Riley Hoeksema

August 4, 1999 - June 19, 2016
Holland, MI



Thursday, June 23, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Christ Memorial Church
595 Graafschap Road
Holland, MI 49423


Friday, June 24, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Christ Memorial Church
595 Graafschap Road
Holland, MI 49423


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.

Holland Christian Tuition Grant Program

Life Story / Obituary


Riley Hoeksema was a generous soul whose heart was centered on helping and being there for others. Enjoying the company of his close family and good friends was what it was all about for Riley. He enriched and enlightened their lives in numerous ways with his loyal and caring nature. Riley’s talents were many, yet for Riley, seeing those around him happy meant the most to him. While some are given what seems to be a multitude of days to live, laugh, work, and play, some are taken much too soon from love’s embrace for reasons we struggle to understand. Although Riley’s days were few in comparison, his memory lives on in the hearts of a loving family, many friends, and a caring community.

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. While the tragedy at Columbine High School weighed heavily on the hearts of all in 1999, Osama bin Laden continued to be the FBI’s most wanted. Yet in 1999, as the world prepared for the new millennium, Matthew and Kelli (Bouws) Hoeksema were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first child, and on August 4, 1999, they happily welcomed Riley David into their arms. Born and raised in the lakeshore city of Holland, Michigan, young Riley was a happy boy right from the start. As the first grandchild on both sides of the family, he was given so much love and attention. He was a very content baby which was an overall quality he continued to possess. Although he crawled funny with one foot tucked in, it was always a joy to see him scooting around. Late by standards when it came to talking, he used words such as “kunckle” (uncle) Ryan, "nitney" for his aunt Kerri, and he pursed his lips together when saying the word milk.

The Hoeksema home was not complete until later when Riley was joined by his two younger siblings. His sister, Allison, came along in 2002, followed by his brother, Christian, in 2004. In his early years, many evenings found Riley and his dad playing Scooby-Doo on his PS2, and this was the start of his love for gaming. It seemed he was always goofing around with his siblings, and they loved making up funny phrases, singing along to songs, and boy could they make their voices heard! Great times were also shared with his brother wrestling in the basement, and he even taught Christian how to do a back dive off the platform in the neighborhood lake where they spend many summer days swimming.

Riley took his role as a big brother to heart, faithfully watching out for his siblings and in all ways supporting them. When Riley received his license, he acquired a Honda civic. He considered his car to be okay, but more than anything, Riley simply loved the freedom a car allowed him, often driving around with his siblings just for fun. Riley took his sister to school and she could always talk him into stopping for coffee or donuts on the way. Of course, their return trips home almost always included stopping for a dollar slushy at Taco Bell. It’s not to say they didn’t have their share of spats and family difficulties, but raised and educated in a family of faith, Riley knew well to lean on his faith.

Unlike most boys, it never mattered to Riley if he had a bike. He preferred long-boarding, and even though he had his fair share of scrapes and bruises on multiple occasions, he became quite good at it. In the earlier elementary years, the “neighborhood gang” was always welcome at Riley’s home. Jared, Nick, Cameron, and Riley spent many nights sitting around backyard campfires, having fun-filled beach parties, and playing games with their families. Many Halloween and Fourth of July festivities were enjoyed together, and they were all huge fans of MSU. Riley had been close friends with Gerrit since they were one year old and grew to share the love of gaming. Riley befriended Thomas in elementary school when Thomas was a new student. They continued to stay close and share their love for computers over the years. Levi and Riley instantly connected in middle school and he became his long boarding buddy. Levi spent many Sunday afternoon's with Riley at Riley's grandparent's home where the Bouws cousins and family would gather each Sunday. The family considered Levi the "9th Bouws grandchild".

Riley recently began getting into the League of Legends video gaming scene. While on a trip just this month to LA, he was able to watch it live, and he considered it “the best thing ever!” When it came to music, Riley liked a heavy beat. Currently, his favorite song was “Moolah” by Young Greatness or anything by OUI. Never one for fancy clothes, to Riley, anything would do. His brother, Christian said Riley did style his hair once, otherwise he wore it windswept style. Riley liked action and comedy movies. More recently, he started watching older movies with his dad and really identified with the movie, The Breakfast Club.

