John Yohan Hwang



John Yohan Hwang unexpectedly went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on October 29, at the age of 44. He was a graduate of Calvin University, where he earned a BA in computer science. He devoted his time to his family, his church, and his work as an entrepreneur. His sons describe him as always cheerful, happy, and an optimist.

John is survived by his wife, Amy Hwang (née Ryou); his children, Evan, Ian, and Owen; his parents, C Kee and Eunice Hwang; and siblings, Paul, Calvin, Joseph, Grace, Sarah, and their families.

Beyond his family, John’s greatest love was the church. John channeled his passion for church and the Reformed worldview into all of his roles in life. He spearheaded the planting of Living Water Christian Reformed Church, where he served various roles. An entrepreneur and visionary at heart, John founded and led several companies, including Mutually Human, Lanio, and Public Platform.

These are but a few examples of how John lived out his love for building up people and groups. He worked tirelessly to create spaces for those who felt caught in between cultures and sought out those who were still finding their footing in life—guiding, mentoring, and encouraging them. John loved finding solutions to life’s challenges; he was hands-on in finding answers and was committed for the long term. He worked patiently, happy to be in the background. John loved music, art, and cooking and was always ready for a good theological debate with friends and especially family. We miss him dearly.

A funeral service will be held on November 3 at 10am at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. There will be a reception following the service at 12pm at the Woodlawn Ministry Center: 3190 Burton St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. A grave-side committal service will take place at 2:30pm at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery: 2894 Patterson Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512. Please join us to honor and celebrate John’s life.
A meal train to support John’s family can be found at:

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42 Responses

  1. From the moment we first met in 2009, when you introduced me to the world of coffee, to the time you helped me secure my very first internship, to those days you patiently taught me the ropes of real estate, and even just last month when we shared coffee and discussed what my future marriage plans were…

    You were an integral part of my life & taken away from this world too early.

    Rest in peace, John 형부.

  2. i just can’t believe this. i do believe God calls back those who have completed His calling, but still mourn this loss.

    miss you brother, and praying for your family. 🙁

  3. Dear Heavenly Father,
    John Hwang went to you in an unexpected way and time. As sad as we all are right now, we also rejoice in the hope we have in Christ that he is in Your good and caring hands.
    Thank you for all his love for Your Church. He was incredibly gifted and was always willing to use all his gifts for Your Kingdom. Let all the impact he made to many become glory to you.
    I also pray for Amy, Evan, Ian, and Owen. May Your love and grace be with them in this difficult time. Let them be filled with Your hope.
    In Your name I pray. Amen.

  4. John you gave me priceless advice in various aspects like career advancement, living as a Korean dad, and general adult life. The impact you made in my family’s life will not be forgotten and will forever be an inspiration. Your ability to lead and guide is something that I will strive to follow and pass on to others. I still have so many questions that I would like to ask you and things to pick from your brain. You are gone too soon.
    Rest In Peace.

  5. Dear Amy, thank you so much for informing me of John’s sudden and untimely death. I send my deepest sympathy to you and your boys, and wish you every grace as you all adjust to this shocking change in all of our lives. There’s a song about God giving more when the burdens grow greater; that is my prayer for you and your boys! Al Mulder

  6. My loving niece Amy! My sincere condolence really continues to be with you in these hard times. Yet as a person who went through the same loss of spouse before you, I want you to know and learn the lessons that I should have learned at the point of my loss of your 작은 엄마, while avoiding the trials and errors that I went through. First your concern in God’s view should not be with John nor with the children, but only with yourself. I want you as one of the human beings to accept the limits of human beings as mere creatures. We cannot control over those limits, especially time of death. More importantly, I want you to be aware of the fact that the death of John would be supposed to be an occasion in which your life may be reformulated and reformed in a certain way that your lives would finally be integrated and committed to the greater cause of life in general and of God’s purpose for you! Regrettably I am learning these lessons nowadays, only after I have made so many trials and errors. It is not the decedent, but only the living ones that really matters! Once again May God comfort you and sustain you in these confusing and agonizing periods of times! I love you and pray for you!

