Mr. Richard “Rich” Allen VanAntwerp, age 60, passed away December 5, 2021, after a well-fought, five-year battle with stage 4 colon cancer that moved to the liver. It was cancer, not Covid, that caused him to pass. He was a Christian, often prayed and was raised in the Catholic faith.
He was preceded in death by his father, Frederick “Ted” Dean VanAntwerp; his father-in-law, Thomas Costello of Florida; his mother-in-law, Emily Costello of Florida; an uncle, Richard Secord; and an aunt, Judy Vandervate of Hamilton, Michigan; as well as both maternal and paternal grandparents.
Rich worked at Springhill Suites by Marriott near the airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a Houseman/Public Service Attendant for fifteen years. He even returned to work in early May of 2021 to work until October 10 of 2021, when the cancer took hold. His first job was working for the family-owned Embassy Restaurant in Saugatuck, Michigan, as a Kitchen Manager/Cook/Bartender for seventeen years.
Rich is survived by his wife, Barbara “Barb” VanAntwerp; his mother, Rita VanAntwerp of Grand Rapids; a brother, Theodore “Ted” VanAntwerp of Grand Rapids; brothers-in-law, John Lach of Grand Rapids, and Daniel Costello of Acworth, Georgia; a sister-in-law, Karen R. Lach of Grand Rapids; a nephew, Brian Lach of Chicago, Illinois; and one niece, Kristen Lach of Grand Rapids; an uncle and aunt, James and Lorraine Jerkatis of Colorado; an aunt, Janie Secord of Grand Rapids; an aunt Christine Budnick of Waxmaw, North Carolina; many cousins, second cousins, a best friend, John Schultz, as well as many friends, co-workers and guests at the hotel. Our family wishes to thank the Oncology Center at Metro Hospital, especially Dr. Zakem and his staff, and all the nurses and workers at Metro Hospital when he was in the ER and in the hospital the last few days.
Rich was a genuine, caring, quiet person who rarely complained. He loved his family, relatives, and friends. He graduated from Forest Hills Northern High School. He loved country music, especially Garth Brooks, Polish food, Polish halls, dogs (especially his rescue dog, Honey, who recently passed), horses, and swimming.
It was Rich’s wish to be cremated. Due to Covid, no formal services are being held. Rich hopes you find a way to celebrate his life, remember the good times, and once Covid is over, celebrate a meal with family or friends as a way to remember him. Anyone wishing to donate can please consider Forest Hills Northern High School, 3801 Leonard St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525, or the Humane Society of West Michigan, 3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534 or the charity of your choice.