As the fourth generation working at the family business, Russ’ Restaurant in Holland, Riley worked enough to fill-up his gas tank and put a little change in his pocket. Even so, he came to appreciate the finer things in life, like a good, hearty steak dinner at Ruth Chris, laying his eyes on a beautiful Porsche or a Bugatti, and setting his sights on a custom built computer. However, Riley was very down to earth and quite simplistic. He never asked for much, and he was a hard worker. His favorite meal was a Wendy’s Baconator, no fries, and water, and if it wasn’t a steak at Ruth Chris, Riley was just as content with his Baconator. He also had a sweet tooth like his Dad and loved his candy. When unloading the laundry, it was not uncommon to find candy wrappers in the dryer left from Riley’s pockets.

Riley was talented in numerous ways and he excelled in his studies. He deemed tennis as his first love and played doubles on the JV team at Holland Christian. Even though he liked being part of a team, Riley just simply loved playing tennis, and he did so often with his mom or dad. In addition, Riley also swam for Holland Christian. During his last race of his freshman year, he earned his varsity letter which motivated him to make state his sophomore year. Although he finished short, he was inspired and determined to make it as a junior this year. Riley was a very supportive teammate, although interestingly, he wasn’t all that competitive. Snowboarding at Crystal Mountain was one of his favorite winter pastimes and he had hopes of doing so out west one day. Riley was also actively involved with the Watershed Youth Group which was a high priority for Gerrit and Riley every Monday night. Growing in his faith was important to Riley.

Along with his brother, memorable times fishing near their home in their little paddle boat on Silver Ridge Lake created loads of fun for the twosome. They’d gear-up at Mac Bait, the local fishing store that knew him by name, and cast spoons hoping for that big Pike or Bass. Along with family, Riley also experienced memorable trips fishing in Florida. On one trip, Riley was fiercely fighting a fish, exclaiming, “I’m sure it’s a shark” . . . it indeed was, albeit only two feet in length! Traveling with his mom and siblings made for great times recently on trips to California, New York City, and to Kentucky. He also spent many spring vacations in Florida and summer weekends in upper Michigan with the Bouws cousins and relatives creating lasting memories. Riley went to many MSU football games with his dad, as well as his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. One of Riley’s goals was to travel the country with his dad and siblings to visit all 30 MLB stadiums. They made it to about 15, mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Just recently, Riley became interested in European soccer. He didn’t have a favorite team, and so true to Riley’s nature, he liked them all.

Truly one of a kind, Riley was a friend of many. With his loyal and caring nature, he was someone with whom others could depend. Most importantly, Riley cared for others. A real people pleaser, if someone near him was happy, then Riley was happy. For those who knew and loved him best, Riley will be deeply missed and remembered for all he was and all that he shared in his brief lifetime. For these things and more, the memory of Riley will continue on forevermore.

Riley David Hoeksema, 16, of Holland went home to his Heavenly Savior on Sunday, June 19, 2016, after a boating accident on Lake Michigan. Riley is survived by his parents; stepmother, Lynn Hoeksema; his sister, Allison; brother, Christian and stepbrother, Benjamin Sluiter. He also leaves his grandparents, Bryan and Cathy Bouws, Walter and Janice Hoeksema along with aunts and uncles, Chris and Gina Bouws, Ryan and Kerri (Bouws) deVries, Erik and Jennifer (Hoeksema) Cliff. Riley had seven dearly loved cousins, Caden and Amelia Bouws, Emma, Lillian and Charlie deVries, and Wyatt and Ryder Cliff. Visitation with Riley’s family will take place on Thursday, June 23, 2016, 5-8 pm at Christ Memorial Church, 595 Graafschap Rd. in Holland. The funeral will be held on Friday, June 24, 2016, 11:00 am with lunch to follow also at Christ Memorial Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Riley’s memory may be made to the Holland Christian Tuition Grant Program. To share a favorite memory and photo of Riley and to sign his online guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.