Life Story / Obituary
It was a blessing to have known and loved Jordan Blaauw. An exuberant young man, he expelled warmth and care to everyone with ways all his own. Jordan was passionate about many things, and once he put his mind to something, there was no stopping him. He saw the beauty in the smallest details of life as well as the people and world around him. And through his exceptional insight, he was able to place his awareness to pen and paper, and music. Although gone from sight, Jordan leaves a loving legacy that will remain in the hearts of those he leaves behind.
The decade of the 1990s was indeed a turning point in the U.S. Technological advances were being realized in every facet of everyday life from the confines of offices to the toys children played with. Yet on a typical, Michigan summer’s day, the hearts of Wendy Carroll and Jason Blaauw were filled with joy as they welcomed the birth of their little boy, Jordan Christopher Blaauw into their arms on Monday, August 21, 1995. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan at Butterworth Hospital, Jordan came into the world weighing a whopping 10 pounds, 6 ounces. A wonderful bundle of joy, Jordan added much to the lives of his family.
From his earliest beginnings, he was a very precocious boy. Jordan’s learning level, grasp of things and milestones came early and easy for him. A self proclaimed "boob man", Jordan was two when his uncles apparently taught him the word, “Hooters.” It wasn't long after when on one occasion, a young lady was running down the sidewalk and Jordan yelled, “Oh Hooters!” His Aunt Catie always got extra close hugs while he serenaded his Aunt Debbie by guitar. Quite a smart boy, he began reading at the age of four, and before long he was reading encyclopedias, memorizing every country’s flag throughout the world! As a youngster, Jordan was also obsessed with snakes. He loved visiting his Aunt Margaret because she allowed him to print off countless images of snakes on her printer. During his youth he was very much into Harry Potter and Yu-Gi-OH!, a trading card game.
The Blaauw family made their home in Sparta where Jordan attended Oakfield Baptist School. The school was so good for Jordan’s accelerated learning level. When the school eventually closed, he went on to attend the area schools before being enrolled at CTA, a charter school. As a youngster he also welcomed he birth of his little brother, Jason. When Jordan’s parents divorced, he and young Jason moved to Grand Rapids with their mother. There Jordan attended Grand Rapids Christian High School before graduating from City High in 2013. It was during this time in Jordan’s life when at the age of 15, he was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, in which symptoms are a combination of schizophrenia and mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. When Jordan's symptoms came on, they sometimes occurred simultaneously or at different times. Jordan also struggled with addiction, and both diseases clearly stole his happiness. Prior to these struggles, Jordan had aspirations of becoming a doctor rather than his childhood dream of wanting to be a snake handler.
When Jordan’s mother married John Botts, he acquired an older brother, Gershom with whom he loved sharing clothes with. He eventually welcomed younger, additional siblings with Elaina on his mom's side, and Noah, Isaiah, Ryan and Ali on his dad's side. Jordan was infamous for eating his little sister’s candy and blaming it on his brothers. He regularly took his little sister, Elaina out on special dates. Whether it was going to the library, out for ice cream or to the movies, it always proved to be a great time doing whatever she wanted. Jordan absolutely adored Elaina from the moment she was born and she was clearly the love of Jordan’s life. He also had a small, close knit group of friends, most notably, Adam Legwater and Matt Morales. A man with style, Jordan was a slick dresser and he had the most beautiful, baby blue eyes which no less helped him do well with the ladies! He liked dating, and for a few years in his teens he was serious with his girlfriend, Cassie.
Jordan and his family always enjoyed times spent at their cottage on Lake Michigan between Holland and Grand haven. On one calm summer night, he and his good friend, Matt were asked to play some music after dinner. They were glad to do so, and after finishing, one could hear clapping coming from the area homes as the sound had carried and the entire neighborhood was able to enjoy their performance. These times at the cottage were always a peaceful place for Jordan where he took long walks, did a good amount of reading and gained inspiration. A voracious reader, Jordan was an example and impressed many with the difficult things he read.
