Military Graveside Service
Visitation from 10 AM until the start of the service
Life Story / Obituary
Kind and caring, loyal and true, Daryl Pier Wynia lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. Daryl was observant and compassionate, genuinely liked people, and led with his heart in all things. He loved God, his country, his family, his friends, and his military brothers. He was smart, loved to laugh, and encouraged others even as he struggled with his health over the last few years. Though our days with him were far too few, each moment we shared with him is a gift we will long treasure.
1982 was a year filled with many debuts. Disney's Epcot Center first opened its doors while USA Today and The Weather Channel made their way into our world. While The Lawrence Welk Show played its final tune, Late Night With David Letterman, Fame, and Family Ties became household names. The J Geils Band rocked the charts, Sally Ride became the first woman in space, Chariots of Fire taught us we were all made for a purpose, and E.T. inspired us to follow our heart lights. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the hearts and home of David Lee and Bonny (Mulder) Wynia as they welcomed their son Daryl to their family on September 27 in Sheldon, Iowa.
At the age of two, Daryl and his family moved to Grandville, Michigan, for work and to be closer to family. From an early age, Daryl was full of energy, curiosity, and adventure. Daryl enjoyed the good company of his older sister, Joni, his first best friend. He liked cars and trucks, playing with Legos, and all sports. He was very outgoing, and when he was five, his family moved into a new house. Upon arriving at the house, Daryl found his bathing suit and a towel, then walked up and down the street asking his new neighbors if he could swim in their pool. Eventually, he found one and jumped right in. Bonny was less than pleased. He loved animals, especially his pet dog Snoopy, who pulled him on his sled in the snow or pulled his newspapers along for Daryl's paper route. A saver, Daryl hung onto his paper route money and often told his parents he would be the richest one in the family. As a family, the Wynias attended Madison Square Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, where he made a profession of faith and was active in Cadets and youth group. Daryl prayed often and knew his Scriptures.
Daryl attended Grandville Christian Elementary School, where he played the trombone. He was known for his high energy and keeping the principal company on many occasions. Daryl's best friend as a child was Matt Verstrate; they rode everywhere on their bikes and always had a lot of fun. He attended middle school at Calvin Christian. As a high schooler at Union High, he played football as a linebacker. He was a fast runner and hard hitter. Outgoing, Daryl enjoyed a very active social life and had a lot of good friends, many of whom remained his friends for life. He also worked at Twin Cactus in the Mall. 1999 proved a difficult year. Daryl's parents divorced, and though he was exceptionally smart, he didn't feel academically challenged or motivated. He left school during his senior year, choosing to work, soup up his car, hang out, and party a bit with his friends.
At 18, Daryl decided he wanted to enlist in the U.S. Army, which required a high school diploma or a GED. Daryl soon took his GED placement tests and did so well on them that the instructor just gave him the final test without requiring him to take the classes first. He received one of the highest scores possible.
In March of 2001, Daryl began his service in the Army. During basic training, he received a letter from his mom every day. Unbeknownst to her, each letter earned him even more pushups. By the end of Basic, he had become very strong. Daryl worked as a Humvee mechanic until his bad knees resulted in a medical discharge in October 2003.
After his military service, Daryl attended Ferris State University, where he was vice-president of his class and earned a bachelor's degree in Automotive Management. Before he graduated in May of 2007, Daryl had secured a job with G.M./Ally Bank. After completing an internship with the company in Detroit, he took a position in Chicago, Illinois. He was the youngest executive in North America for G.M. and soon earned a promotion and transferred to Lansing, Michigan. Unfortunately, Daryl's job with G.M. was eliminated in 2012, which was very difficult for him. In time, he moved to Austin, Texas, for a few years near his friend Erik Witte, where he managed a very large Love's Truck Stop. In time, he returned to Holland, Michigan, to be near a girlfriend and worked for Gentex as a Quality Auditor.
Sadly, in 2018, Daryl's father died. The loss proved a major blow for Daryl, and he never seemed to recover. In 2019, he moved to California to live with his mother and stepfather. Then COVID hit, and he was there for a couple of years. Nearly a year ago, Daryl returned to Michigan and lived in Muskegon near his sister and nephew, Tre. Daryl enjoyed a special relationship with Tre and loved being the crazy, fun uncle, watching Sponge Bob, the Tigers, and U of M games and fishing together. He taught Tre the U of M fight song and loved taking him for rides on his motorcycle. Daryl drove daily to work at Caledonia Liquor Store and loved the constant flow of customer interactions. Though Daryl had several serious relationships through the years, he remained single, claiming women are too "high maintenance."
The last few years have been difficult, with isolation and some depression. He lost a lot of Army friends, and he took their deaths hard. He found comfort and connection by always staying in touch with Army friends and family. He was someone they leaned on and confided in. He also found enjoyment in life's simple pleasures, like fishing and watching comedies. He'd throw a line in anywhere he could, and he enjoyed King of the Hill and classic comedies. Whether watching his favorite movies like Step Brothers or anything with Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and Will Ferrell, he would laugh loudly every time. A huge U of M football fan, Daryl enjoyed going to games and tailgating. Closer to home, he enjoyed a good pepperoni pizza with lots of milk, Diet Pepsi, whiskey, Skittles, Snickers, and Oreos. Much like his dad, he enjoyed Hard Rock and a little bit of country. Though he didn't travel often, he enjoyed trips to California, Texas, Colorado, Iowa, and Punta Cana for Erik's wedding.
A devoted son, brother, uncle, and friend, Daryl touched, moved, and inspired all who were blessed to know him. As we mourn his sudden loss, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying his legacy forward. In each moment, we generously give ourselves in service, cast our lines, cheer on the Wolverines, listen with compassion and care, and cheer on our loved ones' endeavors, we celebrate the many ways Daryl gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.
Daryl Pier Wynia, 41, of Muskegon, Michigan, passed away in his sleep on November 9, 2023. Daryl is survived by his mother, Bonny Mulder-Behnia, and stepfather, Jahan Behnia; sister, Joni Marie Wynia, nephew Ronald (Tre) Word III and fiancée Emily Lieb; step-mother Crystal Wynia; grandfather, Al Mulder (and Joanna Meyer); and many extended family members in the Mulder, Wynia, and Ferris families. He was preceded in death by his father, Dave Wynia; grandmothers, Darlene Mulder and Joyce Vander Well; grandfather, Pier W. Wynia; and aunt, Eva Nickles. Visitation will be held on Thursday, November 16, 7–9 p.m., at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive, Grand Rapids. Interment on Friday, November 17, 11:30 a.m. at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Kalamazoo. The Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 18, at Madison Square Church, 1441 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Daryl's life story, submit a favorite memory or photo, or sign the guestbook online.