Bert Gietman (March 12, 1943 – July 24, 2019)
The Man, The Warrior, The Legend.
On July 24, 2019, Bert (or Lambert if you want to fight) finally went to rest after his decades-long struggle with congestive heart failure.
Born into battle in Siebengewald, Holland during WW II as his town was being bombed, Bert’s spunk was deeply ingrained. As a young teenager Bert set sail for America with his parents Peter and Christina (Jenssen) and his siblings, where the family settled in Kimberly. Soccer player and flirt extraordinaire, Bert met the gorgeous Karen (Gritt) and wooed her until she finally caved and agreed to become his wife. During their engagement, Bert had the honor of being called to service in the US Army where he built bunkers under-fire, served as a Chaplain’s assistant, played for the US Army baseball team, and coached the soccer team. After his honorable discharge, Bert became the most blessed man on Earth, joining Karen in holy matrimony on October 1, 1966. Their family soon grew to include 5 kids, 9 grandkids, and 5 great grandkids who Bert wrapped in love.
Bert’s passion for life and exuberance knew no bounds. His mathematic abilities led to a long career as a mechanical engineer that took him around the globe and garnered him and his employers a number of patents. Bert used those same math abilities to challenge his kids during dinners with math puzzles and to challenge anyone willing in card games. As his long-time sheepshead guys can attest, Bert’s math brain led him to believe he knew (or thought he did) exactly what was about to be played – and he was quite vocal when he thought his partner screwed up. Whether spending time with his family, playing Cookie Monster at church picnics, camping, refereeing and umpiring, golfing, hosting fish boils and cookouts, playing cards, singing, going to Making Connections’ cafes and Memory Project events, or relaxing with the dogs, Bert did everything with joy and abandon.
Known for bursting into song in either English or Dutch, Bert was a life-time member of the Appleton MacDowell Male Chorus, and in his last year sang with the choir On A Positive Note. His over-the-top stubbornness was such that even in his final days, unable to stand, he sang to his beloved Karen.
Bert’s stubbornness and tenacity were awe inspiring and sometimes frustrating but gave to his family the wonderful gift of his presence for 15 years longer than doctors projected. He had a big heart, and an even bigger personality. Stoic and humorous to the end, it was always “medically necessary.” He will be deeply missed by those left behind but is likely already joyously partying in Heaven.
Bert is survived by the love of his life Karen (Gritt); his dog Harley; his children: Bill (Theresa), Anthony (Michelle), Rebecca, Doug (Joan) and Mark (Judy); his grandchildren: Nick, Brittany (Travis Broehm), Mattie (Tom King), Illyana, Ashley, Kaleigh, Kyle, Olivia and Sophia; his great-grandchildren: Thomas, Hunter, D’Angela, and Amelia; and his “adopted” daughters Nancy and Pam. Bert is also survived by his “younger” sister Nellie Bekx; his brother John; numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews; and a huge legacy of loved ones and beloved friends.
Bert was greeted in death by his father Peter and mother Christina; his dearly-loved in-laws Ed and Esther Gritt; his sister Ria Hooyman; his brothers Pete Gietman and Jake Gietman; his brothers-in-law Ted Bekx, Keith Gritt, Fran VerVoort, and Gary Schaumberg; his sisters-in-law Barb Gietman and Jan Gietman; his nephews Joe Fassbender, Todd Verbruggen, and Isiah Uhlenbrauck; his nieces Bev VerVoort and Angela Vanderzanden; and his great granddaughter Mackenzie Broehm.
Friends may call at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Menasha on Thursday, August 1, 2019, from 2:00 pm until the funeral mass at 4:00 pm with Father Ralph Osborne officiating. Military Honors will follow the service.
Online condolences maybe expressed to Bert’s family at www.muehlboettcher.com
Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home, Seymour is assisting the family with arrangements.
A memorial fund is established in Bert’s honor.