On June 17, 2022, Gayrey F. Whitfield – loving husband and father of six children – passed away at age 71. He was of the Christian faith.
Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at Rejoice Community Church in Le Mars, IA with Pastor Duane Tinklenberg officiating. Burial will follow in the Remsen Community Cemetery in Remsen, IA. Visitation with family present will be 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday at Rejoice Community Church. Visitation will resume 1 hour before the funeral on Wednesday at the church. Services have been entrusted to Fisch Funeral Home & Monument in Remsen, IA.
Gayrey was born on June 12, 1951 to Talmadge O. and Mary Whitfield. He grew up in Holcut, Mississippi – a town that was demolished in 1976 to make room for a canal. Still, Gayrey maintained his connection to his brothers and sisters in Mississippi and drove his wife and children back to visit every summer.
Extremely handy in a variety of fields, Gayrey worked a wide range of jobs. He spent time fixing cars and boats, painting water towers and working on a riverboat before he settled in Iowa, where he worked for years on water distribution and treatment in Remsen. He later retired from the city of Remsen.
Nothing was more important to Gayrey than his family. He and his wife Lila married on June 9, 1981 and celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2021. They enjoyed dancing and golfing together, as well as hosting friends and family. Gayrey adored his five children, and he went to great lengths to make sure they had everything they needed. Years later, he did the same for his grandchildren and loved when they called him “My papa.” Gayrey would drive for hours or even hop on an airplane (he hated airplanes) whenever his kids needed help.
Gayrey cared deeply that things were done correctly, a trait he passed on to his children. He had lightning-quick wit and put people at ease by having a joke ready for every situation, even late in life as his health failed. His kids remember him as honest, generous and considerate – a man who cared that he made a positive impact on his loved ones and tried his best.
Gayrey was preceded in death by his parents and in-laws Creston and Lucille Hoekstra, his brothers Keith and Ricky Whitfield, his nephews Brian Whitfield and Anthony Hoekstra, and his niece Erika Hoekstra. He is survived by his wife and his children Jamie Whitfield, Amanda and Trevor Barfoth, Leslie and Thomas Westerholm, Tyler and Nadine Whitfield, Carrie and Kody Vande Kamp and Troy and Marie Whitfield, his grandchildren Shawn, Baily, Lindsey and Grayson Whitfield, Averi, Walker, Weston and Trace Barfoth, Raphael Westerholm, Adeline and Boston Vande Kamp, his brothers John Whitfield, Jerry Whitfield and Mike Whitfield, his sister Martha Whitfield, his in-laws Ann Whitfield, Lisa Whitfield, Twila and Harlan Oolman, Darryl and Cheryl Hoekstra, Kevin and Sandy Hoekstra, Lyle and Theresa Hoekstra, and Karla and Henry Byl as well as many nieces and nephews.
Gayrey’s pallbearers are Eric Evink, Jesse Kleinhesselink, Mike Wells, Everette Vardaman, George Miller and Wes Budden. His honorary pallbearers are Dick Laddusaw, Dave Vander Hamm, Don Konopasek, Hank Byl, Don Evink.