Egbert J. Smitter

Egbert J. Smitter has been a resident of Grand Rapids since he was three years of age, and for nearly a quarter of a century he has here been established in the dry goods business, at 1875-77 Division avenue, south. Mr. Smitter was born in the Netherlands, May 5, 1867, and is a son of John and Anna (Burg) Smitter, who remained in their native land until 1870, when they came to the United States and established their home in Grand Rapids, where they passed the remainder of their lives. Egbert .J. Smitter has vivid memories of the conditions that marked Grand Rapids in the period of his boyhood, and it is interesting to recall that he attended school in district No. 4, at the corner of Cass and Wealthy avenues. As a young man he entered the employ of Leonard Benjamins, who long conducted a clothing store at Monroe and Ionia streets, and with this concern he continued for eighteen years, in which time he gained broad and practical knowledge of the details of the business. Thus he was well reinforced in experience when, in 1903, he engaged independently in the dry goods business, at the corner of Division avenue and Burton street, he later having purchased the building in which his business was conducted, and the same having continued the headquarters of the enterprise to the present time. After the close of the World war he admitted his two sons, both of whom had been in the nationís military service in the war period, to partnership in the business, which has since been conducted under the firm name of Smitter & Sons. April 15, 1890, Mr. Smitter was united in marriage to Miss Mary Drukker, daughter of Henry and Winifred (Terpsma) Drukker, who were born and reared in the Netherlands and who thence came to the United States and established their residence in Grand Rapids in the year 1873. Mr. and Mrs. Smitter have three children: Anna, who was born January 20, 1891, holds a position in her fatherís store; John B., who was born January 6, 1896, and who is now a member of the firm of Smitter & Sons, enlisted in the United States army when the nation entered the World war, gained the rank of second lieutenant, and in his period of service he was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia, and Camp Custer, near Battle Creek, Michigan. Henry E., who was born May 17, 1894, and is the third of the principals of the firm of Smitter & Sons, became a member of the Three Hundred and Thirty-eighth United States Infantry regiment, which was assigned to the Eighty-fifth Division, and he was with his command in overseas service during a period of eleven months.

Transcriber: Nancy Lesser
Created: 4 March 2003