Jan Gleysteen

Jan Gleysteen

Jan Gleysteen, 92, died Dec. 25, 2023, at Jenning’s Terrace nursing home in Aurora, Ill. In the last years of his life, he suffered from dementia and failing health.

He was born July 16, 1931, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Jan Gleijsteen and Gerritje (Nowee) Gleijsteen. He attended the Royal Dutch Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam before coming to the United States in 1953 to study at Goshen College and Eastern Mennonite College. On June 30, 1955, he married Barbara Ellen Detweiler, and they moved to Scottdale, Pa., where he worked for Mennonite Publishing House as an artist, author, illustrator, book designer and Anabaptist history lecturer until his retirement to Goshen, Ind., in 1995.

Jan was a world traveler and will be remembered for his joke telling and his love of art, design, photography, history, books and trains. Having grown up in the occupied Netherlands during the Second World War, he was a lifelong advocate for peace. He was a founding partner of TourMagination, a travel company that took tour groups to visit Anabaptist heritage sites in Europe with Jan serving as one of the regular tour guides. He wrote two monthly columns and many magazine articles. He was the author of three books. His art and design skills were used by Laurelville Retreat Center, Menno Hof, Penn Alps Restaurant, Crown Metal Products and businesses in St. Jacobs, Ont.

He is survived by a daughter, Linda (Bob Boltz) Gleysteen of Aurora; a son, David (Laura Bruno) Gleysteen of Kalamazoo, Mich.; two grandchildren; sisters-in-law Lola Detweiler Miller of Denver and Mary Erb Detweiler of Newton, Kan.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara; sisters Gerrie Gleijsteen of Santpoort, the Netherlands, and Erika Gleijsteen of Wissembourg, France; brother Marijn; and in-laws Joseph and Polly (Swartzendruber) Detweiler, James and Phyllis Detweiler, Chris Miller and Joe Detweiler.

Memorial service plans will be announced later. Memorial gifts may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.


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