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Life Story / Obituary
One would be hard pressed to find anyone more genuine than Bob Gingrich Sr. A man of integrity, Bob knew the value of hard work and was accomplished in many ways. Most importantly, he counted his family as his greatest treasure for which he was proud. For those who knew Bob best, he will be dearly missed and fondly remembered.
The son of Wilbur and Gertrude (Weidkind) Gingrich, Robert Lee Gingrich was born on November 27, 1933. Noted as the worst year of the Great Depression, the lack of jobs and hard financial uncertainty was evident from coast to coast. Despite these times of struggle during the early years of Bob’s life, America’s thirst for entertainment was a welcome deviation from these times of turmoil.
Bob was born and raised in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up alongside his sister, Jackie. His family made their home on Bristol Avenue NW where fond family memories were made throughout the years. To support their family, Bob’s father worked as a mechanic at his father’s truck dealership, IH Gingrich Truck Service while his mother remained at home as a homemaker. During his youth, Bob attended Sibley Elementary School, and like most boys, he shared numerous adventures with neighborhood friends. With World War II well underway, much was being done on the home front for the war effort.
While in high school, Bob was a member of the football team before graduating from Union High School with the Class of 1951. Shortly thereafter he joined the U.S. Army during the Korean War, having served in the infantry for three years. Soon after the war’s thankful end, Bob met the young woman who would always have the key to his heart, Henrietta “Midge” Wiersma. The two dated for a year and deeply in love, they were happily married on March 8, 1957 at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church. The newlyweds set-up house in a small, rented apartment for the first year of their marriage, and in due time built their family home on Lanco Drive NW where they lovingly raised their three children. They welcomed the birth Robert Jr. in 1958, followed by Bill in 1961. Their little girl, Missy completed their family in 1968.
Bob worked at the Gingrich Dealership as a truck mechanic until the business closed. He then began a business of his own in 1970, RL Gingrich Truck Service that he owned and operated until his eventual retirement in 1992. It was during this time in 1973 when Bob was in his forties that he suffered a heart attack. It no less was a scary time for Bob and his family, and several years later he underwent bypass surgery.
Although work kept him busy, Bob always made time for his family. He was a wonderful provider and a dedicated family man. Their family swimming pool offered loads of great times and the boat Bob kept at a boat slip in Grand Haven provided enjoyable times boating and fishing during the months of summer. As a couple, Bob and Midge enjoyed going out often with their friends, too.
From his earliest beginnings, Bob loved the sport of small game hunting. He hunted squirrel, rabbit, pheasant and deer, both with gun and bow and continued to do so throughout his life. When it came to sports he liked watching football on TV. Bob was truly in his element when grandchildren came along. He always looked forward to seeing them and time spent with them. Celebrating the holidays and other special occasions delighted Bob and the cherished times he and Midge spent with their entire family at the cottage they rented a few times in Pentwater was simply the best.
After 25 years living on Lanko Drive NW and now with their children grown with families and lives of their own, Bob and Midge moved to a smaller home in 1993 on Tall Meadow Street NE. They remained there until two weeks ago when they moved to Vista Springs Assisted Living where both Bob and Midge could be looked after regularly. And with Bob’s health slowly declining over this past year, it could not have come at a better time. With his loving wife Midge by his side, Bob sadly died on Wednesday, October 25 2017 at 3:10 AM.
Remembered as a loving father, husband, grandfather and great-grandfather, Bob was a hard working man and a good provider. In all ways he was devoted to his family and he treasured time with them. Bob loved and appreciated the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. Although dearly missed, gone yet never to be forgotten are the wonderful memories Bob leaves behind.
Robert L. Gingrich Sr., aged 83, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Henrietta “Midge” Gingrich (Wiersma); his children, Bob (Julie) Gingrich Jr., Bill (Margaret) Gingrich, Missy (Steve) Bailey; his grandchildren, Bob (Amber), Jessalyn, John, Allison, Ashley and Courtney; his sister, Jackie (Bill) Bylenga; many nieces, nephews and friends. Robert honorably served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a longtime member of Faith United Methodist Church. A service to celebrate Robert’s life will be held on Friday, October 27, 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Entombment in Rosedale Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family at the funeral home on Friday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. Contributions in his memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice. To read more about Robert’s life, to sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, please visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com.