Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Edward Rysdyk

November 15, 1933 - May 12, 2024
Georgetown Twp, MI



Thursday, May 16, 2024
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions


Friday, May 17, 2024
11:00 AM EDT
Highland Hills Baptist
1415 Northrup Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 498-0402

Visitation from 10 AM until the start of the service.

Web Site


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.

Highland Hills Baptist Church
1415 Northrup Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


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


A man of faith, loyalty, and generosity, Edward Rysdyk believed in leaving things better than he found them. Whether it was fixing up a car, sharing a tidbit of wisdom, or treating a grandchild to an ice cream cone, Edward strove to lift others up. His priorities were rightly ordered, serving God, cherishing his wife, guiding his children and grandchildren, and reaching out to his surrounding community.

In 1933, America was in the midst of the Great Depression. Money was scarce and it was difficult for people to make ends meet. But for Aart and Sadie (DeYoung) Rysdyk of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a ray of sunshine appeared on November 15 as they welcomed their ninth child, Edward, into their bustling home. Ed learned to share, to pitch in, and a bit about fending for himself as he hustled to keep up with his older siblings and about four years later had a younger sister toddling after him.

Growing up on the northwest side of Grand Rapids, Edward attended Harrison Park Elementary and then Union High School, graduating with the class of 1953. He enjoyed playing on his school basketball team and also played the French horn in the Salvation Army’s marching band. For the rest of his life, his family enjoyed hearing him make a musical "airplane noise" with his lips as he passed through rooms and did odd jobs. He said that was a special skill of French hornists.

One evening while in high school, Ed attended a Youth for Christ rally at the Pantlind Hotel, which many years later would be refurbished and reopened as the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. At the rally, his sister JoAnn introduced him to a friend of hers named Margaret Voth, an event that became more significant in Edward’s life than he could have imagined. Margaret later attended Edward’s graduation dinner, from which he drove her home. The next night, they went to the car races together.

Edward attended junior college for a time and then enlisted in the U.S. Army. The United States had withdrawn from Korea the year before and Ed was able to stay stateside. He was assigned as company clerk at Fort Sill near Lawton, Oklahoma. He never complained about his duties, mainly because he had the benefit of an air-conditioned office. He and Margaret frequently exchanged letters and their relationship grew throughout their correspondence.

In 1956, Edward returned to Grand Rapids and enrolled in Davenport Business College to study accounting. He married Margaret on September 25 in a small chapel in Lincoln, Nebraska. They considered their drive back to Grand Rapids as their honeymoon. The first place they called home was an apartment they rented above Ed’s parents. Ed was hired as an accountant at Lear Jet, where he remained until his first retirement. He would later return as a consultant after they built their house on Menno Lake, “so I could pay for a new seawall at home.”

Edward and Margaret were blessed with three children over the course of their marriage; Lisa, Ed Jr., and Sue. To house their growing family, they purchased a home on Sharon Street in Wyoming, Michigan. The Rysdyks enjoyed being together, particularly the freedom that summer time brought them. Every year they spent two weeks at Manistique Lake in the Upper Peninsula. Edward loved being outdoors. He liked fishing for walleye, and later bass and panfish.

As the children grew and started families of their own, Ed and Margaret made spending time with them a priority. The couple traveled to the U.P., Florida, and Kansas. Edward loved taking his granddaughters to Mackinac Island or Lake Manistique, always carving out time to make an ice cream stop at the Sweet Spot. In 1993 they took a memorable trip to Scotland to visit their daughter and son-in-law. Ed and Margaret were thrilled to watch one of their precious granddaughters while her parents traveled to China to bring home her new sister. They also made time for themselves, celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary in beautiful Hawaii.

One of the most important things in Edward’s life was his church. His family attended Quarry Avenue Baptist Church, later named Highland Hills Baptist Church, twice every Sunday, and always spent time at his parents’ house after. He became known at church for handing out King Mints, and also spent some time playing on the church softball team.

Later in life, Ed maintained his love of the outdoors. He started playing golf, joining his work’s golf league and meeting his brother-in-law Graham at Boulder Creek every week. After he retired, he and Margaret built a home on Menno Lake in Georgetown Township. He spent hours fishing from their paddle boat or pontoon boat, and in the winter he cleared skating rinks on the ice for his granddaughters. He and Margaret also loved taking walks together, enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and each other.

Being handy and resourceful, Ed loved finding creative ways to patch things together or get cars running better than they did before. He preferred Toyotas, specifically his Camry. Ed liked bluegrass and gospel music and had a good singing voice, but only shared it with his family. His favorite meal was a good homemade pot roast, and he also enjoyed traditionally Dutch food such as black licorice and herring. He never turned down coconut cream pie or oatmeal raisin cookies and always saved room for a fat ball on New Year’s Eve. He liked to keep up with current events in the newspaper and check out products in Consumer Reports. He volunteered with Junior Achievement and helped many children take their first steps on their entrepreneurship journey.

Edward lived out his beliefs, earning the respect of those who knew him. One simple way he passed on his wisdom was by sharing some of his favorite sayings, such as, “Success comes with cans, failure comes with can’ts.” Another was, “All things are possible for those who believe in the Lord.”

Edward loved his family more than anything except his Lord. He leaves behind a legacy of love, honesty, and hospitality that will continue to influence those who knew him for years to come.

Ed died on Sunday, May 12, 2024. He was preceded in death by his parents, Aart and Sadie Rysdyk; his nine siblings: Jane (Gene) Van Loozenoord, Oscar (Caroline) Rysdyk, Bill (Alice) Rysdyk, Flora (Len) VanderJagt, John (Jean) Rysdyk, Sadie (Tom) Olejniczak, Art (Joan) Rysdyk, Jack (Mary) Rysdyk and JoAnn Barnett; a sister-in-law, Lucille (Edmer) Cornelsen; and a brother-in-law, Richard Voth.

Ed is survived by his wife of sixty-seven years, Margaret; his three children: Ed Rysdyk Jr., Susan (Craig) Fawley, and Lisa (Jon) Laansma; three granddaughters: Kiersten (Blake) VanKerkhoff, Annalie Fawley, and Jenna Fawley; a great grandson, Charles VanKerkhoff; brother-in-law Graham Barnett; sister-in-law Ruth Voth; and many beloved cousins, nieces, and nephews. Ed’s funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Friday, May 17, 2024, at Highland Hills Baptist Church, 1415 Northrup NW. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 PM on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, and Friday for one hour prior to the service at church. Memorial contributions may be made to Highland Hills Baptist Church. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com where you may view Ed’s story, submit a favorite photo or memory, or sign the guestbook online.