Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Thomas Kunst

October 1, 1948 - July 30, 2020
Grant, MI



Wednesday, August 5, 2020
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Bailey Christian Church
17635 Pearl Street
Bailey, MI 49303

Feel free to wear a jersey, race shirt, or favorite sportswear to the visitation.



Thursday, August 6, 2020
2:00 PM EDT
Grant Pavilion at Millennium Park
1400 Maynard Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534

Masks will be required at the service. Some chairs will be provided in the pavilion, but bring your own lawn chair if you wish to further social distance!



Thursday, August 6, 2020
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Grant Pavilion at Millennium Park
1400 Maynard SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534

Masks will be required! Feel free to wear a jersey, race shirt, or favorite sportswear to the visitation



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

First Evangelical Covenant church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Degage Ministries
144 South Division Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


As his family and friends can attest, Thomas Kunst truly understood the key to a life well lived. He was a quiet leader as well as a steadfast source of strength for those who needed it. Tom had a contagious sense of humor and laughed easily but despite his calm and innocent appearance he did enjoy mischief at times. Dearly loved, Tom will be forever missed.

The 1940s were a time of change and transition in America. It was during this time that our nation was deeply entrenched in WWII. Tom’s dad was one of the brave men serving and welcomed back by wives and a grateful nation. It was during these post war years that Lawrence and Hazel (Hoppe) Kunst welcomed their second son, Thomas Edward on October 1, 1948.

In many ways, Tom was a typical boy of his generation. He was raised in the family home on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids alongside his older brother, Lor, and his younger sister, Jan. Tom and his family were members at Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church, building up the foundation of faith that would serve him well for his entire life. Growing up, the Kunst family took trips to Northern Michigan where family memories were made. As a student, Tom attended West Side Christian, Grand Rapids Christian High, and Calvin College. During his school years he participated in sports including cross country and baseball, which continued with Tom pitching for Calvin. Love for ball continued in early married years with a lot of fun times as Tom played on multiple softball teams. The final team he played on was a team his sons put together when they were in college.

Tom and Chris met at Bylsma’s Restaurant, where she worked as a server. Their first outings were with groups of friends but after a while of getting to know each other, they had their first official date going to a Michigan State football game. They married on November 20, 1971 and honeymooned in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Returning from their honeymoon, Tom and Chris settled on the NW side. After living in a small apartment and then a small home, they were ready to move into a home where they could raise a family on Hillmount, NW. Their initial moving date had to be postponed due to the blizzard of 1978.

Over the years, Tom and his wife welcomed four children, Brian, Lisa, Steve, and Tom, into their hearts and home. Chris often worked weekend nights as a nurse so Tom would take the kids to parks, Blandford Nature Center, Aman Park, and play baseball and basketball together. Tom combined his love of his kids and sports by coaching their baseball, softball, and basketball teams. Although he found girls softball players to be quite different from what he was used to, he enjoyed every minute of it. Favorite family trips included spring break at Nettles Island, visiting Tom’s sister in Colorado, and Cub games.

While the children were growing up, Tom worked as sales manager at Arnie’s Restaurant. Tom and Chris were members at First Covenant Church where the family was very active and precious and lifelong friendships were made.

Tom was a good and patient parent, but he did have some trouble putting the kids to sleep. It was more than once that Chris would go to investigate why snickering and giggling was coming from supposedly sleeping kids’ bedroom to find Tom asleep on one of their beds and the kids up again having fun.

In 1989, Chris’s parents were asked to return to the mission field for one year to help fill a need. At the time, they owned the Grant Depot restaurant. Tom agreed to move his family to Grant so they could watch over the restaurant during their absence. They decided to remain after Chris’s parents returned and that is where the kids attended the rest of their school years. In 1995, Tom became the owner of the Depot and the whole family became involved in different ways. He loved talking with the customers and formed several lasting friendships along the way. A naturally friendly person, Tom could carry on a conversation with anyone and on any topic. He ran the Depot for fifteen years before retiring. After retiring, he babysat his grandchildren which provided many cherished times and memories – so important to Tom that he would take notes so he could always remember what his grandkids had said and done. He never missed their sporting events and enjoyed taking grandkids with him to bike the trails, which were special times.

Throughout his entire life, Tom was athletic and in later years, started to sign up for more races. Signing up for his first River Bank Run was a spur of the moment decision as he and Chris were driving through Grand Rapids and he heard on the radio they could get free pizza if they signed up at a nearby Celebration Cinema. He decided it sounded like a good idea and that was the first of many River Bank Runs. Later he challenged his sons to do it with him and this became the start of doing many events together with his wife and sons. They even did Ironman triathlons together with Tom doing his first Ironman in Lake Placid at the age sixty-three. Tom participated in four Ironman competitions, podiumed in his last Ironman in Louisville, and told his sons he was planning on another. Tom and Chris traveled across the country for marathons and other races, often doing these with their children. His oldest son, Brian, talked Tom and Chris into doing a Spartan race with him before really confessing what was involved. It was a memorable experience as they all were.

While on earth, Tom modeled the things about Christ that drew people to Him. He loved without expectation, listened without judgement, and cared deeply for all those he encountered. Because of this, people could experience the true love of Christ, even without words spoken. Perhaps this is the greatest legacy his life here has left us.

Thomas E. Kunst, age 71 of Grant and formerly of Grand Rapids, rode his way into heaven on July 30, 2020 following a tragic bicycle accident as he was training. Tom cherished his family and will be deeply missed by his wife, Chris; their children (and grandchildren) Brian Kunst, Lisa & Andrew Gee (Danica, Lillian, Charlie and Andrew), Steve Kunst; Tom & Courtney Kunst (Sofia, Lucianna, Isla, Xander); his siblings, Loren (Barb) Kunst and Jan (Ed) Paas; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Carol (Dave) Myszak and Carl (Kelli) Zobel; as well as nieces, nephews and many friends. Most important to Tom was his faith, as he was a longtime member of First Evangelical Covenant Church. The service to remember and celebrate Tom's life will be held on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 2 PM at the Grant Pavilion at Millennium Park. Friends are invited to visit with Tom's family on Wednesday in Bailey at Bailey Christian Church, 17635 Pearl St., from 5-8 PM and on Thursday at Grant Pavilion at Millennium Park from 5-8 PM. Those who wish can help celebrate Tom's life by wearing your favorite race shirt or sports team shirt (preferably Cubs) to the visitation. Tom’s family suggests that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to either First Covenant Church or Degage Ministries. To read more about Tom’s life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com