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Gary Jay VanHeukelum

Gary Jay VanHeukelum
/ Categories: Obituary

Gary Jay VanHeukelum

November 2, 2017

Service Details

The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6th, 2017 at Hohner Funeral Home.

Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7th, 2017 at the First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Brenda Deily officiating.  Family will receive friends at church one hour prior.         


Obituary Notice

Mr. Gary Jay VanHeukelum, age 83, of Three Rivers, passed away suddenly at his home on Nov. 2nd, 2017.  Gary was born on June 1, 1934 in Hudsonville, MI., the son of the late Louis and Johanna (Vruggink) VanHeukelum.

Gary graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1952 and later from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree.  On Nov. 24th 1953 Gary was united in marriage to Mrs. Phyllis (Eshuis) VanHeukelum.  Gary taught school for several years at Battle Creek Central and in 1959 he and Phyllis moved their family to Three Rivers where they have resided at Corey Lake.  Gary owned and operated Gary Ford Motors and later worked in sales for Boeschenstein Motors until his retirement.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother and sister-in-law, Melvin and Margaret VanHeukelum.

He leaves to cherish his loving memory, his wife of 63 years, Phyllis VanHeukelum; one daughter, Rebecca (Mike) Karle; two sons, Phillip (Gayle) and Eric (Terry) VanHeukelum, all of Three Rivers; one sister, Beatrice “Bea” (Julius) Hoveman, of Zeeland, MI.; one brother, Grant (Becky) VanHeukelum, of Gobles, MI.; nine beloved grandchildren, Allison VanHeukelum, Bobbi Jo (Kevin) Newland, Travis (Carrie) VanHeukelum, Sara VanHeukelum, Magen (Eli) McNutt, and Grant Karle; five adored great-grandchildren, Dillyn VanHeukelum, Leah and Kennedy Newland, Mason VanHeukelum, and Wade McNutt. Many nieces and nephews and friends.



Memorials may be donated to the First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers, MI.  Envelopes available at the funeral Home.  Online condolences may be left at

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21 comments on article "Gary Jay VanHeukelum"

Fred and Rhonda

Fred and I are so sorry to fest this. Remember the good times always!!

Pam and Tim Roush

So sad to hear of the death of your beloved father and Phyllis of your husband. You were so kind to our Mom over the years. Your friendship and compassion were always so appreciated. Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Pam and Tim Roush

Please know that our thought and prayers are with you at this time. The kindness and compassion that your parents have towards others is very inspiring. They were always so kind to Mom when she needed friends and companionship. Know that if you need anything we are here.

Joan Skinner

So sorry for your loss .

John and Mary McNutt

He loved. He respected. He enjoyed.

John Skillman

Gary was a wonderful man ... soft-spoken and caring. He always was helping somebody with he great handyman skills, and suxh fun to be with! He was one of the "Pups" at South Shore Resort in Florida, and we all loved him. He will REALLY be missed. !!

Sam and Nadine McAllister

We will miss our dear friend, Gary, and will always remember his great smile and abundant laughter. We are blessed to have known him. Our prayers and love to the entire family.

Kelly Wiseman

I’ll always remember Gary’s gentle spirit and long friendship and adventures with our Corey Lake family. Extending love and prayer at this time and always

Jeff Romig

Harriett and I are saddened to hear of Gary’s passing and our thoughts and Prayers are with Phyllis, Phil, Eric, Rebecca and their families.

I have very fond memories of Gary and the friendships developed with Phil, Eric and Rebecca while working at the Ford dealership when I was in college. Gary was a kind man and I always considered him a mentor. I still have and cherish the letter of recommendation he gave me in 1981, that helped me get my job at Ford right after college.

Remembering now so many fun times at Corey Lake with the Vanheukelums and the friendships that resulted.

Rest In Peace.

Gary & Mary McClain

So saddened to hear of his passing our prayers are for his family he will be missed. Such fond memories of working for him at the Ford Garage. At the Centreville fair he always had a smile and a warm greeting for everyone sad loss for all who knew him ❤️

Cynthia Markle

Pam and Tim - Our sincere condolences to you on this sad occasion. Prayers coming your way from us, Sharon and Debby.

Linda Buckhold Burdick

So very sorry to hear of the passing of Mr Vanheukelum. My thoughts and prayers are with Phyllis, Phil, Eric, Becky and their families. My heart is saddened by your loss. Hold tight to the many memories you have and feel blessed to know that your husband/father was a kind and well respected man. May The Lord comfort all of you during this difficult time.

Bobbie Flatland

Sorry to hear of your loss, Phyllis. With love, Bobbie Flatland

Jenny and Bryan Taffee

We are so very thankful for the love and friendship Gary and Phyllis have always exhibited. I adored this man and am so very sad for the family. We love you all and have great memories. I am comforted knowing he and dad were high-fivin’ on Thursday.

Dick and Sally Elliott

Dear Phyllis and family,

We were so very, very sorry to hear about Gary. He was so special and we loved him very much. He will certainly be missed.

May a God give you strength, comfort and. peace during this difficult time.

Our love and prayers to all,

Dick and Sally Elliott

Gary and Elaine Prine

Eric, Terri and family. We are so sorry for your loss. Our thought go out to you. Lots of love, Elaine

Frank & Pam Tibbitts

So sorry for your loss, but Becky we`re sure he was a proud father to have a family like yours! Hope the good memories soon take away the majority of the grief and you can smile inside as you remember the wonderful dad u had! And in that he'll always be with you all!

Leo and Susie Hughes

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire VanHeukelum family. Gary always had a smile on his face and was a friend to everyone. I had the honor of first knowing him as my dad’s dear friend and co-worker. Then I came to know him as the father of my high school buddy, Eric. I also had the pleasure of working with Gary when I was the Ford Motor Company Field Representative for Parts and Service Operations. Gary was an awesome individual and will be greatly missed.

Kathy Vogel

My heart goes out to all of you at this time. May Gary rest in peace knowing how many lives he touched.

Karen Bonebright Soule

Sorry I can not attend the funeral. Please know that your family is my thoughts today. Sending my sympathies as well as strength and hugs to you all.

Chris Karle

We were so sorry to hear the news. Mary Ann and I love how welcoming Gary and Phyllis have been over the years when our family visits them at the lake. I enjoyed many conversations with Gary and will truly miss him. It was obvious to me from the first time I met him that he was a very special husband, father and man.

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