Monday, June 30, 2014
2:00 PM EDT
Blythefield Country Club
5801 Northland Drive
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.
American Heart Association
3816 Paysphere Circle
Chicago, IL 60674
Rockford Rotary Foundation Strive Program
P.O. Box 492
Rockford, MI 49341
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Sometimes a man's worth can only be felt with the heart, and is derived from the opportunity and privilege of truly getting to know him. For all who came to love and know Rick Ehinger, they found him to be a man of great character and integrity. Larger than life, he had a profound affect on those around him. He loved life, and knew how to make the most of each day. It was also a blessing to be called his friend, because Rick never met a stranger. He was the consummate gentleman as he held those in his company in the highest regard. Although skilled and quite accomplished, Rick's heart belonged to his family whom he cherished above all. Deeply missed, Rick leaves numerous memories which are a treasure to those he leaves behind.
The year 1960 ushered in an entirely new way of thinking within the culture of America. The Vietnam War was at the forefront of politics, headlines, heartache and peace movements while racial tensions soared. Young people made their voices heard through demonstrations, and it seemed as if an age of innocence was being lost to the threat of nuclear war. Despite looming problems the world over, many found reprieve in the form of drive-in theaters, music of the day, and beloved television shows. In the midst of these changing times, there was one thing on the hearts of William "Bill" and Patricia "Trisha" (Linder) Ehinger of Rockford, Michigan and it was the October 23, 1960 birth of their son, Eric Douglas "Rick" Ehinger.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rick grew up in his family home in Rockford, Michigan. He had two siblings, Carla and Kurt, and his neighborhood on Natchez Court provided Rick with numerous childhood adventures playing ball and swimming in the neighborhood pool. His father worked in cabinetry sales while his mother was a preschool and kindergarten teacher along with being a homemaker. Fond memories of family gatherings during the holidays and other occasions were enjoyed by all. They often traveled to Traverse City and Huntington, Indiana to visit extended family which Rick always loved as a boy. His family was faithful members of First Congregational Church along with several others churches over the years which help mold Rick into becoming a Christian man of devoted faith.
Having received his early education at Parkside Elementary School, Rick went on to attend Rockford High School where he was involved in band, played baseball, football and basketball. He was also an accomplished member of the wrestling and golf teams, but no matter what Rick set his mind to, he excelled. When it came to sports, a few of Rick's significant moments included being selected for the Mid Michigan Olympic Baseball Team, and from an early age, becoming a member of the junior golf league at Blythefield Country Club. Rick had high aspirations for the future, and after graduating, the sky was the limit.
Before long, a young woman came to hold Rick's heart. Michelle worked at the Cascade Meijer Store, and her boss, Bill Shupe happened to be one of Rick's best friends. Bill was responsible for connecting Rick and Michelle, and their relationship blossomed. As they dated, some of their best times together included Rick's romantic ways, road trips to concerts and Rick teaching Michelle the game of golf. There was so much to love about Rick, and after two and a half years dating, Michelle accepted Rick's proposal of marriage. After getting married at Rick's church in Rockford, they honeymooned in Tarpon Springs, Florida. And after settling into married life, they purchased a home in Rockford where they remained for nearly 25 years.
Rick supported his new bride working with Grabill Kitchens and Interiors while Michelle worked part-time until their first child, Doug was born 1989. They were also blessed with the arrival of another son, Parker in 1992. Always the hard worker, Rick strived to provide a good life for his family. He worked hard so Michelle could remain at home and set a good foundation for their family. With skill and a good business sense, Rick eventually went into business with his dad, enjoying a thriving cabinetry company. A true leader, Rick was involved in his community. He served for two terms as president of the Rockford Rotary Club and as the Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 6290.
Throughout his life, Rick made many friends and those close to him often referred to him as, "Bubba". He was loyal to the core, and everyone loved his great jokes and expansive list of stories. It always proved to be a good time whenever Rick was around. He continued his love of golf, and often played with friends and business associates. Over the years he dabbled in photography and enjoyed going to sporting events. He also had a love for travel. Among others, some of his most memorable times were spent enjoying vacations to Tarpon Springs and Disneyworld, Florida, Chicago, Illinois, Hawaii, Arizona and California's Napa Valley. He also loved trips to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Germany, Brazil, and Toronto, Canada.
To say that Rick had a passion for music was an understatement. Whether in the car, at home, or on his boat, Rick filled the air with music. He loved going to concerts, and frequently traveled around the state to hear some of his favorite bands and ensembles. He preferred the genres of jazz, blues and rock and roll, especially when enjoyed at outdoor concerts and jazz clubs.
When it came to food, Rick was a great cook. He enjoyed making big, weekend breakfasts, and grilling out. He appreciated a good steak, and liked German cuisine, too. A few of his most prized possessions included a shotgun he received from his father, a signed Phillies baseball, and a large Beatles album collection, not to mention his golf clubs. In his free time, Rick read books on history, sports related topics, and his favorite author was John Grisham. He had the greatest compassion for those less fortunate and was always burdened and saddened by the need of so many.
Like a kid at heart, Rick had a playful side which always brought warmth and laughter. It was in his nature to be a loving and generous man with unending patience. Loyal to his family and friends, Rick was very protective of those that meant so much to him. More than anything, Rick's commitment as a dedicated and devoted family man was an example for all. Gone but never to be forgotten, the spirit of Rick lives on as he is deeply loved and dearly missed.
At the age of 53, Eric D. "Rick" Ehinger, of Rockford passed away Friday, June 20, 2014. He was preceded in death by his parents. Eric is survived by his children, Douglas and Parker Ehinger, and their mother, Michelle Ehinger; his brother, Kurt Ehinger; sister, Carla Laylin; several nieces, nephews and many friends. A service to celebrate Eric’s life will be held at Blythefield Country Club, 5801 Northland Drive, Belmont, MI 49306 on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM. Relatives and friends may meet with his family on Sunday, June 29 at Heritage Life Story Home-Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW from 2-4 and 6-8 PM. Contributions in Eric’s memory to the American Heart Association or the Rockford Rotary Foundation are appreciated. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo on Rick and to sign his online guestbook.