Life Story / Obituary
Easy going and kind beyond measure, Ron Bouwkamp was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. A steadfast provider, he wanted nothing more than the very best for his growing family and would do anything for anyone in need. Any time he spent outdoors, his heart was content as he loved to fish, hunt, as well as attend car races over the years. Sadly, he is gone yet the memories he leaves behind will surely touch the lives of his many special loved ones and friends for generations to come.
In the year 1939, Lou Gehrig retired from the New York Yankees, the much-loved classic film, The Wizard of Oz held its Hollywood premiere, and the first commercial air flight crossed the Atlantic Ocean. On February 20th of that same year, John Lewis and Jane Louise (Blom) welcomed home their newborn son, Ronald. Sandwiched between his older brother, Ted and younger sister, Karen, his role as the middle child brought much happiness to the family home.
Ron lived a typical childhood of the times and was no stranger to hard work from an early age. His father worked in sales with the automotive industry and his mother worked for Dexter Lock. Raised by Dutch parents, the children were known to help pitch in around the family home and learned how to make the most of their resources. As a family, they enjoyed spending holidays together and attended the local Baptist church. He and his siblings also participated in 4-H as well as enjoyed fishing and raising small animals. Once as a kid he was struck by lightning while riding his bike. He often told the story over the years. During his elementary school days at Knapp Elementary, he developed an interest in beehives. By the time he was a young adolescent, he was interested in working on cars a hobby that lasted him a lifetime. Graduating with the Class of 1958 from Creston High School he enlisted in the United States Army.
Upon his discharge, he married his high school sweetheart, Donna Kaboos, on December 12, 1959, at St. Paul’s Methodist Church. They settled down in Grand Rapids on Leonard Street where they started their family. Together they raised three wonderful children; Ryan, Ronda, and Daneen. Ron was working as a machinist with Rapistan where he remained for many years. He was well-liked by his co-workers and made many fond memories and lasting friendships. As a family, they made many treasured memories camping, including trips to Canada and Delaware. A lover of all cars, it was no surprise that he savored the memories of teaching each of the children how to drive their first car! Later, when he was blessed with grandchildren, he taught each of them to drive as well and they knew exactly who to call when they had any car trouble or repair questions over the years!
A man of many special interests, there was never a dull moment with Ron around! He absolutely loved any type of music. Whether it was classic rock, rap, or country, he knew the latest and greatest hits as well as the oldies. He favored WLAV for their wide variety of music and enjoyed their morning talk shows. He was an active member of the casino club and also a proud member of the local VFW. He continued his passion for snowmobiling, hunting, and playing golf well into his senior years. Ron loved to surround himself with people. He had a natural gift of gab and was drawn to lending a helping hand to many of his close friends and family members over the years.
Later in life, Ron was introduced to his half brother; Mike Bouwkamp from his father’s second marriage. He immediately kindled a friendship with him. When it came to food, Ron wasn’t especially picky as he loved all of the traditional foods of the American diet; pizza, hot dogs, cookies, donuts, and any type of sweets! There is no doubt that Ron will be deeply missed by his special family and close friends. May his warm spirit continue to touch each of their hearts as they reflect on the beautiful memories they made during the many times they spent together.
Mr. Ronald L. Bouwkamp, aged 80, passed away unexpectedly on June 12, 2019. He was preceded in death by his son, Ryan; grandson, Stephan Kik; brothers, Ted and Terry Bouwkamp; and sister, Karen Warren. Ron is survived by his wife of 60 years, Donna; children, Ronda (David) Kik and Daneen Hickox; daughter-in-law, Nancy Bouwkamp; grandchildren, Ashlea (Josh) Howland, Evan (Nicole) Bouwkamp, Megan (Jeff Schnelker) Marsman, Pierce (Ellie Peters) Kik, Cody Hickox and Keaten Hickox; 10 great-grandchildren; brother, Mike (Bev) Bouwkamp; sister-in-law, Marsha Bouwkamp; brother-in-law, Dick Warren and many nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Thursday, June 20, 2019, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Family and friends will gather from 6-8 PM on Wednesday at the funeral home. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Renucci Hospitality House. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a memory, photo, or to sign the guestbook online.