Life Story / Obituary
With a warm smile and love of laughter, David Peter Ries lived a life rich in family and friends. David was a talker, joker, and hard worker. His sarcastic humor and ready puns inspired both groans and hearty laughs, always to his own delight. David treated people well; though he teased, he was never degrading or demeaning. Devoted to his family, he provided for and protected his children, and loved his wife with all his heart. Though our days with him were all too few, David leaves us with many treasured memories and so much gratitude for the gift of his companionship.
The early 60s proved a time of much excitement. While cars continued to evolve as more compacts appeared and sold well, Alan Shepard operated the country's first space flight. Popular music included Chubby Checker's "Pony Time" and "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles, while "West Side Story" and "The Parent Trap" dominated the movie theaters. Nowhere was there more excitement than in the lives of Peter Ries and Carolyn Ries as they welcomed their son David on June 2, 1961, in Yucaipa, California.
Though David's parents divorced when he was in second grade, his father later married Marilyn, and together they raised their blended family. Never considering one another as "steps," Kim, Judy, David, Mike, Karen, and Pam were true brothers and sisters. Their dad, Peter, was a metallurgist foreman for Grand Rapids Foundry and coached David's Little League team. The family attended St. John's Church and enjoyed camping. Favorite campgrounds included Ludington, Petoskey, and Montague. David enjoyed ice skating, sports of all kinds, and participating in Cub Scouts. David attended Shawmut Hills Elementary and Oakleigh Middle Schools, and Union High School, where he played football, hockey, and baseball.
After graduating with the class of 1980, thinking he'd follow his father's footsteps, David went to Western Michigan University to study metalwork and play football. At the end of his first semester, he returned home and went to work. His first jobs included working at Burger King on Leonard Street, making pallets, and foundry work. Eventually, he landed a job driving trucks for Jasper Engines and Transmissions, delivering regionally throughout Michigan for the past 28 years.
David loved photography and took photography classes at GRCC and finished PC Pro School. He never pursued photography professionally but enjoyed it as a hobby. He enjoyed taking pictures at special events and for senior portraits. David's first car was a beat-up Camaro, but he soon upgraded to his pride and joy, a 1975 Pontiac Trans Am.
In 1992, David's son, Tyler Powers, was born. Sadly, David was unable to share a close relationship with his son. In time, David had the good fortune of meeting his sister Pam's roommate, co-worker, and friend, Esther Rivera. Once they met, David was around the apartment a lot. When Esther moved back to Puerto Rico, David frequently called and talked to her for three hours at a time. Eventually, he convinced Esther to return to West Michigan, and when her plane arrived in Chicago, David was there to meet her. He proposed, and they were married shortly after, on May 5, 1995, at a Lutheran Church in Grand Haven, followed by a a June honeymoon to Mackinaw Island.
The newlyweds made their first home at Alpine Meadow Trailer Park. David loved being a dad to David and Kimberly. Loving and supportive, David balanced goofiness, fun, and play with necessary strictness. He taught them the values of hard work, being responsible, and always saving for security, especially in the case of an emergency. David and Kim enjoyed riding along with their dad on deliveries around the state from time to time. Holidays were always a special time when David ensured everyone was spoiled. Thanksgiving was often spent with extended family. The family also enjoyed trips to Florida, Mackinaw, and Nebraska.
David had a terrific sense of humor; though goofy, he could always inspire a laugh. When his kids were young, he would greet them each morning by asking, "How's it going?" Upon hearing their typical "We're tired" answer, he would reply with, "Hi, Tired. I'm Dave." When his son David's fiance, Grace, made chicken Alfredo for the first time, David looked at his son and said, "You got a lady who can cook like Mom!" From then on, he'd text the family, inviting them over every other week to make Alfredo. Recently, David would crack himself up with his new favorite cargo knock-knock joke.
David enjoyed life's simple pleasures, playing Van Halen loudly, starting the morning with cereal in his favorite big metal bowl, sports, and spending time with those he loved. He played sports when he was younger and was a lifelong fan of the Detroit Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings. A man who thoroughly embraced every moment he was given, David inspired all who were blessed to know him. With love and laughter, David showed each of us how to live wholeheartedly. This is the legacy we will so proudly carry forward in his memory.
David Peter Ries, age 62, passed away July 31, 2023. David was born June 2, 1961, in Yucaipa, CA, to the late Peter Ries and Carolyn Ries. He is also preceded in death by his son, Tyler Powers, parents, Peter and Marilyn Ries; mother Carol; and sisters, Kim Ries and Karen Ries. On May 5, 1995, he married Esther Rivera, his wife of 28 years survives, as do their children, David (Grace Bitson) Ries, Kimberly Ries, and Jessica Dorst; his siblings, Judy (Tom) Hoekman, Mike (Anne Conley) Johnson, Pamela (Garrett) Albert; mother-in-law, Dominga Ramos; in-laws, Norma (Jeff) Fellows and Jonathan (Kristyn) Rodriguez; special friend, Nereida Toledo; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. A funeral service will be held Saturday, August 5, 2023, at 12 PM, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit with family beginning from 10 AM -12 PM. To read more of David's Life Story and leave a memory or condolence, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.