Life Story / Obituary
Loving, clever, and open-minded, Louis Kamps lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. Louis was a passionate man, a people person who was well known for his industriousness and imaginative thinking. He listened with empathy and curiosity and thought outside the box. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, Louis will long be remembered and so very missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the growing conflict in Europe, 1938 held much to celebrate, including the end of the Great Depression, Seabiscuit's historic win, and Superman’s first appearance. As the U.S. actively armed up for war, families continued to center their lives on love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in the hearts and home of George and Nellie (Nobel) Kamps as they welcomed their son, Louis, into their family on June 4.
The tenth of the twelve Kamps children, Louis was very proud of his siblings and coming from such a large family. He shared close relationships his entire life with his nine brothers and two sisters, all of whom he outlived. His father worked as a carpenter, and his mother was a homemaker. Until Louis was five or six, the family lived in a red brick farmhouse with a red barn near 6 Mile Rd North of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Then, the family moved to Grand Rapids, where Louis went to school in the Christian School System before eventually settling in Hudsonville and becoming members of the Hudsonville Protestant Church.
School was far from Louis’ favorite thing, and he wasn’t a strong student. He much preferred spending time at his Uncle Lou’s and Aunt Dina’s farms. Uncle Lou taught him to drive a tractor when he was way too young, and he spent a lot of time milking cows at Aunt Dina’s. From a very young age, Louis acquired a deep love of horses and enjoyed having horses for much of his life. He and his brother Marvin would camp out behind the barn when they were little.
Louis also enjoyed ice skating and was very good at skating “Dutch Style” with his hands behind his back. While ice skating at Porter Pond, Louis had the good fortune of meeting Esther Rose Tucker, who was a few years older than Louis. Louis taught Esther how to ice skate, and she taught him how to snow ski.
Soon after meeting Esther, Louis enlisted in the Army and was sent to Fort Knox. It wasn’t until his return from the service that they reconnected. Their first date was a double date with his brother. The couple dated for five years, waiting to marry until they had saved enough money for a European honeymoon. They exchanged their wedding vows in 1962 at Hudsonville Protestant Church and began their honeymoon by touring the New England states before boarding the S.S. Arcadia and setting sail from Montreal, Canada, to tour Europe.
The newlyweds first settled into marriage at 604 Paris Ave. SE, in Grand Rapids, before moving into a home on Luce St. SW, where they had more room and a barn for horses. They were pleased to find and purchase a colt at the Michigan State Agricultural College that was the offspring of a horse gifted to President Eisenhower, proudly naming it “Ghalihad.”
Louis first worked as a butcher but soon bought a Rubbish route from his brother. He grew this business throughout his working life and eventually sold his business to Waste Management.
In 1962, Louis and Esther were blessed to become parents when their son Marc was born. Elizabeth, Rachel, Luke, Leah, Joseph, Miriam, Daniel, and Ester followed. Louis used his horses to teach his children confidence. The family enjoyed vacationing in rental cottages and taking trips to the beach in Grand Haven. They once rented a motor home and headed west for vacation.
A meat and potatoes man, Louis enjoyed a good pot roast and loved eating out at Lanning’s Restaurant in Grand Rapids. He loved baking apple pie all by himself. He would make lots of apple pies and then gift them to friends and family or sometimes to strangers. He liked to read books about breeding and raising horses, the Civil War, and military history and enjoyed listening to his classical music, very loud!
Without a doubt, Louis’ greatest joy was his family. Raising his children with Esther, watching them grow into adults, welcoming their spouses, and sharing in the lives of his thirty-one grandchildren and three great-grandchildren was his heart’s delight. As we celebrate Louis’ life, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and in knowing his legacy of love and open-mindedness will long live in the hearts and lives of those he so dearly loved.
Louis Donald Kamps, age 85, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, February 5, 2024. He passed peacefully to the sound of the singing of his children and wife at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Esther Rose Kamps [Tucker], and their nine children: Marc (Hilda) Kamps, Elizabeth (Paul) Vink, Rachel (Michael) Huffman, Luke (Silvia) Kamps, Leah (Joel) Bouman, Joseph (Valerie) Kamps, Miriam (Nick) Papagergio, Daniel (Kristin) Kamps, and Esther (Jeremy) Granzotto.
Louis is the grandfather to: Naomi, Caleb, Samuel, Abner, Danielle, Havila, Baruch, Nicole, Kara, Nelson, Jordan, Nathan, Olivia, Adam, Hannah, Chloe, Amanda, Johnatha, Joela, Kwin, Desmond, Liberty, Mathew, Benjamin, Rachel, Anna, Autumn, Wyatt, Davanie, Kaley, and David.
He is the great-grandfather to: Jordan, Gideon, and Charlotte.
Louis was also proud of his beloved nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held at Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist (860 Peachcrest Ct NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505) on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 11:00 am, with a luncheon to follow. Visitation will take place prior to the service from 10-11 am. Louis will be laid to rest in Georgetown Township Cemetery in Ottawa County, MI.