  7. Dear Amy and family,

    We are shocked and saddened to hear of John’s passing. He was a wise and insightful person, with a welcoming presence and creative spirit. We are grateful to have known John and how he lived out God’s love on earth.

  8. Thank you, heavenly Father, for the gift John was to the world in so many ways. I pray you would comfort his family, which John would want most, with your close and dear presence in the midst of their grief. Give us all the peace that surpasses understanding when we are unable to understand but able to know you weep with us as we mourn the terrible loss of John.

  9. Patrick and I remember him of being really calm and friendly, just a really cool vibe about him. I personally was amazed how forwarded thinking he was. He seemed to have a big vision and but he would actually do it. Patrick and I would say to each other, John makes it look so easy. He didn’t seem intimidated by much and looking back at the times we spent w John and Amy, we loved their family, it was so easy to love them bc they were so loving towards others. I know John will be truly missed. We haven’t seen you guys in a while but our hearts go out to you and your family. John will truly be missed 😞.

  10. With fond memories of your time at Pusan American School, in sadness I celebrate your life well-lived. Fair winds and following seas…

  11. John, brother, I am SHOCKED and shook. All our memories and moments and tears and laughs shared together are flooding back to me… in and out of church, talking about our goals in life and our respective journeys in faith… Rest in peace dear friend, I’ll see you on the other side.

  12. I got to know John when he attended NewNorth Center for Innovation in Holland, MI. In 2010. He was an enthusiastic advocate of invention, creative interaction, business development and his faith. I have very fond memories of our whole cohort’s friendship with him. He influenced many lives.

  13. We still truely remember that your family visited to Korea and time that we shared.All the moments that we spend at Rainbow church with you and 지현집사, 예일 , 예섬, 예닮 was memorable and that memories always made us to smile.We still remember all the memories and last forever.We will always pray for your family stable and hope they always stay in God. Rest in peace 이 땅에 남은 황요한 집사님의 가족들에게 하나님의 위로와 평안이 가득하길 기도하겠습니다

  14. I met John in a Barnes and Noble coffee-shop. I was on my laptop programming and he walked by, asked if I was coding, and took a seat. I’ve known John for nearly 18 years, although we haven’t kept in touch so much these past few years.

    John was curious, enthusiastic, determined, and filled with vision for what could be. I remember standing in the parking lot of the old Grand Rapids Brewing Company on 28th street with him late into the evening, just talking about the possibilities. He inspired me to start a business, Mutually Human, with him and two others: Mark Van Holstyn and Craig Demyanovich. I don’t know that I would have ever had the courage to do that without John.

    I remember so many kind words of encouragement from John in those early years together. He was kind and caring. He could also be a little pushy, but I know that is because he so badly wanted to pursue the vision of what could be and sometimes the rest of us had a hard time seeing it.

    The world lost a gentle soul and wonderful person in John. I’m thankful to have had him in my life for the years we had as friends and as business partners. I wish we could have another late night parking lot chat, just one more time. Until we meet again.

  15. My heart is very heavy for loss, but I do rejoice with his safe arrival in the arms of Jesus. We will be praying for his family.

  16. It is with a heavy heart that I write this. Yes, we will be praying for the void John has left, but we will also rejoice with you that he is having a theological discussion face to face with his Lord.

  17. Years ago, I had the fortune of experiencing John’s kindness for a short while. The leap that separates just being a nice person with kindness is not an easy one, and it’s a leap no one should be expected to take for all the challenges life already brings, but John covered that distance with seeming ease… and for someone to whom he owed nothing.

    Thank you, John.

  18. Eternal God will be with him eternally. I pray for God’s heavenly peace be with all family members. We can have hope to see him some day in future in front of God. Until that time, God will lead all family members with His great love and grace. God be with all family members.

  19. Dear John and Amy

    It was a brief moment of my high school years that I got to know you guys at Grand Rapids Korean Church. At that time, I traveled to the US alone to study abroad and I still remember the love of God and hospitality you guys have shown me. Even after these years had gone by, the memories of you guys are very clear to me. You were a couple that lived out the scripture that says “when I was a stranger, you welcomed me.”

