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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, William “Bill” Hop was a kind and generous man who thought of others first and foremost. He worked hard and was known for his attention to detail in everything he did. Bill was deeply devoted to his family, and he was so proud to witness his family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made him so very proud. Life will never be the same without Bill here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his friends and loved ones will forever cherish.
Life during much of the 1920s was exciting in America. Innovation was leading the way to new technology that brought us things like washing machines, refrigerators, and motion pictures in both color and sound. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great joy in the lives of William and Katherine (Neismer) Hop as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named William Ronald on December 11, 1927, in Holland, Michigan. He was the fourth of five children as he was joined in his family by his sister, Jean, twin sisters, Ruth and Arlene, and his younger sister, Natalie. Bill’s father was a truck driver and farmer while his mother was a homemaker.
Raised in the family home in the Holland and Fennville area, Bill was a typical young boy of his generation. He attended local schools including Fennville High School through the 10th grade. A lover of the outdoors, Bill loved to pheasant and small game hunt as a boy. When he was just 17, he was poised for great changes when he joined the United States Navy. Bill spent more than two years serving in Rhode Island during the days of WWII.
With his military duties fulfilled, Bill resumed the life he left behind. It was shortly after his return that he met a young waitress at The Hitching Post, who would change the course of his life forever. Her name was Ermina “Mickey” Bosma, They began dating, and it didn’t take them long to fall in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Bill and Mickey were married on February 8, 1951. The newlyweds bought a home on Valley Avenue, NW, in Grand Rapids. This was the place they called home until 1957. Together Bill and Mickie welcomed four children including Karen in 1950, Deborah in 1952, Betty in 1957, and David in 1960. Their bustling family moved to an apartment on Alpine Avenue until their new home was built at 423 Charlotte, and later to a larger home at 512 Charlotte, NW, where they lived for the rest of their lives.
There was never anything of greater significance in Bill’s life than his family. They took numerous family camping vacations every summer in both tents and trailers throughout Michigan. A kid at heart in many ways, Bill had all kinds of things to keep the kids entertained including dune buggies, boats, and campers. In his forties, Bill earned his pilot’s license and along with good friend Skip Leyen, he owned a Sesna 172 airplane. His plane number was N1407F. Bill and his family were members of Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church, which later merged with Highland Hills CRC and became Westend CRC. To support his family, he first worked at Whites Market in Holland. Bill later took a job at Vanden Brink Meats in Grand Rapids, making the commute every day from Holland, until the moved to Grand Rapids. He continued working there for over 35 years. While still there, Bill’s beloved Mickey developed ALS. Bill lovingly cared for her until her death in 1993 after 42 years of being married.
As the years went by, Bill continued to embrace the days he was given. He began dating Shirley Hibbs after Mickey died. They had known each other for a while as Shirley and Mickey were friends. The couple was later married, and they spent their sunset years together until she died of lung cancer after being married for 10 years. Bill remained an avid pheasant hunter for most of his life, and he raised both German Weimaraner dogs and pheasants to train them. He liked attending outdoor sports shows, Michigan Outdoors, and other hunting shows. As an outdoor lover Bill enjoyed working in the yard and had a green thumb for growing flowers in the yard as well as house plants. Bill wasn’t ready to give up work completely, so after retiring from Vanden Brink Meats, Bill delivered auto parts for Parts Plus. As his family and friends can attest, he was a great cook who was especially known for his soups, roasts, and breads. In addition to watching outdoor shows, Bill also liked Murder She Wrote as well as Detroit Lions Football, as he caught as many of their games as he could. He loved listening to Christian hymns on WFUR Radio, and he collected both guns and coins. Bill remained active until being diagnosed with dementia six years ago. This brought Bill to Yorkshire Manor where he was forced to slow down.
A hardworking, kindhearted, and faith-filled man, William “Bill” Hop was a blessing to so many around him. He worked hard in everything he did, inspiring those around him. Deeply devoted to his family, Bill was happiest when surrounded by their love. He will never be forgotten.
William Ronald “Bill” Hop, aged 92 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Wednesday morning, February 26, 2020, at Yorkshire Manor. He was the son of the late, William and Katherine Hop. He was also preceded in death by his 1st wife, Mickey Hop (Bosma), his 2nd wife, Shirley Hop (Hibbs) and his sisters, Jean and Arlene. He is survived by his children, Karen Sue Hop, Deborah (Richard) Duimstra, Betty (Steve) Taylor, David (Nancy) Hop; grandchildren, Benjamin (Jeana) Duimstra, David (Tara) Duimstra, Rachel Hop, Zachary Hop; 5 great grandchildren; sisters, Natalie VerHage and Ruth Vaneenanaam. Bill was a hardworking and dedicated and generous husband, father, grandfather great grandfather, brother and a friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. He proudly served his country in the US Navy during World War II. He was a long time member of Alpine Ave Christian Reformed Church and later Westend Christian Reformed Church. He retired from Vanden Brink Meats where he worked for over 35 years. A service to celebrate Bill’s life will be held on Tuesday March 3rd at 1:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Visitation at the funeral home on Tuesday from 11:00 – 1:00 pm. Burial in Washington Park Cemetery. Contributions in his memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice. To read more about Bill’s life, to leave your own memory of him and to sign his guest book, visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com