Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

James Pyp

May 15, 1931 - September 1, 2018
Grand Rapids, MI



Wednesday, September 5, 2018
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church


Wednesday, September 5, 2018
12:00 PM EDT
Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church
2100 Chelsea NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505


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.

Faith Hospice
2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5113
Driving Directions
Web Site

Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church


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


All who knew James Pyp would agree that there was no one who met him and left unchanged. He was kind, compassionate, and a continual reflection of what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord he loved. Even when he faced trials, Jim’s faith in his Lord and Savior remained strong. There was no greater gift in his life than his family, and he was so proud to witness his family tree blossom to include the numerous branches of loved ones who brought him such joy. Jim leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will cherish and carry on in his footsteps.

Life during the 1930s was anything but easy for countless American families as the Great Depression covered our nation and much of the world throughout the entire decade. Jobs were scarce and the unemployment rate soared, causing numerous families to lose their homes. It was just as this decade was beginning that Jack and Tina (Faasse) Pyp were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named James Henry on May 15, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Raised primarily on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids. Jim was their only child. Because his father had multiple sclerosis, his mother worked hard to support their family. Jim always had a deep admiration for her ability to work so hard while also caring for her home and family.

In many ways Jim was a young boy of his generation. He loved to have fun, and he established a wonderful group of lifelong friends. For years this group of friends, along with their wives, were known as “the gang.” They got together monthly and celebrated every New Year’s Eve together. Jim loved playing catcher on baseball teams from the time he was young. He also played in high school. He was even considering joining a minor league team, but he decided against it since they played on Sundays. Jim attended Oakdale Christian School and then West Side Christian School. His high school years found him at Grand Rapids Christian High School. Jim and his family also attended Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church, which is where the roots of his faith were established.

As a young man Jim was eager for all that life had his store. He graduated from high school in 1949 and enlisted in the Coast Guard with some friends in 1951. Jim played baseball for the Coast Guard while stationed in Hawaii.

New and exciting changes were in store for Jim when he met the young woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Charlotte Dieleman, and they met after a hymn sing where she sang in a trio. Her friend was also dating one of Jim’s friends. Although he was home on furlough at the time and had to return to his duties, they continued corresponding through letters until he was discharged in 1954. Jim and Charlotte were married on May 5, 1955, at Coldbrook Christian Reformed Church. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon in Florida and returned home with exactly 16 cents.

Jim and Charlotte initially settled into a place at 542 Marietta, upstairs from Charlotte’s grandpa. This is where they welcomed their two girls, Sharon and Charlene, into their hearts and home. Later on, Jim’s uncle, who was a builder, built them a house at 1820 Emerald, NE, which was the place they called home for the 41 years that followed. It was easy to see that Jim adored his girls, and he was an active part of their lives. The girls loved having their dad involved in the ‘Special Projects’ committee from Creston Chr. School. He served at countless pancake breakfasts, soup suppers, hamburg frys, and ox roasts with other school dads. Always a sharp dresser, his girls remember spending time shopping with him at Jurgens and Holtvluwer on the west side of Grand Rapids. Whatever he bought, Jim took meticulous care of. When their children were young, they took summer vacations for two weeks at a cottage either on Brower Lake or Bostwick Lake for years. Some of their most precious family memories were made during these times. As a father Jim was sensitive and empathetic. If he appeared angry at times it was most likely out of frustration of a situation, not the people involved. The family enjoyed watching Jim play ball for church leagues at the Christian Reformed Recreation Center, which was something he did for years.

Throughout his life Jim was one to work hard. After a short time at Kelvinator, he started working as a sales representative for Gerber. This ended up being where he would spend the bulk of his career until retiring after 36 years. Jim’s work required travel throughout West Michigan as well as a bit further at times.

Always one to be busy, Jim was a man of many interests. He developed his love for music through the years as he supported Char, who played the organ at church for 56 years and also taught piano. Jim supported her in her work in whatever way he could. As a couple they enjoyed going to Calvin College Alumni Choir concerts and the GR Symphony, as well as activities their grandchildren were involved in. When Beckwith Hills merged with Coldbrook, they remained members. Jim served the congregation as both an elder and deacon at times over the years. During his retirement years, he enjoyed golfing with friends, and he also enjoyed fishing with his cousin Max who was like a brother for him. For a number years Jim and his brother-in-law Franklin spent Mondays picking up TRIP certificates for the Grand Rapids Christian Schools. Jim was a baseball fan throughout his life, but if he could only choose one team to cheer for it wouldn’t have been in baseball but cheering for his Michigan Wolverines instead. Although he was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago, Jim underwent treatment and was able to resume the things he loved.

Jim and Char had a second family in their former neighbors, Phouc and Nga Phan with their sons Loc and Trien (Mikey). Even after the Phan family moved to Texas in 2001, they continued to stay close.

With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, James Pyp was a blessing to everyone he met. From waitresses at Russ’, nurses at the hospital, and staff at Samaritas where he and Char have lived the past couple of years, he was friendly, kind, and quick to put others at ease. Jim was approachable and often showed his gentle wit. A friend of Jim’s was a friend for life. Jim was a devoted family man and there was nothing he cherished more than being a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Jim will be forever missed.

James Henry Pyp, age 87 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on September 1, 2018. Jim is survived by his wife, Charlotte; children Sharon & Bob Boersma; Charlene & Andy Zondervan; grandchildren (and great grandchildren) Rob & Sheri Boersma (Elise, Brynn), Amy & Drew deJonge (Graham, Ellison, Archer), Laura & Kurt Visker (Oakleigh, Mabel, Amais), Abigail & Trevor Uitvlugt, Christy & Silas Wolff, Molly Grimm; Stephanie & Lee Chatfield (Lee, Noah, Matthew, Payge, Lincoln) and Samantha Zondervan; sister-in-law Helen Dieleman; as well as several nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Jim's life will be held on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 12 Noon at Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church, 2100 Chelsea Road NE where friends are invited to visit with his family from 10 AM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church or Faith Hospice are appreciated. To read more about Jim's life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com