Thursday, August 24, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
Heritage Reformed Congregation
540 Crescent Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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.
Rest Haven Homes
1424 Union Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Grace Christian Academy
1000 Ball Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Determined as well as hard-working, Larry VanBeek was a genuine person through and through. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather he savored the time he spent with his growing family over the years. Larry lived his life to the fullest by working hard to provide for the family he loved. Generous, reliable, and humble, he will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
The 1940s were characterized by WWII. By 1948, the first affordable prefab homes were being built in the U.S. to solve the growing need of the baby boomers. That same year, James and Betty (VanderSchie) VanBeek welcomed home their firstborn son, Larry Bruce, on October 22nd in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Later joined by his brother, Jack, and sister, Ruth, his childhood was filled with many happy and memorable moments.
Growing up on Sinclair Avenue on the NE side of Grand Rapids, Larry lived a typical childhood of the times. Raised in the church, he attended Riverside Christian Reformed with his family. As a child, he held fond memories of visiting his grandmother’s cottage in Spring Lake in the summer months. During the school year, he excelled at Riverside Elementary School and then Creston High School. During his teen years, he held a job at Daane’s Market. Larry was a responsible young man who enjoyed fast cars, especially his Dodge Super Bee, and singing in the school choir. The luck of fate struck when a young lady wearing a green dress caught his attention in choir class. Once he learned her name was Linda Baas, his next move was to ask her out on a date to the drag races at Martin Speedway. Linda accepted and the rest was history! Once they had both graduated, they joined in marriage on August 8, 1969, at the Chapel of Calvin College. The newlyweds enjoyed a romantic honeymoon to Niagara Falls.
Ambitious and outgoing, Larry was not one to sit idle. He began working at Consumers Power before he later enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War. After basic training, he was sent to Naples, Italy where he was a firefighter at the airbase. Linda joined him on base during his two years of active duty. Together they welcomed their first child, Jim, before returning back to Michigan. Settling in Jenison, their family grew to include three more children. A strong provider, Larry returned to Consumers before working as an electrician for Bazen Electric. Later, he took an offer to work for General Motors. After starting at the plant on Burlingame, he would then spend many years in Coopersville working alongside his brother and brother-in-law. Larry never turned down an opportunity to earn overtime and often picked up Saturday shifts. He never complained about his workload but rather saw it as a blessing to support his growing family.
As a dad, he was calm and loving. He was always willing to listen and offer up any help that was needed from advice to projects or just his presence. Larry encouraged the kids in their various interests. In 1990 they moved to a home on Grand River where they housed a couple of horses. Much like his childhood, each summer, he made sure the family enjoyed a weeklong vacation. Often they went on long road trips touring the countryside or spent time camping. Larry was proud to raise his children with a strong Christian foundation at Heritage Reformed Congregation. He served as a deacon at the church and served on the school board as well. There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his family.
Before his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease just six years ago, Larry held a wide range of special interests. He loved doing house projects and maintaining the property. For relaxation, Larry always loved boating. Each of the kids skied, tubed, and kneeboarded over the years. They would trailer the boat but for a time also had a slip in Grand Haven. He loved fishing inland lakes as well as on Lake Michigan. Larry also enjoyed years of hunting with his brother. When he was blessed with grandkids, he was active in their lives. In retirement, he drove for Weller Truck delivering parts and traveled with Linda to various conferences around the country as part of her work in the bookstore at Puritan Theological Seminary. Larry was fond of driving. Even if it was only for a few hours down the road, he and Linda shared countless car rides during their years together.
When his illness progressed to his legs and autonomous systems, Larry slowed down. The disease certainly brought challenges and frustration, but his faith allowed him to continue with determination. Rest Haven Homes helped him to receive the additional care he needed for several months before he passed away. Larry shared many of the wondrous gifts of his life with the family he so loved. May they always live their lives as a reflection of his steadfast compassion for others and may his warm memories live on in their hearts forever.
Larry B. VanBeek, age 74 of Ada, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on August 20, 2023. Larry is survived by his wife, Linda; their children Jim & Amy, Andy & Kim, Robyn & Rob Nieuwenhuis, Kathy & Jay Wielhouwer; grandchildren Emily (Elijah) Stuive, Alyssa, Katie, Megan, Nathan, Lauren and Connor VanBeek, Jenna (Brendan) Murray, Kyle and Ben Nieuwenhuis, Ayla, Carly, Layne, and Sylvia Wielhouwer; brother, Jack (Barb) VanBeek; sister Ruth (Jack) Elwell; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Gary (Esther) Baas, Carol (Bob) Klein, Marijane (Tim) Postma; as well as his aunts, and many nieces and nephews. Larry was preceded in death by his parents James and Betty VanBeek.
His funeral service will be held on Thursday, August 24 at 11 AM at Heritage Reformed Congregation, 540 Crescent Street NE. Friends are invited to visit with his family on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home–Van Strien Creston Chapel. Interment in Fairplains Cemetery. Larry’s family suggests memorial donations to either Grace Christian Academy or Rest Haven Homes. To share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com