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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8 posts

Loomis and Darla Craig
Aug 01, 2018
Gail and family, We were so sorry to hear of Gerry's passing. He was a good friend and a wonderful boss for my husband at MPG. He was wonderful when Loomis has his heart attack and further complications 23 years ago. Our condolences to you the children and grandchildren.
Mitch and Vicki
Jul 19, 2018
Dear Gail,
It was only moments ago I heard this heartbreaking news. Vicki and I can't begin to express how deeply saddened we are. You and Jerry were so welcoming when we first arrived in Belcourt and Jerry was always looking out for us. Making sure everything in the house was working well and of course, never ever overpay for repairs. Vicki and I would always say, "it's like we're friends, but he's kind of a father-figure" Always willing to share advise and had a wealth of knowledge in so many different areas of life. He was just so nice to be around and there was always something I could learn from him. We're both so grateful for our last get-together in your back yard just before we left
...for Chicago this past April. We send you our most sincere prayers and heartfelt condolences.
Mitch and Vicki
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Judy Kenney
Jul 18, 2018
Gerry will be fondly remembered by his County friends. He always had a smile on his face. I remember how happy Gerry and Gail were and how his face would light up when Gail was around him. We have been thinking of you all and keeping you and family in our prayers.
Connie (Simon) Tucker
Jul 17, 2018
So sorry for your loss, Gail. I hope you can look to friends and family for comfort in this difficult time.
Judi & Tom Crimmins
Jul 17, 2018
Special memories shared with Sijbe and Gail will remain always and we will dearly miss Sijbe's strength, his heartfelt service to others and his willingness to find new adventures and experiences. By example, may his Spirit move others to be kind, generous and loving. Judi & Tom Crimmins
john and carol gianforte
Jul 17, 2018
We have had the privilege, the fun, and the inspiration to become a friend of Sijbe during our winters in Arizona. He guided us to bicycle trips in the Netherlands on two occasions. He led us to help others. He was a warm host. He gave us his delicious applesauce and red cabbage from his Maine gardens. He leaves a grand legacy. Gail and Sijbe both have inspired and touched us.
Brenda & David Felch
Jul 14, 2018
My Dearest Gail, David and I send heartfelt sympathy to you and your family as you grieve Jerry's passing.
Harry and Sharon Rideout
Jul 14, 2018
Our sincere condolences to you and your family, Gail, as you grieve the death of your husband.
Blessings to all of you in the days ahead.