Gaylon Charles Van Zee
August 24, 1946 - January 3, 2020
Funeral services for Gaylon Charles Van Zee, 73, of Miller, SD, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, at the St. Lawrence Community Church of St. Lawrence, SD, with Pastor Glenn Stewart officiating.
Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m. at Reck Funeral Home of Miller, SD.
Burial will be at Rose Hill Cemetery of Langford, SD.
Gaylon Charles Van Zee died Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, at Good Samaritan Society of Miller, SD.
Gaylon Charles Van Zee was born Aug. 24, 1946, at Huron, SD, to Tom and Helen (Jones) Van Zee.
While growing up, he attended the St. Lawrence Community Church of St. Lawrence, SD, with his family and as a young boy, he asked Jesus to be his Savior.
As a child, he attended country school in rural Hand County of South Dakota, riding a horse to school each day and went on to graduate from Sunshine Bible Academy in 1964. He was a talented athlete and went on to play football at Huron College of Huron, SD, until he suffered a knee injury.
After college, he taught and coached at Sunshine Bible Academy.
He met his wife, Laela in the summer of 1971 inAberdeen, SD, where he was leading a ministry team and she was the church secretary. A year later, they were married and moved to Brookings, SD, where they helped start the New Life Educational Foundation as a ministry to college students.
From there, they were involved in many different ministries as well as mission trips to Mexico, Hong Kong and China.
Later, they returned to Sunshine Bible Academy where Gaylon was development director and Laela, school secretary. During this time, he also took over as the pastor of the small church in Gann Valley, SD. After their
years at Gann Valley, SD, Gaylon and Laela became on an active part of the Pleasant Valley Church community.
After returning to Sunshine Bible Academy, they bought a small acreage close to Sunshine where Gaylon raised cattle and put up hay. He worked as a full-time carpenter during many seasons of life and remodeled the historic farmhouse on their family farm. He was an excellent finish carpenter and took real pride in his work.After retiring he remained on the farm working his cattle and putting up hay. He always loved the farm life. Eventually he worked at the grocery store in Miller, SD, doing carry out so he could
visit and enjoy more people.
A passion of his throughout the years was coaching basketball and track where he touched many young lives. He loved deep spiritual conversations with good friends and telling stories of the good old days. He was known to many for his charisma, leadership and visionary spirit.
After suffering from minor strokes over the past decade, he suffered a major stroke in August of 2018 which marked the beginning of the last chapter of his life.
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Laela Van Zee of Miller, SD; five adult children, Victoria Day, Shannon Van Zee and wife, Janella, Jeremy Van Zee and wife, Janice,Matthew Van Zee and wife, Rebecca and Shawna Van Zee; grandchildren, Garrett, Annaliese, Alexander, Daniella, Julianna and Jennifer Van Zee; siblings, Dale Van Zee and wife, Cheryl, Richard Van Zee and wife, June, Larry Van Zee and wife, Sherry, De Van Zee and Ray Van Zee and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Helen Van Zee; a brother, David Van Zee and an infant son, Jordan Van Zee.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller, SD, will be in charge of arrangements.