Eric Holmgren

November 16, 1952 - October 30, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Thursday, November 3, 2016
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613
Driving Directions

Friday, November 4, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
West Cannon Baptist Church


Friday, November 4, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
West Cannon Baptist Church
5760 Cannonsburg Road NE
Belmont, MI 49306


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.

West Cannon Baptist Church
5760 Cannonsburg Road NE
Belmont, MI 49306


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Eric Holmgren was a man of profound faith. He spent his lifetime growing in his relationship with God and was never afraid to share the Gospel with others. Whether he was working on a sermon or reading books on theology, he committed his life to passionately learning about his Lord and Savior and perfecting his relationships with others. If he had wronged someone in his past, Eric earnestly and sincerely discerned a way to make it right again and was by nature a forgiving person. Eric’s loving ways as a husband, a father, and a minister will be deeply missed.

Despite the war in Korea, by 1952 Americans considered themselves to be prospering. The average worker was earning $3,400 per year, three out of five families owned a car, and more than half of families owned a television in their home. That same year, Albert and Doris (Dosh) Holmgren welcomed home with first born son, Eric Paul in Flint, Michigan on November 16.

Growing up mainly in Davison where he attended local schools, Eric was a good kid. He enjoyed playing outside with neighborhood friends often playing pickup basketball or enjoying nature. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping. About once each year, he would spend a week or more with his family at their cabin in Blind River, Ontario. A strong athlete, Eric ran track and played football during his high school years. He once held the record for the 440 yard dash for several years even after graduating from Davison High School with the Class of 1971. After graduation, he attended Mott Community College before transferring to Central Michigan University where he earned a degree in business. Although he had accepted Christ at the tender age of twelve, his freedoms in school led him to make decisions not consistent with his growing faith. It was after this realization, that he took his life down a different path. He started reading his Bible and made a commitment to finding a church home. After college, he was eager to see the world and had a strong desire to see Montana. A natural achiever, it was no surprise that Eric did just that! He lived there for about six months while working at a gas station. Returning to Michigan, Eric started working with a plastics company which included traveling to set up displays. Although this work was enjoyable, Eric felt called to ministry. The Word of Life Bible Institute in the Adirondack Mountains became the setting for his first steps toward becoming a minister. While he was attending there, along with his brother, he met Beth Rennie who would change the course of his life forever. He was subtle in his pursuit often finding ways to stop by her office. He would often offer up his help to her and when he eagerly took up vacuuming one day, Beth knew he was definitely interested in her! Later when he returned to Michigan, their long distance courtship continued mostly by telephone and mail. Excited to start their new life together, they married on August 9, 1980 in Perry, New York and honeymooned at Niagara Falls and Ontario.

Settling down together, they spent several years working in campus ministry at Central Michigan University. Still yearning to be a minister of a church, they moved their growing family to Westland, Michigan so Eric could attend Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. After graduating with his Masters in Divinity in 1990, his first church was Calvary Baptist Church in West Branch. He would then go on to pastor the First Baptist Church in Cass City for nine years where it was first noticed that he was showing signs of Parkinson's Disease. Eric continued his ministry, serving short term positions as an interim pastor. Unfortunately, as the Parkinson's progressed, he lacked the energy and the ease of speaking to be able to continue. Seeing the need to be closer to their sons, he and Beth moved to Grand Rapids where he found a temporary job with Amway loading trucks.

As a father, Eric was both encouraging and supportive. He took great interest in his sons’ various activities while they were growing up. He modeled strong values and by honestly sharing his own shortcomings, he instilled in them a great sense of nobility. Sharing his love of nature, he took the boys hunting and fishing. Although he wasn’t an expert at either one, it was the quality of the time that he spent with them that mattered. Eric loved to take his family on many wonderful and memorable trips over the years. Often they would head to visit Beth’s family in New York. He and Beth also enjoyed a wonderful train trip to Canada as well as spent time together vacationing in Florida.

For many years, much of Eric's social life revolved around church activities. While in West Branch, he enjoyed going for long walks with their dog, sometimes five miles. In the last five years, Eric loved spending time with his grandchildren, playing on the floor or tossing a ball with them. As much as he loved his role as a father, being a grandfather far exceeded his expectations. He had a sweet tooth and couldn't resist a cookie or piece of pie when offered to him. More than sweets, he enjoyed listening to and singing the traditional hymns of his faith. Eric faithfully read his Bible and prayed for those in need. He leaves behind a rich legacy of ministry and compassion as well as wonderful memories for those who knew him.

Eric P. Holmgren, age 63 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on October 30, 2016. Eric's greatest desire was to preach the Gospel through his ministry and his life. He served in several churches as Pastor and Assistant Pastor including Calvary Baptist Church in West Branch, First Baptist Church in Cass City, Berean Baptist Church in Belleville; Tuscola Community Church and Millington Baptist Church. He is survived by wife, Beth; his sons and daughters-in-law (and grandchildren) Chad & Sarah (Seth, Aubrey and Alyssa), Ryan & Jessica (Easton), and Craig Holmgren; brother, Timothy & Teresa Holmgren; sister Theresa Garrow; mother-in-law Marilyn Rennie; and several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Eric was preceded in death by his parents Albert and Doris Holmgren; brother-in-law Tim Garrow; and father-in-law Matthew Rennie. A service to celebrate Eric's life will be held on Friday, November 4 at 11 AM at West Cannon Baptist Church, 5760 Cannonsburg Road. Friends and family are invited to gather on Thursday from 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE and on Friday at the church from 10 AM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to West Cannon Baptist Church are appreciated. To share a photo or memory about Eric’s life, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com