Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Fred Koster

July 14, 1929 - March 8, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI



Sunday, March 15, 2020
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263

3 PM - Military Honors

Driving Directions


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 loving husband, a caring father, a cherished grandfather and a friend to many, Fred had a positive impact on so many lives. He was a kind, considerate and sincere man.

Barney and Jessie (Miller) Koster welcomed Frederic Leo into the world on July 14, 1929, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Fred joined sisters Ethel and Dorothy, and then younger brother Jim later completed the family.

After graduating from Central High School in 1948 Fred enlisted in the US Navy, serving during the Korean War. He served aboard the USS Edisto and several other ships before being discharged in 1952.

He was blessed with three children: Mike, Susie, and Barney. Fred was an amazing father who would do anything for his kids.

After his time in the Navy he began an apprenticeship as a tool and die maker. He worked in several tool and die shops before joining Bissell, where he worked for over 26 years until his retirement in 1993.

While his career and his children kept Fred busy, he still had room in his life for love. Fred and Karen first met when they happened to attend the same wedding in 1977. Their first date was a round of golf….a round that changed his life. The rest is history: Fred married his “Cupcake” on June 17, 1978 and enjoyed 42 years of marriage. In the process, Fred expanded his family to include Karen’s children, Pam and Rick.

In the mid-1950’s Fred had the good fortune to buy property on Pettibone Lake, where he later built a cottage. He enjoyed many days fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and hanging out - some of his very favorite things to do in life. Over the years he and Karen turned the cottage into a warm and inviting retreat. Many summers were spent there, relaxing with friends and family. In time, Fred and Karen moved to the cottage full time and lived there for 13 years. It was a wonderful place where the family made a lifetime of memories.

As the Michigan winters became less appealing, Fred and Karen began wintering in Ft. Myers, Florida. They thoroughly enjoyed their time there - sunsets on the pier, daily visits to Dairy Queen, playing cards with friends, and embracing great moments with plenty of laughter and life.

Fred adored his grandchildren and attended many of their sporting activities….too many games to count, but he loved every one of them. Fred also loved to fish, bow hunt, and golf with his kids and grandkids. He looked forward to watching sports on TV. Cheering on Michigan State was his first priority, but he also enjoyed golf, NASCAR, and any others he found while channel surfing.

In later years Fred’s favorite hobby was visiting the many breweries in West Michigan. He loved collecting stamps in his Brewsader Passport. “Beer People” know there’s nothing better than a cold beer and a warm pretzel!

Fred was an optimistic, “glass is half full” kind of guy. He saw the best in everyone and chose to see the bright side of life. If it was storming, he was sure it would end soon. And if not, well then the flowers must need the rain.

Fred was fortunate to have excellent health until very near the end of his life. After 90 years filled with family, friends, laughter and hugs, he was surrounded in his final days and moments by those he cherished. It was a fitting end to a life well lived.

Frederic L. Koster, age 90, joined the angels on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

Fred will be forever loved and missed by his wife Karen; children Mike (Debbie) Koster, Sue (Ed) Sipe, Barney (Cheryl) Koster, Pam (Mark) Mathias; grandchildren Jason (Jennifer) Koster, Todd (Katie) Martin, Michael Koster, Austin (Jessy) Mathias, Chelsea Koster, Connor Mathias; great-grandchildren Mallory, Hilary, Morgan, Riley and Eli; daughters-in-law Lenore Martin and Kami (Lee) Hecksel; nephew Greg (Nancy) Myers; sister-in-law Cheryl (Dan) DeBella; and partner-in-crime Bob (Pam) Bouwens.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Ethel (Stew) Myers, Dorothy, and Jim; and his step-son Rick Martin.

A gathering to celebrate Fred’s life will be held on Sunday, March 15 from 2-4pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes/Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel. Military Honors will be held at 3pm. There will also be opportunity to share stories and memories.

In honor and memory of Fred please consider donating to a charity that is meaningful to you. To read more about Fred’s life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com.