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.
Autism Support of Kent County
P.O. Box 150348)
Grand Rapids, MI 49515
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Robert Gage rode through life fiercely loving his family and always willing to lend a helping hand to his many friends. He was known to have a wonderful sense humor which lent to him being quite the practical joker and equipped with fast witted comments. Rob was an attentive and loving husband, father, and friend. No matter the time of day, Rob’s friends knew they could count on him 24/7. Gone far too soon, Rob leaves behind many memories that will forever be cherished by those who knew and loved him.
The 1970s brought about the end of the Vietnam War and the start of the Watergate Scandal. Disco was the new emerging genre in music, and everyone was dancing like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Microsoft was founded in 1975, and the world lost a musical icon in 1977 when Elvis Presley passed away. For parents, Michael Ray Gage & Ellen Jean Boss, May 2, 1973, marked a very important day as they welcomed their first child, Robert John Gage. Rob’s father was an electronics engineer and his mother was a homemaker. His siblings Tammara, Michelle, and Melissa were always close with him growing up, and remained close to this day. Rob’s parents divorced in 1981 and his father raised the kids after that. Unfortunately, Rob lost his mother in 2012.
Growing up in Grand Rapids, MI, Rob had many funny childhood stories. Rob was once involved in a Heinz ketchup packet war with his friends that left the house a huge mess. Holidays were spent on overnight trips or extended stays at their grandmother’s house in Parma, MI. On these road trips to grandma’s house, the kids used to pass the time by eating Pop-Tarts and drinking juice boxes in the car. Vacations were also spent at grandma’s or at Disney World. Rob was always a thrill seeker from a very young age. There was one winter where Rob was sledding and hit a tree with his face that left him bruised and bloodied. Rob and the neighborhood kids used to “borrow” trays from the local McDonald’s to use to go sledding. Another fun activity in the winter was to get towed behind a neighbor’s snowmobile throughout the neighborhood…..until the local authorities put a stop to that!
Rob attended Northwest Kelloggsville Elementary School, Kelloggsville Junior High, and Kelloggsville High School; he graduated in 1991 as a National Honor Student. In high school, Rob was very involved in a club called the Stream Team. This organization educated the community, protected, and restored local waterways. He was also on the baseball team, a member of Campus Life, played on the church softball team, and active in his church’s Calvinist Cadet Corps. In high school Rob valued a relationship with one of his teachers, “Gus the third”. Gus was not only a teacher but also a mentor to Rob and became an influential figure in his life. As a teenager Rob enjoyed camping up north, smelt fishing, hunting, outdoor cooking—which included deep-frying turkeys. Rob was gifted with a photographic memory. He was very adept with computers and amateur radios. Somehow, Rob never got a brain freeze from eating/drinking cold drinks. In fact, he once drank fifteen root beers in one hour with his friend Terry.
In 1994 Rob was introduced to the love of his life, Heather Thompson, through his friend Terry. They double dated to a movie at Studio 28 movie theater in Grand Rapids. During the date they came upon a car accident and Rob was able to alert the authorities with his amateur radio. The couple dated until 1998, and then officially wed on October 24, 1998, at Thornapple Community Church. They honeymooned to Mount Pleasant, MI visiting the casino. As newlyweds, they purchased a trailer in Cutlerville, MI and then eventually bought their current home-- Heather’s grandparent’s house on two acres in Grand Rapids. Perhaps the two days in his life that made him the proudest was when the couple welcomed their first son, Jayson, in 1997 and their second son, John, in 2005.
Electronics always interested Rob. He worked for eighteen years for T&W Electronics in Grand Rapids. Rob enjoyed reading technical publications that helped him learn about topics that interested him. As an adult he was a Calvinist Cadet Corps Counselor, a DeColores and Deco-Tec Ministries leader and board member, and a Skywarn National Weather Service member. Rob also volunteered with the Grand Rapids Amateur Radio Association (his call sign was N8WKN), and for the Grand Rapids Riverbank Run. His favorite food was meat. He loved preparing different meats by grilling or smoking them; spicy foods were another favorite of Rob’s. Every Friday night, Rob would get together with his friends and family for pizza night. A few of Rob’s favorite restaurants were Anna’s House and Mission Barbecue restaurants.
Family trips included visits to Mackinac Island or renting cottages at Rice Lake in Ontario Canada. Rob took an annual trip with his buddies to Deer Camp over Thanksgiving weekend. Recently Rob and the family took a trip to Disney World with his extended family. Rob also loved taking trips to Cedar Point since he enjoyed the thrill of roller coasters. He would go with his nephews and friends to the theme park during their annual Halloweekends. One of Rob’s favorite pastimes was motorcycling. He and Heather had many motorcycles over the years; most recently, the couple added their pride and joy to their collection—a Yamaha Road Star. Every Wednesday night Rob would get together with his friends and extended family for a motorcycle ride during the warm Michigan months. He had also been to the annual Lakeshore Blessing of the Bikes motorcycle event. Tinkering with machinery was how Rob used to spend a lot of his spare time. He cherished his 1946 Farmall Cub Tractor, his Big Lake fishing boat, his collection of firearms, and his motorcycles. Naturally, this led to Rob being a very handy man and would always lend a helping hand to those in need.
There is no doubt that Rob has left his tire marks on the hearts of his family and friends. His thrill seeking, humorous, and giving personality will never be forgotten. Everyone can agree that if ever you needed a helping hand, Rob was the first one to pitch in and help. Famous American stunt performer, Evel Knievel, once said, “I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair.” Rob climbed on his motorcycle whenever he could to cruise the roads life laid before him and helping everyone he met along the way.
Robert John Gage “Rob”, N8WKN age 48, of Grand Rapids, MI passed away after a motorcycle accident on Wednesday, September 22, 2021. He was born in the Spring of 1973 to Michael and Ellen Gage. His Mother precedes him death. Rob is survived by his wife of 23 years, Heather Anne [Thompson] and their sons Jayson and John as well as by his father Michael and siblings Tammara (Troy) Kablitz, Michelle (Jon) Graves, Melissa (Charles) Barrons, brother and sister-in-laws Terry (Audra) Decker and mother-in-law Marilyn Thompson. Per Rob’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A Memorial Service to celebrate Rob’s life will be held on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 1 PM at the Thornapple Community Church, (3260 Thornapple River Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546), with Pastor Tim Dieffenbach officiating. Relatives and friends may meet with Rob’s family on Tuesday September 28, 2021 at church from 6-9 PM and again at 11 AM on Wednesday prior to the service. Contributions in his memory may be made to: Autism Support of Kent County, (P.O. Box 150348, Grand Rapids, MI 49515). To read more about Rob's life, to sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him please visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com