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.
Matt Kooistra Family Assistance Fund (payable to Carrie Kooistra)
2120 Lake Michigan Drive 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
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the above fund.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Matthew Kooistra would agree that he had a vibrant zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Faith was a cornerstone in his life, and never was that more evident than when he faced a cancer diagnosis later in life. There was no greater gift in his life than his family, and he was so proud to watch the children he shared with the love of his life become extraordinary people of their own. Matt lived to love and serve others, touching the lives of so many along the way. Life will never be the same without Matt here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
It seems only fitting that Matt’s journey on this side of heaven began during a time that was as vibrant as he was. Pink Floyd, Van Morrison, and the Eagles were big names in music while the family comedies like Happy Days and The Brady Bunch entertained Americans in their homes. It was as the beauty of summer held the city of Valparaiso, Indiana, firmly in its grip in June of 1974 that Ron and Marsha (Venema) Kooistra announced the birth of the baby boy they named Matthew Aaron on June 21st. The second of four children in his family, he was raised alongside his older brother, Mike, and his younger siblings, Sarah and Dave. When he was born Matt’s father was finishing law school while his mother was a full time nurse to support the family. Soon after he was born, the Kooistra family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Matt spent the rest of his life.
There were so many personality traits that were unique to Matt, and many of them began to emerge during his youngest years. He was a very easy baby who was always happy and smiling. Matt attended Kelloggsville Christian School through the ninth grade and loved playing baseball, especially pitcher and first base. Matt also began shooting guns at targets as a young boy of seven, and this would be something he enjoyed for the rest of his life. Together, he and his Dad and brothers often went to West Walker Sportsmans Club on the Northwest side. Matt always loved putting stuff together, beginning with Legos. In fact, his older brother would often have Matt build stuff because Matt was the patient one. As a family the Kooistras did lots of boating and frequently camped at Brower Park and then Higgins and Mullett Lake. In time they decided to look for a place of their own there. Although they found one they liked, it wasn’t until the following year that his family could come to an agreement with the seller. From 1995 through 2020, their cottage on Mullett Lake was the place where countless family memories were made. Matt and his family were members of LaGrave Christian Reformed Church, and he was active in the Boy Scouts. His high school years found him at Grand Rapids Christian High School where he was on the varsity swim team.
After graduating from high school in 1992, Matt was eager for all that life had in store. He went to Lake Superior State for a couple years and truly enjoyed the college experience. After two years, Matt returned home and attended Grand Rapids Community College. It has been said that although Matt had a lot of college credits, he had no degree.
Not to be forgotten during his years as a young man was Matt’s introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Carrie Marema, and they had several mutual friends. Things just clicked, and the rest is history as they say. After dating for a couple of years Matt and Carrie were married on March 22, 1997, at LaGrave CRC and took a honeymoon at the cottage on Mullett Lake before settling into an apartment in Gaines Township. At first Matt started his own car audio business, MAK Audio. Things were going well, but that changed when the landlord set the building on fire and burned Matt’s business to the ground. He then did auto detail for a bit, but since he hated this work he was on the lookout for something different. After answering an ad in the newspaper for a mortgage lender, Matt found his perfect fit and made a career as a loan officer. He was passionate about helping others through his work, and in time he established his own mortgage load processing company, Simplified Mortgage Solutions. This recently became a family business as Matt’s son, Bretton, began working alongside Matt.
Although Matt found his work to be extremely rewarding, it was his family that was always closest to his heart. Together he and Carrie welcomed four children, Bretton, Connor, Lilly, and Annabel, into their hearts and home. He loved bringing his children into his passions such as when he took his kids shooting. Matt later became a coach on the shooting team, teaching hunter safety. He loved hunting, including for both deer and birds, and this was something he loved even more when his kids were old enough to go with him. Matt lived to share fun with his family on Mullett Lake whether they were riding around on the boat or jet skis during the summer or using the snowmobiles in the winter. Matt loved riding the snowmobiles and dirt bikes and quads with the boys as well as building jumps and showing them how to fix things. He also made special memories with his daughter, Annabel, at Yesterdog and Spoonlickers. As someone who was very handy and could fix nearly anything, it was not uncommon for Matt to go over to his parents’ house to fix things there, too. He liked to travel with his family, and among their most memorable trips were those to Yellowstone, Mexico, Mississippi to see Connor in the Navy, and to California to see his sister. His lifelong friend, Matt Englesman, was also woven into many of Matt’s most precious memories.
As his family and friends can attest, Matt was someone who was never still. In fact his ideal day would be spent doing yard work, and grilling for dinner with his family followed by a fire. Matt also enjoyed chopping wood as well as plowing his driveway. He was always keeping things running and willing to learn or try new things. Matt was involved with Impact Church nearly from the beginning and enjoyed watching it grow over the years. He served there with a variety of projects including Love Week. Matt liked living out his faith in service to others and treasured the friendships he had with the pastors. He enjoyed music of all kinds from rap to country and classics like Eric Clapton, but more recently Matt found such strength and encouragement from praise and worship music. Ask anyone who knew Matt and they’d tell you that he liked black coffee, and lots of it, and he was notorious for heating it up in the microwave only to forget about it. He was always interested in WWII movies and when it came to relaxing with some tv he enjoyed the History Channel, Smithsonian Channel, and binge watching the Air Disaster Show. An avid outdoorsman, Matt’s favorite meal was bacon wrapped venison tenderloin. When it came to candy he liked gummy bears, fruit slices, and black licorice. He only slowed down when life forced him to this past August as a cancer diagnosis found him undergoing treatment to buy him more time. Matt really leaned into his faith during this time, and 1 Corinthians 16:13 became his lifeline.
Outgoing, talkative, and friendly, Matthew Kooistra was the sort of person who never met a stranger. He was a helper, a planner, and a fixer who loved sharing his dreams and passions with his loved ones. Matt’s devotion to his family was unmatched, and his unwavering love and support were an inspiration to all who were near. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
KOOISTRA – Matthew A. Kooistra age 47, of Lowell, went to be with his Lord and Savior on February 18, 2022. He was preceded in death by his father, Ron Kooistra. Matt is survived by Carrie, his wife of 25 years; children, Bretton (Lauren) Kooistra, Connor Kooistra, Lilly Kooistra and Annabel Kooistra; mother, Marsha Kooistra; In-laws, Don and Karen Marema. Also surviving are his siblings, Michael Kooistra, Sarah (Pat) Groves, and Dave (Nichole) Kooistra; sisters-in-law, Melissa (Eric) Nelson and Katie VanHaven; 9 nieces and nephews and many special friends. The Memorial Service will be held at 6 PM on Thursday, February 24 at Impact Church, 11840 East Fulton St, Lowell. The family will receive visitors at the church on Thursday from 2-4 PM. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Matt Kooistra Family Assistance c/o Go Fund Me. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Matt’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook.