer Isle, ME 04627.
Arrangements are by Kiley & Foley Funeral Services in Brewer, ME.
Published on July 14, 2018
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