Tuesday, October 30, 2018
11:00 AM EDT
Remembrance Reformed Church
4575 Remembrance Road NS
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
For those who knew and loved Tom Luyk, there was nothing greater than the love and generosity he so freely gave towards the ones he loved and cared about. Hard working and dedicated in everything he did, Tom was a dedicated provider to those entrusted to his care. He was a man admired for his strong work ethic and integrity which afforded him numerous friendships along life’s way. In his family he found his greatest reward, and for these things and so much more, he will be dearly missed.
A time of mixed blessings in the U.S., the year 1943 was filled with the perils of war at a time when the Pentagon was dedicated in Arlington, Virginia. While hope was on the horizon, much was being done for the war effort as the nation came together during these tumultuous days of World War II. Yet for Anthony “Tony” and Gertrude (Gardner) Luyk of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the birth of their little boy, Thomas J. Luyk on August 1, 1943, was cause for celebration.
One of three children, young Tom joined his older sister, Nancy and later welcomed his younger sister, Jan. Having lived on Jeanette Street on the West Side of Grand Rapids, Tom enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation. He attended Stocking Elementary School and during the summer of 1954, his family began what would become a family tradition of camping. For two weeks each summer they camped at Interlochen and did so the same time every year. Tom always looked forward to these fun-filled times which also included his aunts, uncles, and cousins. His family continued this tradition for several decades and throughout his life Tom held fond memories of being with his family and having fun on these treasured vacations.
Several years after graduating from Union High School, Tom went into the construction trade with his friend, Dan Baker. Tom loved working, especially with his hands. He loved the physical labor, and he worked hard. No matter the weather, if there was a job, Tom was right there getting it done. Quite skilled in his work, Tom had his own way of doing things, and his way was the right way! He was very particular about his work, did it right the first time, and it clearly showed. In 1968, Tom built his home on 12th Avenue in Marne where he would continue to live for the rest of his days. He also built other homes on his street, as well as on Edinboro Street NW.
Along the way, Tom met Jennie Smith, and with a deep abiding love, the two were joined in marriage on July 6, 1973. Before settling into Tom’s home in Marne as husband and wife, they set-off for their honeymoon to Montana. However, their honeymoon was interrupted with a hospital stay for Tom as he struggled with headaches. Once they returned home, both were eager to begin their new lives and together raised Tom’s four children, Bill, Chris, Bob and Ron in their family home. Becoming a father had added much to Tom’s life and by way of example, he taught his children well.
In the early 1970s, Tom’s friend and business partner, Dan had moved to Montana and at this point Tom went to work for Smith Brothers, a company owned by his father-in-law. As a family business, it not only provided a job for Tom but literally for everyone else in the family at some point, too. After about ten years, Tom joined Ironwood Construction where he served as a foreman on construction projects. He primarily worked as a carpenter, did finish trim work and he worked on many condo projects throughout greater Grand Rapids. Eventually after ten years with Ironwood, Tom went into business for himself with Trim Tom Construction and worked as a subcontractor. While he enjoyed the labor and being hands-on, he didn’t care much for the invoicing and paperwork it entailed.
Family was the very center of Tom’s heart. He coached his boys in little league, and when they were in high school, he traveled to North Carolina with their team as a chaperone for spring break, and even built the team a trailer. He enjoyed it so much he continued going even after his boys were done playing. Tom loved nothing more than spending time traveling and being outdoors with his family. With so many fond memories of his own, he continued the family trips to Interlochen with his own kids for many years where priceless memories were made and enjoyed. They also took several vacations, most often out west. Although each year it seemed the car got smaller as there were more passengers and the kids were getting bigger. They also pulled their trailer on these trips.
At home, Tom had a pool for his family to enjoy which also got bigger over the years as Tom made improvements. He also installed a sprinkling system. With his know-how, he was always willing to help a neighbor or friend with theirs and since he was always up for a project, he’d dig their systems by hand also. Tom was never one to sit idle. He was always tinkering, building, or improving something. It came as no surprise when his son, Ron started making maple syrup that Tom joined in. He helped Ron build the sugar shack, and then on to an even larger one.
For many years Tom was a regular at Bud’s Hamburg for weekday breakfasts. He also loved to hunt and over the years enjoyed several Elk hunting trips to Montana. In fact, in 2014, Tom’s family took a memorable trip together to Montana where they rented a large home and enjoyed traveling around the state and seeing the sights. When the kids left home and had lives of their own, Tom and Jennie found adventures together pulling their trailer or later traveling in their motor home. They both loved NASCAR and went to many races throughout the U.S., often with good friends.
Becoming a grandfather was a delight for Tom. He loved spending time with his grandkids where he was engaged and ever supportive. He was always there for them and together they enjoyed fishing together and numerous other activities. Particularly in recent years, one could always count on a story from Tom. Although he was stubborn in nature, he naturally had a soft spot when it came to his grandkids.
It was in 2015 while Tom was working on a project that his family noticed Tom seemed different. Soon diagnosed with stage 4 bladder cancer, Tom showed strength and determination going through treatment and immediately quit smoking his pipe. The next years brought a great amount of joy as Tom encouraged family gatherings and by providing the opportunity to gather at campsites like the family had done for so many years. Over the last three years they spent cherished times together at Pickerell Lake making many great memories. Tom loved the sense of camaraderie of family and these special times brought his family even closer. Sadly, the cancer would once again return with a vengeance yet with his family by his side, Tom found peace as his hard working hands were put to rest.
With his hard work ethic, Tom Luyk never took the easy way out and throughout his life he adapted to the circumstances that came his way. He loved his life’s work, and in his family he found his greatest joy. Experiencing life with those he loved by his side and all it had to offer was a blessing for Tom. A loyal man and a friend of many, Tom will be remembered for his helpful nature and good companionship. A wonderful husband and dedicated father and grandfather, the memories Tom leaves behind remain a lasting legacy.
Thomas J Luyk, age 75 of Marne, passed away October 25, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Jennie; children: Bill & Barb, Chris & John Steele, Bob & Sherri, Ron & Renee; 12 grandchildren; sisters: Nancy (Gus) Permoda, Jan Weining; as well as nieces and nephews. Tom was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Herb Weining. The service to remember and celebrate Tom’s life will be held Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 11:00 AM at Remembrance Reformed Church, 4575 Remembrance Road NW. Friends are invited to visit with Tom’s family on Monday, 4-6 & 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW and on Tuesday at the church from 10:30 until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Spectrum Health Hospice are appreciated. To read more about Tom’s life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.