Gerrit Harry Kwak, Sr. was embraced into the arms of his Lord and Savior on July 17, 2021 surrounded by his loving family. He was 94 years old. Born in Outlook, WA, on December 19, 1926, to Case & Lena (Schilperoort) Kwak; Harry enjoyed his large extended family of Dutch heritage.
Harry and Anna Elizabeth Dekker were married on January 2, 1948 at the Yakima First Presbyterian Church. They spent 56 ½ years together raising their family and serving the community. Harry and Anna’s home was always a welcome place for family and friends worldwide.
Harry was a farmer who lived and worked his entire life in the Yakima Valley. “Harrah Harry” grew multiple crops throughout his career. He raised large herds of cattle and sheep. He had many horses for the cattle operation and for his great passion of playing polo.
Harry was a lifelong member of the Harrah Community Church and gave countless neighbor kids rides to Sunday School every week. He served on the boards of the Youth for Christ Campus Life ministry and the Flying H Youth Ranch for many years. Harry and Anna served the Lord in many areas, Good News Club, teaching Sunday School, VBS, the Mountainair Church Camp, the Union Gospel Mission, and presenting the gospel to children. Sharing God’s love with others was his most important legacy.
Harry’s pride and joy was watching his children and grandchildren play sports and took great pleasure in spending time with his family. He loved taking the grandkids on Jeep rides around the farm and the pond in an old WWII Army Jeep. Harry’s signature color was International Red and was recognized by wearing his straw hats at a rakish tilt. He could be heard singing or whistling while driving his classic cars. He was known as “Happy Harry.” We can hear him now singing, “Please Release Me,” and the Marty Robbins song, “El Paso.”
Following the death of his beloved wife, Anna, Harry married Mary Laverne Heilman Wear November 22, 2004. Harry and Mary had many adventures in their 16 years of marriage. Many thanks to Cheryl Sample and the Hospice team of Shelby, Piedad, Belinda, and Chaplain Jerry, who assisted Kathy and Harry Jr. with his end of life care.
Harry is survived by his children, Carrie Juarez, Patty Jo Murray, Kristie Peterson, and Harry Kwak, Jr. & Kathy; 15 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren; and his brother, Wilbur Kwak. He was preceded in death by his wife and mother of his children, Anna; his second wife, Mary; his parents, a brother and sister, a granddaughter, and a great-grandson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Flying H Youth Ranch, Naches Highway.