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John VanderGrift

January 16, 1917 July 17, 2011
John VanderGrift
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Obituary for John VanderGrift

Worthington, MN

     John Vander Grift went to be with the Lord, July 17, 2011, while living at Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Fulda, MN. John, mostly known as “Johnny” to friends and family, was born on January 16, 1917, near Bigelow, MN, the son of Henry and Geertje Emmicus Vander Grift. He completed 6th grade at country school and went on to be an auctioneer and business owner in Worthington until his retirement in 1987. John was united in marriage to Aletha Beckman on October 6, 1940, at Pfingsten Church in rural Fulda.
     John owned and operated Western Implement, the Minneapolis Moline dealership in Worthington, from the 1950s to 1987. He cried the livestock sales at the Southwest Livestock Pavilion in Worthington every Friday night for over 30 years. Throughout his 94 years, John was an avid hunter and fisherman and was a Chartering Member of the Nobles County Chapter of Pheasants Forever. After retirement, John bought an acreage outside of Worthington and raised exotic wildlife as a hobby. School children from all over the area toured John’s Game Farm and received a close-up look at all varieties of exotic geese, deer, and pheasants. He enjoyed exhibiting his wildlife at the Nobles County Fair each year.
     Johnny was the Official Provider of Paycheck, Worthington’s contestant in the yearly Great Gobbler Gallop, and Johnny was honored as the Turkey Day Parade Grand Marshall.
     A lifelong member of the Christian Reformed Church, Johnny was a founding father of the Worthington Christian School, where all his children began their education.
     Johnny is survived by four of his six children: Robert Vander Grift (Alice) of Chandler, AZ, David Vander Grift (LaVonne) of Worthington, MN, Jannell Vander Grift of Albuquerque, NM, and Lori Roos (Andrew) of Mankato, MN. He was grandpa to 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. He is also survived by friends, Don and Mary Mueller of Rushmore, MN. John was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Aletha, brother, Henry, sister, Jennie Uit de Flesch, son, Russell, daughter, Marilyn (Akkerman), sons-in-law, Craig Kielblock and Randy Grimmius, and daughter-in-law, Cecilia Vander Grift.
     Funeral services will be held on Friday, July 22, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., at the Christian Reformed Church of Worthington, MN, with Rev. Irwin VanLeeuwen officiating. Burial will be in the Worthington Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 21, 2011, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the Benson Funeral Home in Worthington.


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