Obituary Listings

Hans DeVries

March 15, 1928 February 7, 2019
Hans DeVries
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Obituary for Hans DeVries

Hans F. De Vries (90), of Cedar Falls, passed away Thursday, February 7, 2019, after enjoying a quiet afternoon with family.

He was born to Friedrich and Gertie (Beenken) De Vries on March 15, 1928, near Titonka, IA. He grew up helping his parents, and sister Lena, operate their family farm.
At age 18, he began attending Waldorf Jr. College in Forest City, IA to learn how to play the organ. He transferred to Central College, in Pella, in 1947 to further pursue that ambition. But he fell in love with Mary Lou Kamerick, of rural Pella, there and they married on April 19, 1949.

The couple initially lived in Titonka, but moved frequently as Hans developed previously undetected sales skills. By the end of the 1950’s they had lived in Oskaloosa, Boone, Estherville, Eagle Grove, Sigourney, Newton, and Sully. They then settled in Newton, where over the next 32 years, Hans worked for the Vernon Company, sold cars, clerked for Western Transportation Co., owned and operated the Hallmark card shop in the Newton mall, and ultimately became a star salesman for the Newton Manufacturing Co.

Hans and Mary Lou moved to Maplewood Village in Ankeny in 1994, where he continued to chalk up one sales record after another until Mary Lou became seriously ill and he became her twenty-four hour caregiver. She died on Mother’s Day, May 10, 1998.

After Hans recovered, he eventually met Shirley (Binkerd) McGrath while volunteering at Mercy Hospital. They suited each other well and married on June 10, 2000, at St. John’s Basilica in Des Moines. They then enjoyed nearly ten years together, living in Des Moines and Urbandale, before she passed away on May 7, 2010.

Hans thereafter relied on his sons for assistance and support. His own health deteriorated and he underwent a number of surgeries in his early eighties. Despite the weakened body, he stayed razor sharp mentally and would often surprise the sons with profound questions and observations. He continued living in the Reserve on Walnut Creek in Urbandale until December 2017, when he chose to move to Mallard Point, in Cedar Falls, where he lived until his death.

Although Hans never became the concert organist that he set out to become in 1947, he remained active in that field over the years. Initially he played for his own church congregations, in Sigourney, Sully and Newton. From 1964 to 1979, he was the official organist for the Newton, Iowa Presbyterian Church and also for St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Grinnell, from 1999 to 2012. He also provided organ accompaniment at numerous weddings and funerals.

He is survived by three sons: Stephen (Pauline), John (Lori) and Charles (Esther). A fourth son, James, pre-deceased his father on November 16, 2017, in Paris, France, where he had lived for thirty-five years. Hans also has eight grandchildren: Aaron De Vries, Stephanie De Vries, Derek De Vries, Melanie De Vries, Nathanael De Vries (France), Lily Jane De Vries (France), Kelsey (Nathanael) Danziger, and Jake De Vries. Han’s sister, Lena Helen De Vries, lives in Kaltenkirchen, Germany.

A Celebration of Life service will be held later in the spring. Arrangements are being handled by Caldwell-Parrish Funeral Home in Urbandale, Iowa.

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