October 2015 - Flying Changes
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 19:51

Tony William DeGroot

DG Bar Ranch patriarch Anthony “Tony” DeGroot perished in a plane crash while on a fishing trip in Alaska. He died on Sept. 16 at the age of 80. Tony was well known and much loved by many in the horse world.

Here is the lovely tribute posted on DG Bar’s Facebook page:

“It is with great sadness and joy that we announce the passing of Tony William De Groot. Sadness because he has left us and joy because he is now with the Lord.

“Tony, at the young age of 80, passed away in a plane accident while on a fishing trip in Alaska. He was doing what he loved.

“The youngest of 11 siblings, Tony was raised in Bennekom, the Netherlands. During WW II, his family was involved with the Dutch Resistance and he was impressed with the bravery of the American soldiers. At the age of 21, Tony decided to immigrate to the United States. He and his fiancée, Betty, were married May 15, 1957 in Hollandale, Minnesota. They moved to southern California in 1959 and five years later they began what is now a successful dairy farm operation in the Central Valley.

“Tony and Betty are the loving parents of: Ingrid and John Hamar; Elizabeth and Don Veenendaal; Tony and Rochelle De Groot; William and Allyson De Groot; Tamara Majors; and Willy Arts. They have 32 grandchildren including spouses and 14 great-grandchildren.

“Tony loved God fiercely. He was a founding member of Visalia Christian Reformed Church, in 1965. He enjoyed singing in the choir as well as leading song service. Tony was a youth group leader for many years and hosted Bible studies with Betty in their home. He was an example to his family, teaching them about living out their faith in Jesus Christ.

“Tony was very passionate about Betty and the life they created together. They adored each other’s company in the simplest of ways. Together, they enjoyed watching the sunrise and sunset as well as watching the hummingbirds while having breakfast. Tony loved all his children, no matter the age, and treasured each moment he spent with them.

“For many years, Tony was involved in and supported the dairy farm community. He loved sharing his knowledge of the agricultural industry and served with Rabobank, Alltech, and numerous boards.

Tony considered his business contacts as close friends. He was a role model and enjoyed sharing his faith with anyone. He also fulfilled Betty’s dream of owning a horse, and eventually developed DG Bar Ranch with his partner, Willy Arts.

“Tony had a way of making everyone feel special. He was known for spending hours in the cafe cooking and baking up a storm; generously sharing hospitality with all who entered his life. Tony had a sense of adventure to live his life to the fullest until the moment God brought him home. We are blessed to have had such a great husband, dad, and Opa. His legacy will live on in all of us.

“In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Visalia Christian Reformed Church and in the memo ‘Church House,’ 1030 South Linwood St., Visalia, CA 93277. The Church House is a ministry in an at-risk-neighborhood of Visalia seeking to provide a safe environment to children and a space where women can grow in Christ.

Tributes and condolences may be made at www.millerchapel.com.


Sarah Braun and Perfect Intentions during their Advanced debut. Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Photography

Perfect Intentions

After miraculous recoveries from earlier injuries and colics over a few years, event rider Sarah Braun’s Advanced Level partner Perfect Intentions, “Candy,” had to be euthanized on Sept. 1. Based at Hawley Bennett’s barn in Temecula, Candy had to be put down after a freak injury and complications that followed. It is a heartbreaking end to an amazing story of horsemanship and heart, for both Candy and Sarah, who was the US Eventing Association’s 2014 Groom of the Year recipient. For more on the injuries Candy did recover from, see The Comeback Kids article in our July issue.


Flying Changes welcomes your submissions. Please tell us about what’s happening in your life and/or at your barn: births, deaths, engagements, marriages, new management and barn moves. Please send your reports to Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Photos welcome!