Gerhardus Cornelius Erasmus Van Tonder, (74) passed away on September 10th from natural causes.
Gary was born on July 4th, 1948 in Kroonstad, South Africa to Parents Francois & Johanna Van Tonder. Gary graduated from Hoer Landbou School, Kroonstad and received a degree in Agriculture.
He was a Dairy Farmer in Africa and a building contractor in America. But mainly, he was a wildly successful Father and Oupa (Grandpa in Afrikaans language).
Gary is predeceased by his Parents, Francois & Johanna; Brother Renier, and Sister Thea from South Africa.
Gary will be mourned by his family here in America: Mother of 4 children and Former Wife Naomi Sampson, His Children, Minnette of Kansas & (husband Scott), Sannette of Hilton Head, Gerda of Calabasas CA & (Husband Brian), Bertus of Hilton Head & (Wife Lacey) and his brother Frans of Metter, GA. Grandchildren, Michael, George, Gary, Lizzy, Daniel, Belle, Simon, Alice, Katherine, & Laia. Also, his sisters in South Africa: Ella, Susan, Bettie, & Daleen.
Gary maintained a fun-loving attitude of gratitude his whole life. He came to America in 1992 to give his family a better life. He often said, “America is the land of Opportunities and Dreams, Baby”. If you knew Gary, you know, he never met a stranger that didn’t become a friend and he lit up any room he occupied. Dad’s Home, literally a one-of-a-kind self-built mansion, was a revolving door to family and friends world-wide. If you were in need, Dad was there to give comfort, advice, encouragement, and the best hugs.
Gary was passionate about his music, dancing and loved listening to music from Opera, to Country, to Rock. His infectious love of life was evident to all, whether you met him on the tennis court years ago; or even on the dance floor right up to the night he passed. Many Hilton Head friends likely knew him as “Dancing Gary”. Dad just loved life to its fullest. His laugh was infectious and utterly his own. More than anything Gary was head over heels in love with his entire family, children, and grandchildren. But lastly, he loved his Bible, Jesus and he was a man of Great Faith. He passed this Faith on to his children and grandchildren. He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him.
There will be a funeral service/celebration of life on Thursday, September 15th, 11:00am at Central Church, 975 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island.