Friday, May 21, 2021
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Saturday, May 22, 2021
11:00 AM EDT
Life Story / Obituary
Patient, kind, and caring, Andrew Dykema lived a life rich in faith and family. A happy and generous man, Andrew was a hard worker who ensured his family knew the power of a good day’s labor, a man’s word, and a great big hug. Andrew embodied the principles of his faith, welcoming each day as a gift and every person as a friend. Honest, accepting, and quick to give of his time and talents in service of others, Andrew’s devotion to his family, business, and community proved a powerful inspiration for all who were blessed to know him. Revered by many, Andrew will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Born the sixth of the seven Dykema kids to John and Alice Dykema on May 7, 1930, Andrew grew up in a home centered on faith and love. His parents were farmers and raised their children in the house on 3 Mile next to the shop, where Andrew quickly learned the importance of family. Even though the family was poor, Andrew, along with his five brothers, John, Peter, Charles, Paul, and Ben, and sister, Martha, enjoyed the comforts of unfailing love and unwavering support. Resilience, resourcefulness, generosity, and faith in God and the goodness of others were daily standards and the inspiration for Andrew’s long and happy life.
As a young boy, Andrew worked picking celery at his sister’s husband’s farm. Upon completion of the 8th grade, his dad said it was time to go to work. As Andrew often said, he “graduated from the school of hard knocks.” Like many in his generation, Andrew was drafted into the Army. When he reported for duty in Lansing, he quickly learned that “a few good men” were needed by another branch of the United States military, and he was moved over into the line for the Marines Corps. During his service, Andrew was fortunate to be an instructor at Camp Lejeune, where he proudly contributed his extensive knowledge of heavy equipment mechanics.
In 1947 with an eighth-grade education and the Semper Fi mentality, Andrew founded Dykema Excavators. Armed with an excellent work ethic, the stubbornness you’d expect from a Dutchman, and the belief that a handshake agreement was as binding as a legal contract, he changed the landscape of Grand Rapids over the course of the next 70 years. Even though most of what he did ended up buried, Andrew approached each job with legendary integrity, ensuring his community was built upon a firm foundation that would last for centuries.
Andrew had the good fortune of meeting the love of his life while at the local bowling alley. Instantly smitten, Andrew and Carrol began dating and were soon making plans for their future. They married in Wallin Congregational Church in Grand Rapids, officially beginning their nearly 69-year adventure.
The newlyweds settled into married life and, in time, were blessed to welcome six children to their family. Judy, John, Jim, Joel, Jayne, and Jeff quickly became the centers of their lives. Andrew and Carrol worked together to create a loving and supportive home for their children. While his favorite phrase to say to his children was, “Go ask your mother.” Andrew worked hard to provide for his family. Despite the challenges of raising four boys and two princesses, Andrew carried his responsibilities with honor, ultimately earning their love, respect, and true admiration.
A powerful role model, Andrew loved his wife Carrol, his family, and his community with his whole being. He gifted his family with a wonderful example of a marriage rooted in love and respect, and relished witnessing his children grow into beautiful adults with lovely families of their own. He was a proud grandfather whose 20 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren (with three more on the way) were truly his heart’s delight. Andrew relished in being a grandfather, sharing smiles of joy and epic hugs as often as possible. With similar warmth and commitment, Andrew never hesitated to give of his time and talents in service of others. He was a faithful supporter of Northview Public Schools and Oakview Community Church, serving in many volunteer roles throughout the years.
Though Andrew never retired, he was wise in understanding the necessary power of restorative leisure. His favorite pastimes included golfing, fishing, and boating. He never missed a night of Jeopardy, enjoyed reading, and completed a daily Suduko puzzle. A Michigan State University football season ticket holder, he was known to watch the “Blue Team” too. Winters were spent with Carrol in the Florida Keys, where he enjoyed many friendships and time outdoors. In his final year, as his health required more support, Jeff and Jayne graciously cared for him. Their loving efforts afforded him the freedom to comfortably sit on his deck, visiting with loved ones and watching the birds, a gift their family will long treasure.
Without a doubt, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Andrew’s steadfast presence. May we find comfort in our many treasured memories and the honor of carrying his legacy forward. With each stranger we greet as a friend, moment we choose faith over fear, adventure we take with our beloved, wholehearted hug we share, and loved one’s endeavor we cheer on, we celebrate the many ways Andrew gifted our lives. In so doing, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Andrew Dykema, age 91, boldly approached the eternal throne to claim the crown through Christ, his own, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
In his peaceful passing, he was surrounded and is survived by his loving and devoted wife of almost 69 years, Carrol; and his children, Judy (Dan) Schimmel, John (Nan) Dykema, Jim (Brenda) Dykema, Joel (Dan) Dykema, Jayne Dykema, and Jeff Dykema. He is also survived by 20 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and siblings; Charles and Benjamin (Charlene) Dykema. He was predeceased by parents, John and Alice (Kuiper) Dykema; Siblings, John (Dorothy) Dykema, Peter (Ruth) Dykema, Martha (Gerrit) Holstege, Ruth and Marge Dykema, and Paul (LuAnne) Dykema; and grandson, Joshua Dykema.
The funeral service will be on Saturday, May 22, 2021, at 11:00 am. Visitation will be on Friday, May 21, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., and one hour prior to the funeral. Both will be held at Oakview Community Church, 4242 Plainfield Ave NE. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Andy’s name to Oakview Community Church or The Other Way Ministries, 710 Fulton St. W., Grand Rapids, MI 49504.
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