    I wish I had a chance to tell you how much I appreciated your hospitality for a young man from abroad. I will always remember you as a good samaritan and a true neighbor in my life. I pray that you will rest in peace with heavenly Father and I also pray for Amy and the children that God will keep them in the apple of his eye.


  20. Dear family of John,
    We have not met but my life has been touched by traveling some years ago with a group trip of educators overseas, a group in which John was also a participant. His daily logging of our antics and outings and then generous sharing back to the group with his professional videos and photos were such a quiet gift of beauty and memory for us all. His curiosity and generosity touched me then, as they still do now. May you feel God’s presence as you mourn the loss of your dear husband and father.

  21. My first memory of John was being one of the first people to welcome Gloria and I to Living Water CRC. He came right up to us, initiated a casual conversation, displaying genuine curiosity to get to know us. At the time, I had just been discharged from the US Army and new to Michigan. I was finding my footing as a young adult, debating whether I should enter the tech industry as a developer. After listening to my thoughts, John was ecstatic and encouraged my pursuit to what he believed was a “modern-day superpower”.

    He offered to mentor and guide me through becoming a developer. He set expectations and regular meetings to share practical advice and encouragements. He pushed me to network, get out of my comfort zone, and introduced me to his connections in GR. John even offered an internship at his company when he found out I was having a tough time finding a tech-related job. Needless to say, John was a giver and played a huge impact on my present and future.

    I was fortunate enough to know John and how he was a big-picture kind-of guy. He saw the potential in people and situations that were normally missed by others. He shared with me his hopes of providing guidance to the younger generation. He used the lessons from, what he called, his failed endeavors to give insight and wisdom to others. John was not only a big dreamer; he had the courage to chase his dreams and make them a reality. A true entrepreneur at heart.

    I will choose to remember John as a life-long learner, a wealth of knowledge, entrepreneur, encourager, my boss and mentor, my brother in Christ, and my friend.

    To John: I had been waiting for an offer to be finalized before I shared my good news with you; I know you would have been so happy and we would have celebrated. You will be remembered and missed.

    To Family: We extend our deepest condolences and sympathy. We are grieving with you and praying for you.

  22. John,
    One Sunday when I wasn’t present at the weekly luncheon, Ayleen shared with the table how I had been struggling. Before anyone had the chance to respond, you excitedly offered to show me a potential career path. This was a huge answer to prayer. It was the first time anyone believed in me enough to walk along side me as a mentor and a friend. You will be missed.

  23. It seems years ago that I had John in classes at Pusan American School. He was intelligent, pleasant, polite, fun, and clearly, a delight to have in class. I am sure he lived his life with these same attributes and more. I know he will be missed. Condolences to all his family members.

  24. John~Love you brother. So grateful for your life and friendship. I will cherish the moments, conversations, and laughs we shared. It’s hard to accept. I lost my breath reading the announcement… You live on in our memories… your voice and laugh your bright smile and warmth. Gone too soon…

  25. John Hwang was always generous with his time and his encouragement in my days in Grand Rapids and in Chicago. Though our interactions were few at Living Water, they were always filled with good memories and a man who loved serving God. and wanted to do more for the church and empowering those around him with purpose and mission.

    Praying for the family.

  26. I met John at a GRWebDev meetup hosted by Mutually Human when I was first starting my career in tech. We didn’t stay in touch much after, but during that critical period of my life he was very kind and really encouraged me to chase after my ambitious goals. I’ll always remember him for that.

    I’m so very sorry to hear of his passing. May he be granted eternal rest, may the perpetual light shine upon him, and may his memory be eternal!


  27. John encouraged me in my faith deeply, and inspired me as an entrepreneur. It has always been clear to me his heart’s devotion to Christ, to Amy, and to his beautiful children.

    John loved Jesus with everything.

    I am deeply saddened by this news. May Christ comfort us all in this difficult time of sudden grief.

  28. John will be so sorely missed. I will always be grateful for his encouragement. Peace to all who are enduring this shock.

