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401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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Life Story / Obituary
In many ways, Jack Kosten defined the meaning of devoted husband, dedicated father, loving grandfather, and great-grandfather. Loyal to his family, he was a man of integrity, faith, and a great friend. Through his fun-loving nature and witty sense of humor, Jack was just a kid at heart and with ways all his own, he knew how to keep everyone on their toes! Someone once described Jack as a big guy with a big voice which was unmatched by his even bigger heart. Truly a blessing, Jack was an inspiration and gift in the lives of those he leaves behind.
During a time when the nation continued to struggle through the lasting effects of the Great Depression, Americans forged on with lasting hope as they re-elected President Teddy Roosevelt to a second term. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced their way into the hearts of many, and readers were fascinated with the newly published novel, Gone with the Wind. Yet in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, John and Leona (Feenstra) Kosten had their attention focused on the blessing of a New Year and new life with the blessed births of their twins, John Thomas and his twin sister, Joyce who entered the world on January 2, 1936.
Affectionately known as “Jack” his whole life through, his father was a butcher by trade while his mother remained at home as a homemaker. The Kosten family made their home on Crosby Street NW in a two family house where his maternal grandmother lived upstairs. Jack enjoyed a typical childhood of his generation filled with numerous boyhood adventures playing baseball and kick-the-can as well as the occasional trip to the neighbor’s house to steal grapes from their vines with neighborhood friends. During his youth he had a paper route although it was his sister who collected the money from his customers as Jack never liked asking for money.
Jack attended Harrison Park Elementary School and in high school he tried out and made the football team. Due to his father having surgery and being laid up, Jack quit the team and took on the responsibility of working in his father’s butcher shop. He went on to graduate from Union High School with the Class of 1953.
It was during high school when Jack met the love of his life, 15 year old Lois Nanninga. The two happened to be ice skating at Richmond Park when he first laid eyes on the pretty girl who would come to steal his heart. The two began dating and on April 21, 1955, Jack left for boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Station and never forgot how he spent his first Easter in the service cleaning bilges. Although he served for two years in the U.S. Navy, it was four years into his relationship with Lois that he married his sweetheart on September 7, 1956 before a congregation of family and friends at Richmond Reformed Church. After the festivities they made their way to New York, New York where they spent a memorable honeymoon.
The newlyweds first moved into a rented, upstairs apartment on the city’s northwest side. They later purchased a home on Covell Avenue NW before moving into their longtime family home on Third Avenue. Blessed with three daughters, Mary Beth, Lori Jo, and Cherri Lynn added much joy to the lives of Jack and Lois. Through the years treasured memories were made and enjoyed during the holidays, other special occasions and on family vacations.
Jack and Lois together raised their daughters in a home based on faith and filled with love. They were dedicated members of Richmond Reformed Church and later, First Reformed Church in Grandville. He was a loving, attentive father who showed his love in actions rather than words. He was always present for the girl’s activities and never ceased being there for them when needed. By way of example, he taught his children well. A wonderful provider, Jack provided a strong and stable home for his family and they never lacked or wanted for anything.
To support his growing family, Jack worked as an auto mechanic having owned and operated his own garage in Standale. He later sold the business and went to work as a mechanic at G & B Transportation, now known as Modular Transportation. He worked his way up to become a dispatcher and eventually made his way into sales. This is where he found his passion for the trucking business and in time he bought his own trucking company, Royal Transportation. Jack always remained grateful to the Stouten family for giving him opportunities in his career.
Jack was an avid golfer and many can attest to great times spent with him out on the course. Besides golf he liked watching college football. In younger years he thoroughly enjoyed sailing his Dolphin sailboat on Big Star Lake while relishing a big stogy with his brother-in-law. Not much of a reader, when Jack did read it was most often his bible or the Grand Rapids Press. When it came to food he loved his perch, a good meatloaf and meatballs. His favorite restaurant back in the day was Mountain Jacks.
Faith was the cornerstone for which Jack lived. He possessed a beautiful singing voice and sang in the church choir and a men’s quartet. Jack was always singing a tune, especially his favorite hymn, The King is Coming. He was particularly fond of gospel music, The Gaither’s and The Oak Ridge Boys. In addition to adding his time and talents to the regular and men’s choirs at church, Jack served as a high school youth leader, a deacon, and elder not to mention his portrayal as a clown each year for the Richmond Reformed Church annual picnic. He was also on the church golf league.
Jack loved time spent up north at their cottage on Big Star Lake where he also served on the Big Star Lake chapel board. Family vacations and summers spent there always called for good, enjoyable times with family and friends. Grilling a stack of delicious pancakes was a mainstay while there and was one of Jack’s specialties. Many great times were spent together at the cottage in addition to several occasional trips to Florida over the years. After retiring, Jack and Lois traveled to visit friends in Colorado and for a time wintered at Ft. Myers, Florida having met many wonderful friends during their stay at the Neptune Inn and Caper Beach Club. They also experienced a great Caribbean cruise together.
Although Jack considered his faith and family to be at the center of his heart, his favorite worldly possessions included his bible, golf clubs and their cottage at Big Star Lake which provided him and his family with undeniable memories filled with lots of laughter for over 50 years. Jack had the gift of bringing smiles to the faces of those around him. His all encompassing and energetic spark was contagious, and wherever Jack Kosten was, there was sure to be laughter. It was a privilege to be in his company as he shared not only his laughter, but his optimism and kindness. Jack was a wonderful man whose life revolved around his faith, family and many dear friends. Rooted in that very faith, he was loving, caring, giving, and devoted, treasures which will continue to be cherished as he is lovingly remembered.
Mr. John Thomas “Jack” Kosten, age 84, of Grand Rapids, went to be with his Lord on Friday, November 13, 2020. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 64 years, Lois; daughters, Mary Hansen, Lori (Bob) Maat and Cherri (Perry) Pastula; grandchildren, Kurt (Terron) Kosten, Samantha (Josh) Wesseldyke, Jeremy (Alexis Postma) Maat, Eric Pastula, Sarah Pastula and Olivia Pastula; great-grandchildren, Trenton, Kolton and Maxwell. Also surviving are his sister, Joyce Wood; brother-in-law, Ray (Jo) Nanninga; sister-in-law, Arlaine Postma; many nieces, nephews and friends. A private family service will take place due to COVID restrictions. Contributions in his memory may be made to Emmanuel Hospice. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Jack’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign his online guest book.