Gary Vermeer, founder and chairman emeritus of Vermeer Corporation, Pella, IA, died Feb. 2, at 90 years of age. Funeral services were conducted last Friday at Faith Christian Reformed Church in Pella.

Along with his cousin, Vermeer started the business in 1948, after inventing a wagon hoist five years earlier that made it easier to unload corn. Demand for the labor-saving device from his neighbors prompted him to open Vermeer Manufacturing Company.

From that small operation, the company grew over the next 60 years to an international organization that manufactures agricultural, construction, environmental and industrial equipment. Today, Vermeer Corporation has industrial dealerships in over 60 countries and on every continent except Antarctica, in addition to hundreds of agricultural equipment dealers throughout the U.S.

Perhaps his best known manufacturing contribution is the Vermeer round hay baler, an invention that revolutionized agriculture in 1971 as it turned the labor-intensive process of hay baling into a one-man operation.

Vermeer is survived by his wife, Matilda, three children and their spouses (Stanley and Alma Vermeer, Robert and Lois Vermeer, and Mary and Dale Andringa), eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

To learn more about Gary Vermeer and his lifetime of contributions, visit