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Life Story / Obituary
Ever kind and a well liked fellow by those who knew him, Dan Hibma was an all-around type of guy who got along with everyone. Family meant everything to him, and when it came to family and friends, Dan was someone with whom others could depend. He would help someone in need no matter the task. Dan was a hard working man who knew how to hold his own. He always did what needed to be done, and put in the extra effort, and then some. He was dedicated in all he did, and nothing was beneath him. It was easy to love and admire Dan for all he was, and more. Deeply missed, he will be fondly remembered.
The decade of the 1960s was a time of mixed blessings in the nation. By 1961, America entered the space race, sending one of the first men into space at the urging of newly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy. The Cold War made for worrisome hearts as homemade bomb shelters sprouted up across the U.S. West Side Story made its theatrical debut, and Gunsmoke was the TV program everyone wanted to watch. Yet in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, one of the most important things on the hearts of Donald J. and Josephine Evelyn (Dailey) Hibma was the January 30, 1961 birth of their little boy, Daniel Jay Hibma.
Born and raised on the north end of Grand Rapids, Daniel was the third of eventually five children in his family. He joined his older sisters, Deborah and Diane, and later welcomed younger siblings, Donald and Lori. Times were tough for young Daniel and his family when his parents divorced when he was merely two years old. His father had worked on a crop farm, and his mother was a homemaker until she began working at a financial service company. A most memorable time was shared on a family trip to Mackinaw Island. During his teen years, Dan spent several weeks in Wayland, Michigan with his father, but most of his summers were spent at a summer camp he attended each year where he always competed in the high dive.
With the draft still in place, Dan was nearly frantic when he woke up late on his day to register for the draft. His mother woke him, and they made it to the draft board just in time. In fact, he even made it on the news program covering the event. Dan attended the area schools and after high school he took a job at a tool and die shop. He later began working for Erb Lumber. In time he landed a job at 84 Lumber and with this experience under his belt, he moved on to Caledonia Lumber. The Caledonia Farmers Elevator Company was next door to the lumberyard, and before long Dan put in for a job there where he went on to work for the past 20 years. At the elevator company, Dan was a devoted, hard working employee who rarely took time off. He ran orders, did shipping and receiving, cleaned the elevator bins, and simply anything that needed to be done. Dan could be counted on to do a thorough job, and he was always willing to work extra if needed.
Dan loved playing darts and especially horseshoes where he even competed in several tournaments. He got into reading his mother’s mystery novels, and often did the word search from the newspaper. Without fail, he always read the sports section, especially to keep up on the state of his favorite football player. He loved spending his down time watching Hee Haw on TV, as well as police shows and re-runs of the Dean Martin Show. He loved going to his hangout, a local Family Tavern in Caledonia where everyone knew not only his name, but his beer of choice . . . a nice, cold “Bud”. Sometimes he visited Braan’s Restaurant on 44th Street.
Saying Dan was an avid Michigan Wolverine’s football fan would surely be an understatement! Dan had a large collection of his favorite team’s paraphernalia. Over the years he made many visits to the Big House in Ann Arbor to see Michigan play. Dan loved classic rock, especially Bob Seger and music from the 70’s, 80’s, and a little country, too. Attending live concerts was something he also loved, and just last week he attended the WHO concert at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
Cooking was right up Dan’s alley. He was a very good cook, and was famous for his homemade meatballs made with grape jelly and coke. A family favorite, he always brought them to family get-togethers and for the holidays. Dan loved his family and so enjoyed getting together with them. All of his nieces and nephews loved riding on his custom, U of M golf cart! Dan’s mother held a special place in his heart. He was always there to help her whenever she needed something done, like refinishing her kitchen cupboards. True to his nature, Dan was always willing to lend a hand whenever help was needed. Although he wasn’t the world traveler type, Dan did take a few trips to Las Vegas when he lived in Arizona for a time.
Although Dan never married, he did find love in the heart of Cindy Weaver. They met in 2005, began dating and fell deeply in love. Dan became quite close to Cindy’s four children, John, Betsy, Amy, and Geri. When Cindy died of cancer several years ago, Dan was sure to keep in touch with her kids whom he came to love as his own.
Dan was at work on Saturday when he sadly died in a terrible work related accident. Discovered by another employee, Dan’s sudden death has no less left an empty void in the lives of those who knew and loved him. Often described as sweet, caring, and helpful, Dan was dedicated to his work, family, and would not have wanted it any other way. Gone yet never to be forgotten, Dan will be forever missed.
Daniel J. Hibma, aged 56 of Caledonia, passed away very unexpectedly on Saturday, July 29, 2017. He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Hibma, his step-father, Mitchel Stone and his longtime companion, Cindy Weaver. He is survived by his mother, Josephine Stone; his sisters and brother, Deborah (Gary) Hull, Diane Hibma, Donald (Becky) Hibma Jr., and Lori Hibma; his step brother and sisters, Michael (Michelle) Stone, Michelle Stone, Vanessa (Josh) O’Campo; Cindy’s children, John, Betsy, Amy and Geri; nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins, and many friends. Daniel worked for Caledonia Elevator for over 20 years. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A service to celebrate Dan’s life will be held on Thursday August 3 at 11:00 am at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 1833 Plainfield NE. Burial in Meyers Cemetery, Sparta, MI. Friends and relatives may meet his family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm, and again on Thursday from 10 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. To read more about Dan’s life, to sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com.