Oct 21st 1952 - May 31st 2012
Never one to let life pass him by, Daniel Winsemius fully embraced every moment he was given while deeply loving his family and friends. He was an honest businessman whose words were as good as gold - a rare gift in today’s world. Dan was blessed to spend much of his life with his true love by his side, and together they raised two children who were his greatest source of pride and joy. Although he loved being a father, he just may have argued that being a grandfather was the role of a lifetime. Taken from those he loved much too soon, Dan will be deeply missed while his memory remains forever near and dear to the hearts of those too numerous to count.
Daily life in the early fifties was a colorful time in American history. Three out of five families now had a car and one in three homes had televisions. Fast food restaurants were growing in popularity while the nation’s youth were entertained with Barbie and G.I. Joe. Amidst this exciting time an active family from Muskegon, Michigan, was pleased to announce the birth of their healthy baby boy on October 21, 1952. Daniel Lee was the third of four children born to his parents, Bruce and Mary (Powers) Winsemius, and was raised in the family home alongside his older siblings, Janet and Bruce, and his younger brother, Paul.
Life was not easy for Dan during his formative years. His father walked out on the family when Dan was two, leaving his mother to move to her parents’ home with Dan and his siblings. When his mother remarried Dale Aker a bit later he gained four step-siblings, Diane, Daniel, Darlene, and Dennise. The large family lived together in a small home on Black Creek Road until they later built a larger home in Roosevelt Park. Dan always made the best of things and focused on working hard. As a student he attended Maple Grove School and then Mona Shores High School. During his teen years Dan worked on the celery farms during the summers with his brother, Paul. He also worked in the kitchen at Black Angus Restaurant.
After graduating from high school in 1971, Dan worked various jobs and was ready to embark on whatever journey life brought him. New and exciting times were on the horizon for Dan when he met the woman with whom he would write an eloquent love story. Her name was Debbie Fredericksen, and they met at Pere Marquette Park on Lake Michigan. She was still in high school, but Dan was completely smitten with her. They shared a first date at a concert, and it didn’t take long before their relationship grew serious. After falling deeply in love Dan married his sweetheart on September 16, 1977.
The newlyweds initially settled into a cottage they rented on the Muskegon River. After one year they moved to a tiny house on Ewing and River Road. The couple was overjoyed to find they were expecting just a couple of years later. They were thrilled to welcome their daughter, Tracy, into their hearts and home in 1980, and she was followed by their son, Daniel, in 1981. As a father Dan was unmatched as he was an active part of his children’s lives. When their family grew to include grandchildren much later in life Dan couldn’t have been happier. One tradition that Dan’s family will always treasure was the way he hid numerous eggs along the trail at their house for the kids to find on Easter.
Throughout his life Dan had a rewarding career. He first found work as a machinist at Teledyne Continental Motors where he remained for 10 years. During layoffs or strikes there he always found other work so his family would still be provided for. Dan later move on to Paragon Pattern for a few years and then on to Metal Flow before joining with his childhood friends, Chip Furst and Tim Huizenga, to form East River Machine Shop in 1990. The shop has been successfully operating since it began, and it was Dan’s personality and hard work that was the driving force behind their success. He was great salesman who was well liked by everyone he met. He was the kind of guy who always looked you in the eye - a great quality for any businessman.
There were so many things Dan loved through the years. When he was in his early twenties he developed a passion for the outdoors that included fishing and hunting. Dan hunted deer in the fall and took annual pheasant hunting trips to Iowa. As an avid ice fisherman he spent countless days out on Saginaw Bay during the winters. When they were first married Debbie often fished with him, but later in life he fished mainly with his friends. The Aker family had a cabin on Blue Lake in Fountain, Michigan, where Dan and his family often spent time with Dan’s siblings. Eventually he and Debbie bought the cabin from his mom, allowing Dan and his family to continue making memories there. He loved playing golf with his buddies and belonged to the Golfing Fools, a mixed couples league with his wife. Dan was also a member of the Muskegon Recreation Club, and in 1998 he got Harley-Davidson Road Glide so he could ride with the Muskegon Motorcycle Gang (MMG) made up of fellow Recreation Club members. Every summer he and Debbie would go on 10 day trips with other MMG members. Just a few of their memorable destinations included Maine, Sturgis, the Smokey Mountains, and Reno, Nevada. In preparation for each MMG trip he took alone, Debbie always sent Dan off with a kiss followed by, “I love you,” and, “Be careful.” Sadly, Dan did not return from his most recent trip.
Life will never be the same without Daniel Winsemius here, but the footprint he leaves behind is deeply embedded in the sands of time. He was a devoted husband who was married to his best friend as they lived life together and had fun together, exemplifying what marriage is truly intended to be. Dan loved his children and grandchildren more than life itself and was a vital influence in their lives. He will be deeply missed by his loving family, dear friends, and all who were within his reach.
Daniel Lee Winsemius died Thursday, May 31, 2012. Dan’s family includes his wife, Debora Ann; daughter, Tracy Morita (Ben Sprague); son, DJ (Misty) Winsemlus; granddaughters, Bo, Lilly, and Mikayla; mother, Pat Aker; brother, Paul (Pat) Winsemius; sisters, Janet (John) Austermllier and Dennise (Bruce Yonkers) Hines; brothers in-law, Dave (Mary) Fredericksen, John (Ellen) Fredericksen, Tom (Becky) Fredericksen, Marty (Joan) Fredericksen; sisters-in-law, Joanne Hornbeck, Marilyn (Dick) Ackerman, Chris (Ken) Sandy, Anne (Wayne) Harris, and Jeanne (Rod) Siegel; and many nieces, nephews, and friends. Dan was preceded in death by his brothers, Bruce Winsemius and Daniel Dale Aker; and his sisters, Darlene Kubicek and Diane Tiggleman. Friends and family please join us for a celebration of Dan's life on Saturday, June 9th at 3:00 p.m. at Dan and Debbie's house in Twin Lake. Memorial: MMG Motorcycle Tragedy Fund. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to leave a memory.