Gary Vermaas, 78, died unexpectedly on Sunday evening, August 23, 2020 at home in Middleton with his wife Bonnie at his side.
Gary was born in Caldwell on December 2, 1941, the first child of Jim and Carolyn Vermaas. Until he was in high school, the family lived in a warm family neighborhood on Howard Street in Caldwell. Young Gary frequently accompanied his father, owner of Vanways Moving & Storage and Vermaas Bus Lines, on adventures involving trucks and buses, starting a lifelong love for motor vehicles. By his teenage years, Gary had become deeply involved in model trains and then tinkering with and driving hot rod cars and motorcycles. He graduated from Caldwell High School in 1960 and joined the US Army soon thereafter. Gary was proud of his military service in the tank corps, mostly in southern Germany during the Berlin Wall mobilization.
Gary returned to attend Boise State, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education (History). His entire adult life he enjoyed reading accounts of Owyhee County and world history, especially of WWII (the more detailed the better). His first job as insurance adjuster led to his relocation to Clarkston and then to Tacoma, Washington in the early 1970’s. Living on Puget Sound, he developed an interest in Foss tug boats that he translated into building intricate remote-control scale models. He loved launching his creations and seeing the awed reaction of spectators, especially children, when they were afloat. Gary worked as service advisor for several auto and motorcycle dealerships in Tacoma and Olympia well into the 1990’s. Triumph Motorcycles, vintage and modern, were Gary’s passion. He often organized and led bike trips around the Northwest. He thanks his longtime friend Wayne Englehorn for reigniting his love for biking when he had thought that phase was over. He was proud to pass on his immaculate motorcycles to keep them in the family.
In 1992, Gary married Bonnie Mollerup Vance in Boise when he was 50 years old. Bonnie brought three adult children to the family who provided grandchildren for whom Gary is loving grandpa. Bonnie and Gary ran the drive-up Pony Expresso Coffee stand on S. 21st Avenue in Caldwell for seven years beginning in 2004. In retirement Gary refined his handicraft of calligraphy, lovingly producing cards and letters for many correspondents. He and Bonnie also traveled to American Civil War sites, down the Mississippi River and to several National Parks.
Gary is survived by his wife Bonnie Vermaas (Middleton). Bonnies children, Brenda (Randy) Trujillo, Tammie (Ruben) Muniz and Tracy (Leticia) Vance; six grand-children, Megan (Stacy) Muniz, Nico (Courtney) Muniz, Brandon (Natalie) Trujillo, Troy Vance, Michael Vance and Olivia Vance; one great-granddaughter, Ava Muniz; sisters, Muriel (Merrill) Oaks of Oldtown, Idaho, Chris (Terry) Troutner of Kuna; brothers, Ted (Ludee) Vermaas and Joe Vermaas both of Boise; brothers-in-law, Chuck (Louann) Mollerup and Dick (Janet) Mollerup, also of Boise; nieces and nephews, Stephanie Witt, Jordan Oaks, Jake Vermaas, Alexis Vermaas Ellis, Marie Vermaas Chong, Dylan Sinclair, and Aleix Vermaas, Audrey Mesher, Erin Hudson.
Funeral services to be held 3:00 p.m., September 25, 2020 at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery, Boise, Idaho. Please arrive 15 minutes early. Reception will follow at a location to be announced. Please share your condolences with the family at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com
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