When it came to driving, Jordan was a terrible driver, yet a master at parallel parking. Directionally challenged, he had poor awareness of his surrounding and caused several accidents. He’d back into parked cars, and his usual response was, “Eww, my bad!” And he wasn’t much better on his bike while waiting for his car to be repaired. As a matter of fact, Jordan was actually hit three times on his bike for not paying attention. When asked if he called the police, he said no, “but I really yelled at her!” His favorite car was his “BU”, a Chevy Malibu for which he placed Andre the Giant stickers on and inspired by Shepard Fairey. Jordan possessed an uncanny sense of humor and loved playing pranks on family and friends alike. His nickname was “fingers” because he had a habit of drawing three fingers through things such as food, drywall compound, sand, or whatever was available.
Having developed a passion for the culinary arts, Jordan went to school for several years to learn more. He worked as a chef at McFadden’s and Black Heron, and his preferred style of food by all accounts was Indian cuisine. A bit of a cheese snob, Jordan also had an expensive Boar’s head lunch meat habit. He was extremely passionate when claiming cooking was indeed an art, and he had high demands for food. One time when asked if he wanted anything from the grocery store, Jordan’s reply was, “A rack of lamb and some tuna steaks?” He drank ridiculous amounts of milk that went right along with his big sweet tooth. Memorable times were always shared with his mom for midnight runs to Martha’s Vineyard or the Grand Coney for peanut butter or chocolate chip milkshakes and chili cheese fries.
Music was a great escape for Jordan. He loved and appreciated music, especially the sounds of jazz. He played the sax and guitar in a band which he enjoyed, and sometimes he even went solo on a street corner. His interest in the guitar was peaked by playing Guitar Hero rather than as a game, and his mom encouraged him to play the real thing. Jordan also wrote a lot of music and poetry which offered him peace from his struggles. Hospitalized many times for his mental illness, this time gave him endless opportunities to read and write poetry of which he was attempting to get published. Most recently, Jordan was writing a plethora of music, many times into the night. He eventually had to move his room in the basement so he wouldn’t keep everyone awake.
Jordan Blaauw had a tender heart that saw the good in things. The beauty around him was an inspiration, and he was sensitive to the needs of others and insightful to his own. His passions were wide and varied from cooking to music to environmental issues to his views on politics. Jordan’s heart was very open to the world and people around him. With many years ahead of him, Jordan’s life was abruptly taken. There was no time for goodbyes, or words of comfort, yet solace can be found in the numerous memories he leaves behind for those who loved him and knew him best.
Jordan C. Blaauw, age 21, of Grand Rapids, passed away unexpectedly at home on April 17, 2017. He was preceded in death by his grandparents: Sue Thomas, Reb Carroll and Noreen Botts. Jordan is survived by his parents: Wendy and John Botts, and Jason and Melissa Blaauw; siblings: Gershom, Jason, Noah, Elaina, Isaiah, Ryan, and Ali; grandparents: Jim and Judy Botts, Pete and Laura Carroll, Chuck Thomas, and Chuck Blaauw. Also surviving are his aunts and uncles: Tracy and Ken Collison, Stephen and Tina Hartzell, Heather and Wes Godleski, Kelly and Jeremy Amshey, Janee and Steve Austin, Aaron and Annay Thomas, Josh and Ashley Blaauw, John and Jennifer Howland, Earl and Desi Carroll, Crystal and Kyle Willard, Amanda Casey, and Peter Carroll; great aunt, Margaret Blaauw; numerous great-aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. Visit with Jordan’s family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 2-5 PM at the Waldron Public House, 58 Ionia SW. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Grand Rapids Park and Recreation Department – Wilcox Park or to the Kent County Animal Shelter. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a memory or photo of Jordan and to sign his guestbook online. Jordan’s family is being served by Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes – Grand Rapids.