Our beloved son, Aaron (Bear) Robert Van de Graaf, 23, of Granger went to be with his Lord and Savior on Saturday, May 5, 2012, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Ellensburg.

Aaron was born Oct. 9, 1988 to Robert Roland and Mary (Rasmussen) Van de Graaf.

Aaron was raised in Granger. He attended kindergarten in Granger and then attended Sunnyside Christian School, graduating with the class of 2007.

Aaron was currently working with his parents at Bob's Drive In and Vibrant Health in Sunnyside. His friends joked that he was a full-time stay at home son!

From an early age, Aaron was always interested in sports, playing soccer and baseball but his true passion was basketball. He loved to follow his older brother, Derek and his friends when they were playing AAU basketball. Even though he was two years younger, they often allowed him to play on their tournament teams. Frequently, to his annoyance, he was keeping the bench warm. He would hit his dad and coach, Bob and his coach Tom, "Put me in, put me in!!"

In high school, he was part of the 2005 and 2007 SCHS State Championship Teams. In 2007, he was named 1B State Basketball Player of the Year. He went on to play basketball two more years at Walla Walla Community College. He thoroughly enjoyed his college years in Walla Walla.

He also enjoyed hunting with his grandpa, brother Derek and his cousins. He enjoyed going to his Uncle Dick's to play cards with his cousins. He did not enjoy fishing, it took too much patience!! The last few years, Aaron and his dad played fantasy football together. Sundays were filled with very loud conversations especially since they both had separate T.V.'s and Aaron's was two seconds faster than his dad's.

Aaron enjoyed many things, spending time with his family, family vacations in Mexico, the Oregon Coast and especially Twin Lakes. He also enjoyed gatherings with the Van de Graaf's and Rasmussen's.

He was quick to smile, quick to help a friend and/or cousin in need and had a very competitive spirit!

Aaron (Bear) is survived by his parents, Bob and Mary Van de Graaf of Granger; his brother, Derek (Anita) Van de Graaf of Sunnyside; nephews, Carson and Landon Van de Graaf of Sunnyside; his grandparents, Willie and Carolyn Van de Graaf of Yakima and Bob Rasmussen of Granger; his paternal aunt and uncles, Genny (Jake) DeRuyter, Bill (Marsha) Van de Graaf and Greg (Laura) Van de Graaf, all of Sunnyside; his maternal aunt and uncles, Steve (Terry) Rasmussen of Issaquah, Greg (Joelee) Rasmussen of Granger, Rich (Pat) Rasmussen of Union Gap and Diane (Dave) Pearson of Granger; his cousins, Samantha and Caitlin DeRuyter, Erika Den Boer, Alissa Howell, Casey and Emily Van de Graaf, Parker and Dekker Van de Graaf, Kasey Mendoza, Maria and Sarah Rasmussen, Chris and Nathan Kwak, Rich Rasmussen Jr., Amanda Hurlburt, David Pearson, Kristy Stewart and Katie Miller; his special cousin and best friend, Cole Van de Graaf; his two dogs, Cooper and Burt; his great aunts, uncles and cousins; and many special friends.

He was preceded in death by his two grandmothers, Erma Van de Graaf and Lucille Rasmussen; and his black labs, Herbie, Hank and Gus.

Viewing will be held Thursday, May 10, 2012, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church. Funeral services will be held Friday, May 11, 2012, at 1 p.m. at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, followed by a luncheon at the church.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Aaron's memory may contribute to Sunnyside Christian School Boys Basketball Program.

Those wishing to sign Aaron's on-line memorial book may do so at

Smith Funeral Home LTD and Crematory in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.


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