Life Story / Obituary
Carl Velte Jr. lived his life with great passion for the family he loved. Active throughout his life, he treasured his years serving the community he loved. Living his life to the fullest and enjoying the company of each and every person who came his way, he leaves behind a rich legacy of accepting all people. His warm personality, genuine friendship, and loving ways will be deeply cherished by his many special friends and loved ones.
His story begins on February 15, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Carl Jacob was welcomed home by his parents, Carl Jacob and Katherine (Gygax) Velte Sr. and his older siblings, Kay and Lena. The 1930s were significantly impacted by the effects of the Great Depression. Banks were still closed but there was a promise of a new election year awaiting. During the middle of one of the toughest decades in American history, Carl’s birth brought great joy and promise to his family.
Growing up at 1150 Veto NW, Carl lived a typical childhood of the times. He was always on the go and enjoyed spending a large part of his day outdoors. So much of his life revolved around the tough economic times and he learned the value of a hard day’s work at an early age. He attended Sibley Elementary and graduated with the Class of 1949 from Union High School. He set off for Kendall School of Design where he studied for two years.
Not to be forgotten, however, was the meeting of Alice Dempsey, at the tender age of fourteen. They were both on a hayride when he was drawn to her curly locks and dimples. Young and in love, they dated for five years before joining in marriage on December 2, 1950, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. During their early years of marriage, they lived in an apartment on 2nd Street NW. Alice worked at Carter’s, a children’s clothing manufacturer, while Carl worked at Grand Rapids Showcase, later known as Rowe International. He was pivotal in the design of the Bubble Juke Box. Together they raised five wonderful children; Christina, Michael, Robert, James, and David.
A hard worker, Carl was a steadfast provider of his family. As a result of being a designer with Shakespeare Inc., the family moved often. Over the years, they lived in Kalamazoo, Oshtemo, and Wyoming, Michigan, and spent time in California. After moving to Arkansas for a time, they returned to West Michigan, first settling in Parchment. They later moved to Bloomingdale and eventually back to his childhood home in Grand Rapids by 1970. They enjoyed their years there making many lasting friendships with their neighbors. In addition to his role as a father and husband, he also served in the United States Navy Reserves. Despite his demanding work schedule, Carl and Alice made many wonderful memories with their children.
He was a talented designer and highly regarded as an engineer. An avid fisherman and hunter he spent a large majority of his career designing fishing rods, fishing reels, and electric fishing motors. Although he was small in stature, he was looked up to by many who often sought his advice. A great troubleshooter, Carl encouraged others to figure things out for themselves, a gift he also shared with his children. His warm personality made him many lasting friendships during his career.
His creative and artistic side also made its debut in Disney caricatures and drawings. Once he retired, he and Alice bought a travel trailer and enjoyed camping extensively throughout Michigan and Florida. A family man through and through, Carl loved to spend time with his grand kids and attended many of their special events and activities. He was immensely proud of each and every one of them. Carl wanted nothing more than to share in their many successes.
A man of simple pleasures, he collected Nutcrackers and spent much of his time hunting and fishing. Carl modeled a lifetime of being a faithful servant to many. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for anyone in need. May his memories bring comfort to his many close friends and family and may they never doubt the immense love he held in his heart for each and every one of them.
Carl Jacob Velte Jr., age 89 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Sunday, January 17, 2021, at SKLD of Ionia. He was preceded in death by his wife of sixty-nine years, Alice Velte, his daughter, Christina Lovisa, grandson, Adam Velte, sister, Kay Karopzyk, sister, Lena (Jerry) Uzarski. Surviving are his children, Michael (Barbara) Velte, Robert (Candy) Velte, James (Kelley) Velte, David Velte (his son, Zachary); grandchildren, Sarah (Paul) Ripley, (their children, Jack and Owen), Chrystal (Francis) Hoag (their son, London), Robert (Rachel) Velte Jr. (their children, Jonas, River, Elijah, Boaz), Adeliade (Nate) Palmer (their children, Marie, Elena), brother-in-law, Bert Dempsey; many nieces, nephews, and friends. Carl was a longtime member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church. He was a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and a friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed. A memorial service will be held at a later date. To sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com