Saturday, May 6, 2023
2:00 PM EDT
Trinity Congregational Church
2725 4 Mile Road NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544
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.
Pentwater Historical Society
PO Box 54
Pentwater, MI 49449
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Never one to sit idle, Dan Filius lived life to the fullest. An involved parent, treasured husband, beloved teacher and active grandparent, he leaves behind a legacy of giving selflessly and loving unconditionally. He will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by family, friends and students alike.
Dan’s story begins at a time of uncertainty in the US, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor drawing the US into WWII. Americans tried to continue a sense of normalcy with the release of movies like Citizen Kane and Dumbo as well as the increased popularity of drive in movies and fast food. Putting the world around them on hold for a bit, Andrew and Sadie (Kroon) Filius welcomed the newest member of their family, Daniel Kroon into their home on Lowell Avenue on the NE side of Grand Rapids on June 7, 1941. Daniel, or Dan, joined his brother David to complete their family. Their home was rich with Dutch traditions as Sadie was an immigrant from the Netherlands and Andrew was born in the US but his parents had roots in the Netherlands.
Dan enjoyed a happy and active childhood. The family spent many hours together hiking and camping and Dan loved spending time at the YMCA downtown swimming. Dan and David attended Diamond Elementary School and later, Central High School where he ran track and competed on the swim team. Dan was a good student who set goals and worked hard to attain them
Following graduation from high school, Dan enlisted in the Navy. After basic training, he was stationed in Hawaii where he specialized in navigation as an electronic technician serving aboard the submarines Black Fin and the Woodrow Wilson. Dan took great pride in serving his country and he truly enjoyed his six years in the Navy.
Following his discharge from the Navy, Dan returned home to Grand Rapids to begin his college education. He enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College on the GI Bill and finished his degree in education at Michigan State University. He quickly found a teaching position at Coopersville Schools that was a good fit for him -- so much so that he spent his entire teaching career there! He loved teaching and he earned the respect of the junior high students he taught. He began his career as a science teacher and later, added computer science as well. His training in electronics in the Navy paid off and Dan easily adapted as technology boomed.
One cold December night in 1972, Dan went to the Common Wheel Single Party at the Pantlind Hotel in Grand Rapids. Little did he know that the evening would be a turning point in his life. He noticed two pretty young ladies sitting at a table and he decided to go introduce himself. By the end of the evening, he realized that he wanted to get to know one of the girls, Teri Reed, better. He walked her to her car and asked if he could see her again. After a real first date, many more dates followed. Dan knew that Teri was the girl for him. They were both teachers and their backgrounds and beliefs were similar. In February, Dan asked Teri for her hand in marriage and she accepted. Per the couple’s wishes, they were married on June 23, 1973 in a small, simple ceremony at Fountain Street Church. After a romantic honeymoon in Cadillac, the newlyweds returned to their home on Remembrance Road.
The young couple settled easily into married life and in 1977, they welcomed their son, Andrew, into their lives. The family moved into another home for about 10 years before settling into their longtime home in Marne. It was here that they built a wonderful community of friendships with their neighbors, enjoying pizza together many Friday evenings. In addition to friends in their neighborhood, Dan and Teri also had several friendships through Coopersville Public School System. They were regular attendees of the Trinity Congregational Church as well.
As a parent, Dan was very active in Andy’s life. They shared a love of sports, going to the big lake, camping and technology such as computers, robotics and radios. The year Andy turned 16, Dan gave into his youthful side and he purchased an ’84 Firebird. He allowed Andy to drive it BUT only with the conditions of employment.
Since Dan and Teri were both teachers, the family would take a trip throughout the US every summer. Because of Dan’s belief that learning didn’t stop with the classroom, many of these trips included historical stops and educational opportunities. They also included lots of outdoor activities. For many years, the family camped in Pentwater for two weeks during the summer. When the opportunity arose to buy a cottage there, Dan and Teri jumped at the chance – a decision they never regretted. Many treasured memories were made there over the years.
Always health conscious, Dan liked to keep active. He was an avid runner, completing several Old Kent River Bank Runs, and then continued jogging for years later. In his later years, Dan would often walk the streets of the town early in the morning, walk the beaches, kayak with groups of people or by himself, and was part of the sunset crowd each evening at the State Park. He was also very aware of what he ate and preferred healthy meals whenever possible.
After retiring, Dan spent another 10 years substitute teaching in Grandville to keep busy. It’s not surprising that he earned the nickname “Mr. Super Sub”. Retirement also allowed Dan time to do things he enjoyed such as home repairs, woodworking and building, not only at his own home, but at church and the homes of others as well. They tried wintering in Florida for a couple of years, but Dan didn't care for it because "it was all old people down there".
Dan was never wasteful and he could see the usefulness in what others might consider trash. He was also a collector of items like old coins, wooden decoy ducks, models of ships and history books, often shopping at garage sales and estate sales. He never purchased anything on the first day though, preferring to wait until the last day to get the best deals.
Dan and Teri felt blessed to play an active part in the lives of their grandchildren. For many years, they were able to watch the children a couple of days each week. As grandparents, they spent quality time teaching, encouraging and playing with the children.
Dan Filius was a faithful leader to many – a man of high standards and strong convictions. He was independent and a strong leader for his family but he relied on the social guidance of Teri. About three weeks ago, Dan had heart problems while fixing something, and spent the last weeks in the hospital. His “recovery” was being freed from this life to join his Lord and Savior.
Dan Kroon Filius, age 81 of Grand Rapids, went to be with his Lord in Heaven on April 18, 2023.
He is survived by his wife, Teri; their son and daughter-in-law Andy & Susan Filius; grandchildren Brooklyn, Alayna, and Emily; sister-in-law, Betty Filius; brother-in-law George (Anita) Reed; as well as nieces and nephews and their own children and grandchildren.He was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Sadie Filius; and brother, David.
Dan’s family welcomes family and friends to visit on Friday, May 5, 2023 from 2-4 & 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel. The service to remember and celebrate Dan’s life will be held on Saturday, May 6 at 2 PM at Trinity Congregational Church on 4 Mile Road NW. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Pentwater Historical Society are appreciated. To read more about Dan, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com