Monument of knowledge when it comes to traditional clothing, local history and culture and a gracious person; Gerrit Stegeman (89) from Rouveen passed away

Gerrit Stegeman from Rouveen passed away. He was a walking encyclopedia, a monument of knowledge when it came to the history of Staphorst and Rouveen. He also had a great influence on the regional costume of Staphorst and Rouveen. Gerrit Stegeman was 89 years old.

If you wanted to know something about the Second World War or the Moluccan era in Rouveen, you were looking for an old photo, or you wanted to know something about specific fabrics from the region, you visited Gerrit Stegeman. If you didn’t want to know anything, but just wanted to talk, you also went to Gerrit. He was sharp. His memory was flawless. He died suddenly on Thursday.

Stegeman was a well-known name in Staphorst municipality, but perhaps in a large part of the country. Especially when it came to fabrics and textiles used in the Staphorster costume or in other regional costumes. Not surprisingly, his store Stegeman’s Textiel on Oude Rijksweg is a mecca when it comes to fabrics, also online. The customers are located all over the country and beyond. He was also a source of information for the Dutch Costume Association because he knew everything.

His father was a postman, his mother had a small drapery business and they were also a bit of a farmer. Gerrit grew up here, he had his friends there, went to school there, experienced the war there and went into military service. He married Geesje Mijnheer in 1958 and they had two daughters, Alie and Mattie.

Up the farmer

Geesje was in the shop and Gerrit went ‘on the farm’. Like a peddler, he ran around the area with his van full of things. He knew all about the traditional dress and he was fanatical and proud of it. It had to be right. He was always looking for a nice rag or a nice ribbon.

Gerrit went to fairs at home and abroad, and when he found something beautiful, he told his daughters: ‘Just call Italy, because you can speak English, to see if they have other types of fabric.’ It didn’t matter that both his girls and the Italians were mouth-to-mouth on both sides of the line. It always worked out. Gerrit and his mother also had a great influence on the regional costume of Staphorst and Rouveen, because the fabrics and motifs often came through him and he decided whether they were good enough or not.

Traditional costumes show

In the 1980s, Gerrit came into contact with the director of the former Flevohof. The man wanted to organize a big national costume day. Gerrit collected a bus full of friends and acquaintances, and they came to try on clothes in the store. Into the shop on one side, out the other side and in the meantime he told us something about the clothes. It was the beginning of the later traditional costume exhibitions in Staphorst

Until the end, Gerrit worked hard together with his two daughters Alie and Mattie. The store is a living business, physically but also online. Gerrit prepared the packages and he drove them to the post office by car every day. Shortly said; he never stopped working. It was hard that the wife Geesje was forced to live in Reestlandet in recent years. He visited her every afternoon and also arranged who would go and when. He picked up and brought everyone home.

Photo collection

Gerrit Stegeman managed a huge photo collection of Staphorst and Rouveen. He also gave many lectures on the history of his community and was therefore a welcome guest at Museum Staphorst and Historical Society Staphorst, where he was involved from the start. In a working group, he helped write the members’ magazine ‘t Olde Stapperst. When it came to local history, there was little Gerrit did not know.

Last year he contributed to the documentary film DUUTSERS by the villager and documentarian Geertjan Lassche, where he talks about the years of occupation in his village. He recalls his childhood memories in detail. He was also allowed to unveil a war memorial on the Kerkplein last year. Stegeman was a gracious person, he moved smoothly in society and everyone loved him.

In 2018, Gerrit received a ribbon and became a member of the Order of Orange-Nassau for his great services to society. De Rouvener then continued with his busy life. He did the shopping, helped in the business, loved choral singing, had a record on every night, he did puzzles and he kept sharpening his mind when it came to knowledge of the past and present. Gerrit still had many plans. Thursday night came to an abrupt end. He would have turned 90 on May 4 next year.

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