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.
Holland Home Foundation
2100 Raybrook SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Bob Van Singel was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. His integrity was woven throughout a lifetime of hard work and dedication given to any task or challenge set before him. Bob’s growing family and his love of the outdoors were his greatest treasures. His humor, his laughter, and his compassion for others will be his legacy. Bob leaves behind a rich collection of memories for his special friends and family to cherish forever.
Reflecting on the 1920s, it was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. The media focused on jazz music and celebrities especially sports heroes and movie figures. By 1929 the industry was booming until the market crashed that fateful October. Leon and Helen [Boonstra] Van Singel welcomed home their own star, Robert Lee on September 20th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His father was a truck driver for Pepsi and Ackerman Electric and his mother was a factory worker at Rose, Patch, and Label. Their hard work taught Bob the value of a hard day’s work from an early age.
Growing up, Bob lived a life full of adventure. At the tender age of nine years old he was hit by a car, yet it didn’t prevent him from taking risks during his childhood. Although he had his fair share of trouble, Bob also had a soft side and raised pigeons as a child. When he was twelve, his baseball team, “The Westside Sluggers” held the city championship earning them tickets to a Detroit Tigers game! Bob was first baseman and was known for his swift moves and athletic prowess. He also enjoyed skating at Richmond Park with his brother, Randy in addition to bowling and playing golf. A good portion of his childhood was filled with memories of spending time with his grandfather snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, four-wheelering and enjoying the outdoors. He and his brother, Randy spent countless hours fishing together during the days of their youth. Each and every holiday were spent with many relatives and friends gathered in their home instilling in them the importance of family.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the woman who would certainly change the course of his life forever. While ice skating at Richmond Park at the age of eighteen he was drawn to Alice Shippy a girl who lived near him. She was equally drawn to his natural charm and the rest was history! Dating for two years, the happy couple joined in marriage on May 26, 1948, in Grand Rapids. They honeymooned in Michigan’s beautiful northern regions popular for their spectacular views and wooded areas. Settling back at 1224 Valley NW in Grand Rapids, they made a fantastic future together.
Before he and Alice had much of a chance to start their journey together, Bob joined the United States Army. Serving overseas for most of his tenure, he rescued a two-year-old girl and her mother from a burning home while on weekend leave in Fort Campbell Kentucky. His bravery earned him the Army commendation ribbon, the second highest, non-combat award for heroism. He was known for his expert rifle marksmanship and received a Rifleman Medal before he was discharged. Upon his return, he and Alice bought a house on Grape St. Eventually they built their dream house on 2712 Leelanau St. NE in Grand Rapids. They were delighted to welcome home their first and only child, Marcia on September 16, 1952. She was the apple of his eye and he wanted nothing more than the very best for her. His work with Bergman Auto Parts Distributing, as well as Alice's position at Knapp and Vogt kept their family comfortable. As a family, they enjoyed many vacations up at the family cabin in Chase, Michigan where they treasured many of the same pleasures from Bob’s childhood. They also traveled to Traverse City once a summer to fish and visit the casino in town. Longtime members of Broadway Christian Reformed Church, he and Alice raised Marcia to be a faithful Christian and to treat others with kindness.
He and Alice were over the moon when they were blessed with grandchildren. They savored sharing with them their many special pastimes and enjoyed attending their school events. Melissa, Lisa, Janel were invited up to the cabin and Bob was sure to teach them each how to drive boats, four-wheelers as well as shoot guns. He was the proud owner of a 16 gauge shotgun that he bought when he was twelve as well as. “Big Red,” his Honda three-wheeler that belonged to his Dad. Nothing brought him greater joy than spending time with his family and especially spending it up at the cabin. Later Austin, Tommy, Allison, Dylan, Avery, Brady, and Emmy joined the family making his heart all the richer. They also were taught the same set of skills and love of the great outdoors. He also loved to share his affection by doing little things to show his love. Sometimes it involved satisfying a sweet tooth by a trip to the candy aisle or treating them to something special. There was no doubt about his love for each and every one of them. Bob was their number one fan!
Bob’s life held purpose and meaning. He was a terrific husband, father, and grandad. His old fashioned values of listening to country music and enjoying an ice cold beer with friends are what set him apart in today’s modern world. He enjoyed many simple pleasures such as McDonald’s hamburgers and homemade cookies. As long as he was surrounded by his loved ones was all that mattered. Hardworking, protective, and loving, Bob’s gentle and caring ways will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Robert Lee Van Singel, age 89, passed away Saturday, March 23, 2019. He is survived by his loving wife of seventy years, Alice [Shippy] and their daughter Marcia (Gary) Veenstra; grandchildren; Melissa (Tom) Johnson, Lisa Veenstra, and Janel (Jeremy) Quick as well as by his brother Randy (Edith Purdue) Van Singel and seven great-grandchildren. He proudly served his country as a member of the U.S. Army. Bob was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed time with family at the cabin up north. He will be fondly remembered as an attentive husband, father, and grandfather. Funeral services with Military honors have been scheduled to take place at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Van Strien/Creston Chapel, (1833 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505) on Friday, April 5 at 11 AM with visitation prior beginning at 10 AM. Bob will be laid to rest in Washington Park Memorial Gardens. Please consider making a memorial contribution in Bob’s memory to the Holland Home Foundation (2100 Raybrook SE, Ste 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546).