SELKIRK – John Becker Geurtze, 88, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 1, 2017 at his home on Woodridge Farms (The Property).
John was born in Albany on May 4, 1929, the son of the late Harold H. and Ruth Rose Geurtze. He was a graduate of Bethlehem Central H.S. Class of 1947, received an Empire Farmer Degree in 1947 and attended Cornell University – School of Agriculture from 1948-1950. He was a Boy Scout in his youth, and established Woodridge Farms at age 14. Farming was John’s life. In 1951, John went to Germany as an International Farm Youth Exchange Delegate. Over the years he held many positions, serving as New York Farm Bureau Director for six years, President of the Albany County Farm Bureau for three years and Director of NYS Pork Producers Council. He raised registered Yorkshire swine from 1961 to 1986 and also raised pigs used for heart research for the Albany Medical Center Pathology Dept. In 1954, John established Geurtze BBQ which is still operated today by his family.
John was very active civically, as well. As a youth and adult, he was a member and leader with 4-H, receiving its’ NYS Poultry Person of the Year award in 1947, and serving on the 4-H Extension Service Committee from 1952-1969. John served three terms on the Town Board for the Town of Bethlehem, and as a Town of Bethlehem Committeeman, representing the Elsmere and Glenmont areas. He worked as director of field operations for the Town of Bethlehem Public Works, secretary of Water District #1 Board of Commissioners and Chairman of Adirondack Water Works. He was a longtime member of the Delmar Kiwanis Club, 60+ years, and served as president in 1960 and 1991. He also served 20 years as an Army Reservist.
John is survived by his children, John B. Geurtze, Jr. (Theresa), Gretchen Geurtze, Elisa Peters (Joseph) and Sara Geurtze; step-sons, E. Daniel Wakeman (Micki) and William S. Wakeman (Cindy); ten grandchildren, fourteen great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. John was predeceased by his wife Kay Keel Geurtze, brother, Harold H. Geurtze, Jr., and sister, Jayne Geurtze Clarke. The family would like to thank the doctors and staff at Albany Medical Center D-5, John’s caregivers, Bruce, Joleen and Deb, and special friend, Barry Joslyn for all of their help.
A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Saturday, December 9th at Woodridge Farms, 939 Route 9W, Selkirk. In lieu of flowers, contributions in John’s memory may be made to Delmar Kiwanis Foundation, P.O. Box 121, Delmar, NY 12054.