  29. Amy, it is sad to hear of your husband’s sudden death. Human words cannot adequately comfort you and your children, but the God of all comfort, who called your husband to be with him at this time will comfort and console you. May you peace and comfort in God’s ever abiding presence.

  30. I’m praying for your family, Amy. John was always kind to me and was one of the people I looked up to while we attended the same church. When I first heard the news I couldn’t believe it. I’m sorry.

  31. We didn’t interact with John directly very often, but it feels like he was always there. He came up so often in conversation b/c of the how many people he mentored and how comprehensively he did it. He invested so much in giving people opportunities and confidence, helping people envision more for their futures and encouraging people to use those skills to help the world at large. For someone so talented and capable of focusing on their own gain in life, that speaks so much to a man full of kindness and an attitude of giver-ship. We really admire John for this, and clearly, so many people other people did too. More tellingly, he clearly loved his family and his family loved him. We HAVE had the pleasure of spending lots of time with Owen and you have to be an amazing father to create and raise someone as special as that talented boy! Each of you is on our heart, continually, and we hope we can be there for you, Amy, Owen, Evan and Ian as much as possible.

  32. Dear Mrs. Hwang, May God bring deep heavenly comfort to you and your family. With many other, I pray.

  33. My condolences to family. It was sudden and unexpected. I’ve never met Hwang’s family, but I can see how much they are loved by so many people. When I applied for CTS, Amy had been helpful a lot. I could feel the warmth of the community through her. It’s a shame that I missed the opportunity to express thank to her, so I give my condolences from Korea, at least one thing I can do. I’ll pray for Amy, their children, and the rest of the family. It is harsh to be apart from someone you love the most, but it isn’t the end. I believe the family will be united after a long time because John is with God in heaven. I hope God may give all of the family the strength to endure this hard time. I can’t express enough how I’m truely sorry for the loss.

    Rest in Peace, John.

  34. My condolences to John’s family. May the deep love of Jesus carry you through these hard days and always.

  35. Dear Amy, as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, may the rod and staff of God comfort you. My heart broke for you. Love you deeply.

  36. John is remembered as someone who always welcomed us at church, asking how we were doing and making us feel belonged.

    Johan and I were looking forward to seeing your smiles again, thanking you for your blessings to our marriage when we saw each other again.

    Our hearts are still so heavy…
    May the Holy Spirit gently comfort all those who are missing John, especially the Hwang family.

  37. I first got to know John as classmates in Calvin University’s CS program. After we graduated, he was very supportive of a tech conference another Calvin alumni and I organized. Life took me away from Grand Rapids and we fell out of touch. The last time we talked was at the height of the COVID lockdown. I happened to stumble on him doing a livestream on Facebook as he was trying out new tech so he could better help his church navigate “the new normal”. His excitement was infectious and a day or two later I was doing my own livestream… so of course John popped in! Even though it had been years since we’d last talked, it was effortless catching up, a friendship renewed even across geographical distance. Our family grieves with Amy, his children, family, and loved ones. His selfless assistance to others is an inspiration I will strive to model in my own life. Thank you, John—further up and further in!

  38. John was a student when I was a teacher at his high school in Iowa (Cono Christian School) and John was talented in music, kind, forward thinking, and courageous. He often encouraged me. He introduced me to “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.” Now he does that perfectly!

  39. To Amy and children, the Lord will always be your good shepherd, Ps. 91. In his love and peace your shelter be. John is only gone in the physical but his great life will continue to shine in and through yours. May you be greatly comforted. My prayers are always with you in this difficult time.
    In Christ’s love and peace. Amen

  40. With a heavy heart I share our condolences for the family of John. We watched him in the choir at Cono Christian school as two of our children were going to school there as well–Chad and Dawn Gardner. May the Lord give your family peace as you go through this difficult loss.

    Dan and Liz Gardner
    Rowley, IA

  41. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of John. He was a wonderful person and I was deeply inspired by his life and example in the local entrepreneurial community. He was a real light of positivity and enthusiasm for life. I learned a lot from him in the time we had. Our prayers continue to be with the Hwang family.

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