Saturday, December 11, 2021
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST
Grand Rapids Yacht Club
740 Lakeside Dr SE
East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
A time of sharing will begin at 5 PM
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.
Warm Hearts Foundation
c/o Treasurer P.O. Box 888634
Grand Rapids, MI 49588
Life Story / Obituary
A wonderful husband, father, and grandfather, Steve Lampen was a devoted family man. An avid boater and project lover, he enjoyed spending time working on his cottage and sailing on the water. Whatever he did, often his children and later grandchildren were in tow, as he loved spending time with them. Gone too soon, Steve will be deeply missed and leaves behind a warm collection of memories to be cherished by all who knew and loved him.
Born on May 22nd, 1952, Steven John was welcomed home by Neil and Marilyn (Schuitema) Lampen in Jackson, Michigan. Steve’s childhood was filled with frequent moves following his father’s career as a school educator. Curious about the world around him at a young age, with a strong interest in learning how things worked, he could be found exploring the wires under the car dashboard or taking apart the vacuum cleaner.
He spent his elementary school years in Lansing, middle school years in Hamilton, and then spent his high school years at Hudsonville Public Schools. With a love for music, he enjoyed playing the clarinet in band, and later played electric guitar with friends--snagging their one and only gig at the school’s first dance. Steve was also involved in the football team, the golf team, and the ski club. He balanced his studies with his work at a local electrical shop and graduated as the valedictorian of the Class of 1970.
Steve and Marcia were both still in high school when they met at a combined band concert between Hudsonville High and Unity Christian High. Later, when he was working on the lighting for the high school play, he met her again and soon began dating. The chemistry was undeniable and they married on July 6, 1973. The happy and somewhat nerdy couple honeymooned in Washington DC where in the afternoon and evening (getting a late start) they actually enjoyed visiting all of the landmarks, museums, and historic monuments.
During their early married years, Steve was in school at GM Institute so he split his time between Grand Rapids and Flint. Marcia was working as a nurse at Blodgett Hospital and would stay with her father to help him out when Steve was away. Before the start of his Master’s degree with Auburn University, they welcomed home their newborn son, Russ, in 1974. Five years later along came Dan, and then in 1983, their daughter, Katie was born.
As an involved father, Steve did everything possible to support his family and their interests--attending football games, concerts, and even getting up every Sunday morning to help his sons deliver the bulky GR press. When it came to homework related to math, physics, or chemistry they knew they could count on him for his patient and competent assistance. He always encouraged the kids in whatever they set out to accomplish. When Russ and Dan were at MSU, Steve got season football tickets to spend more time together.
He took great pride and pleasure working as an electrical engineer during his long career. Efficient and knowledgeable, he was known as the “Yoda of controls engineering” in West Michigan. Steve retired twice--once from GM/Delphi and again from Apex Controls--but never really stopped working as an engineer with a final part-time position at Extol Inc. in Zeeland.
In his freetime, the old red cottage on Big Star Lake provided endless projects and fun. He spent countless hours driving the power boat attempting to pull many uncoordinated children (and sometimes adults) water skiing. Later, he purchased a vintage 30’ Catalina sailboat, kept at the Muskegon Yacht Club, which he enjoyed fixing as much as sailing. He even purchased an industrial sewing machine so he could repair the sails himself!
In addition to his love for all things nautical, Steve had many other passions and interests. A work trip to Austria early in his career evolved into a love of travel with his family and friends. Steve enjoyed attending musical events including the Grand Rapids Symphony, concerts at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Hoxyville music festival. His strong, but sometimes pitchy, voice was a welcome addition to the church choir. Steve loved to meet up with his long-time friends from Fuller Avenue Church (and elsewhere) on the first Friday of every month. If his old boat and cottage didn’t provide enough projects, he could rely on his home in Heritage Hill to keep him occupied. On Paris Avenue he was a member of a neighborhood book club and enjoyed meeting friends on their porches for drinks and conversation lasting late into the night.
As a husband, father, friend, and mentor Steve touched many lives during his lifetime. Sadly, he died soon after his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Faced with death Steve stated, “that he could leave this earth feeling content that he had completed his bucket list, and wanted to live his final days as normal as possible until he couldn’t.”
Steven J. Lampen, age 69, of Grand Rapids, died on December 5, 2021. He was our fixer and now we are broken. He was preceded in death by his parents, Neil and Marilyn Lampen. Steve is survived by Marcia, his wife of 49 years; children, Russell and Jill Lampen, Daniel and Keiko Lampen, and Katherine and Joseph Hettinga; grandchildren, Annika, Greta, Allison, Kazuma, and Dean. Also surviving are his siblings, Jane and Rick Johnson, David and Luanne Lampen and Diane and Bob Dahl; sisters-in-law, Lynne and Garry DenBesten and Barbara and Al Dixon and several nieces and nephews. Family and friends will gather on Saturday, December 11 from 3-6 PM, with a time of sharing at 5 PM, at Grand Rapids Yacht Club, 740 Lakeside Dr. SE. Contributions in his memory may be made to Warm Hearts Foundation or Family Promise. Please visit www.heritaglifestory.com to submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook online.