Ralph Van Ryn

August 24, 1926 - April 8, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, April 22, 2016
2:00 PM EDT
Rest Haven Homes
1424 Union NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505


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.

Rest Haven Homes
1424 Union NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Web Site


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
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Life Story / Obituary


With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Ralph Van Ryn lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near to his heart.

It was great to be an American during the prosperous and colorful 1920s, but Henry and Helen (Wunsch) Van Ryn were also excited to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Ralph H. during this time. Born on August 24, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he was raised on the family farm in Tallmadge alongside his brother, Frank, during his younger years. When he was a bit older Ralph’s family moved to the Northeast side of Grand Rapids, which was nice for him since he enjoyed having friends to play with. He attended local schools including Central High School. Ralph primarily focused on his studies, but he did play one year of football as well.

After graduating from high school in 1944, Ralph was drafted into the United States Army. These were the days of WWII, and he spent a brief time serving in Italy. With the war’s end in 1945, Ralph was sent to Colorado where he finished out his time in the military by doing clerical work.

New and exciting changes were in store for Ralph when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Helen, and they met at church. After dating for a time and falling in love, the sweethearts were married in July of 1952. After a honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies, they returned home and lived on the Southeast side of Grand Rapids. He made a career as an accountant at Country Fresh Dairy for over 40 years before retiring. Ralph truly enjoyed his time there, which he attributed to having a great boss.

Faith was a cornerstone in Ralph’s life, and he accepted the Lord as his Savior when he was just 16. His family attended Eastern Avenue Gospel Hall and later Northwest Gospel Hall. When he was in his early twenties, Ralph began speaking at church, which was something he felt comfortable with since his father was a preacher. As time went by he spoke not only at church but also ministered to many people. Ralph once said that like the well-known hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” God had always been faithful in his life.

Later in life Ralph experienced both peaks and valleys along his journey. His wife died in 1999, and for the last few years of his life he lived at Rest Haven Homes.

A dear man to many, Ralph Van Ryn will be deeply missed.

Ralph H. Van Ryn, age 89, entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on April 8, 2016. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen Helmer. Ralph is survived by his sisters-in-law and brother-in-law Dorothy Helmer, Bob and Margaret Cowan as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. He served in the Army during World War II and then worked as an accountant for Country Fresh Dairy for over 40 years. He accepted the Lord at age 16 and was involved with Northwest Gospel Hall for many years. The memorial service for Ralph will be held on Friday, April 22 at 2 PM at Rest Haven Homes, 1424 Union NE. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Rest Haven Homes are appreciated. To read more about his life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com