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1938 Gerrit 2022

Gerrit Terpstra

February 21, 1938 — May 15, 2022

Dr. Gerrit Anne Terpstra dies at the age of 84. On the morning of May 15, 2022, Dr. Gerrit Terpstra, a medical doctor and long term resident of Arizona, passed away with his loving and devoted daughter Lenneke and his companion Lucky by his side, with Willie Nelson playing softly in the background. Gerrit was born on February 21, 1938 to Tietje Bierma and Jan Ido Terpstra in The Netherlands. When talking about his childhood, Gerrit’s stories were filled with his experiences as a young child during World War Two and remembering the bombings near his home in Rotterdam. He also told of stories about visiting his grandfather, Gerrit, and his Tante Sim in his beloved Friesland. Although Gerrit moved to the United States as a young man, his heart always belonged with his family back in The Netherlands. He pursued his dream of becoming a physician by attending and graduating from Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. His love of the mountains, deserts and cowboys brought Gerrit and his new wife, Edith (Valk), to Arizona in 1965 where he completed his Internal Medicine Internship and Residency at Maricopa County Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona. He then joined the first HMO Geriatric Group Practice in Sun City, Arizona. As the Sun City communities expanded, so did the need for more geriatricians in the community. The Geriatric Group Practice joined with ABC HMO which ultimately became Cigna Healthplan. Gerrit held the positions of Chief of Staff, Vice President of Utilization, Vice President of Quality Assurance and Chairman of Internal Medicine. From 1985 to 1987, Gerrit served as Medical Director of Cigna Western Region. While overseeing the practice of five healthcare centers, Gerrit, Michael Lance and Jim Gilligan lead five Chiefs of Staff and five Administrators advocating for high quality healthcare through the development and adoption of nationally recognized standards. He selected a team of highly qualified nurses, social workers and volunteers to provide end of life and palliative care services for the Cigna Hospice program where he served as Medical Director. Gerrit returned to seeing patients in his group practice in Sun City. He was well respected by his patients and was known to perform house calls when needed. In 1990, he developed the Nurse Practitioner program in management of 500 patients in 75 Nursing Homes in Maricopa County. In 1998, he became the Medical Director of Sun Health Hospice and Hospice of the Valley. He was a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Board Certified in Geriatrics and Board Certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Gerrit’s many accomplishments in healthcare include: Member of the American College of Physicians, Member of the Advisory Committee HSAG Health Service Advisory Group. He was a Surveyor for The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care; Program Director of Cigna Healthplan Geriatric Seminar; Committee member to develop a Geriatric Fellowship in St. Joseph’s and Boswell Hospitals; President of the Arizona Geriatrics Society; Preceptor Masters Level Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Program, College of Nursing, University of Arizona; Instructor of 3rd year Family Practice Residents in Geriatrics, Phoenix Memorial Hospital; Instructor 3rd year Medical Students, Osteopathic School, Kirksville, Ohio; Instructor of St. Joseph’s - Sun Health Geriatric Fellowship Program. He was elected Geriatrician of the Year in 1992 for Arizona. Gerrit loved traveling to Europe, especially to The Netherlands, where he would reunite with his sister and two brothers to reminisce about their beloved parents and their childhood. His love for his birth country was passed to his children when he and Edith would take them back to The Netherlands to visit family and friends. One of his favorite trips was one that he made with his brother, Gerben, and wife, Hanneke, to Tanzania. Gerrit always had great stories to tell. With a long history of philanthropic work, he and his second wife, Carolee, focused their efforts primarily with Rotary International where Gerrit was named President of the Del Sol Rotary of Sun City. As Rotarians, they supported the Guatemalan Literacy Project, providing textbooks, computer labs and literacy programs to underprivileged children in Guatemala. His work as a Rotarian took him to Russia, Canada, Central and South America, Australia and the United Kingdom. Gerrit is predeceased by his wife Carolee and his son Jan Ido (Anne) Terpstra. He is survived by his sister Anneke (Eddie) v.d. pol, brother Gerben (Hanneke), brother Ido Jan (Karen), daughter Lenneke (Romer) Brown, grandsons Shawn, Jackson and Aidan, granddaughter Saskia and his first wife, and mother to his children, Edith. He will be missed by many nieces and nephews, colleagues, friends, patients and sponsored families through the rotary. A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held Saturday July 23, 2022, at 1:00pm, with the Services beginning at 1:30pm at: Arizona Broadway Theater 7701 W Paradise Lane, Peoria, Arizona. Gerrit Terpstra had a passionate interest in Medicine and an inquisitive mind. He was straight forward and correct 99% of the time. He cared deeply for his patients, family and friends. He loved stories so if you are able to join us as we celebrate the life of Dr. Terpstra, please bring a story to share. All are welcome.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gerrit Terpstra, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, July 23, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held Saturday July 23, 2022, at 1:00pm, with the Services beginning at 1:30pm at the Arizona Broadway Theatre.

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