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William Henry Spitsbergen


William Henry Spitsbergen, age 97 of Lowell, passed away peacefully on April 13, 2023. Born on March 4, 1926, he was the great-grandson of Ottawa County, 1847 Dutch immigrant, Pioneer and farmer, Jan Hendrick Spitsbergen and Hendricken Essing of Zeeland, MI; great-grandson of Dutch, Missaukee County, Pioneer Wynant Modders, founder of Moddersville, MI; grandson of Missaukee County, Pioneer and farmer, Henry Spitsbergen and Margarett Modders of Moddersville, MI; grandson of Missaukee County, Pioneer, Civil War veteran and farmer, James Dyer of Lake City, MI; son of Missaukee County dairy farmer, William Spitsbergen and Alta Dyer.

William was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1944 entering the WWII European theatre after the Battle of the Bulge. His M3 half-track was destroyed by the enemy, which caused an inward struggle of assurance of salvation. He received a medal of Bravery. After discharge, Bill attended and graduated from the Michigan State College Ag. Course, via G.I. bill, during which he heard the Baptist Evangelist Hyman Appleman preach a crusade in Flint, MI., which resulted in his Born-Again salvation and finding assurance of salvation through the witness of the Holy Spirit within. He then left the Dutch Reformed Church to be a fundamental Baptist. Having given up hopes of farming in Missaukee County, he married Anna “Anne” Elias, and they became active members of various Baptist churches in West Michigan while working in the Tool and Die trade for Steelcase Inc. in Grand Rapids. During this time, Bill reared five children; Daniel, Barbara, Deborah, Linda, and Timothy, in Grand Rapids and then hobby farmed 80 acres in Lowell, MI.

After Anne’s passing away from cancer, he remarried June Crowner of Grandville, MI. After retiring from Steelcase, he and June settled down to live out their days in Wyoming, MI. Known by some as Junior and by most as Bill, he loved his family and Savior Jesus Christ and served both well. Bill held out for the “Upper Taker”, Jesus Christ and the rapture, the catching upward of those alive in Christ, which he believed. (1Thes.4:16-17)

Preceded in death by his three siblings, Ronald, Joan, and Phillip; his wife Anne of 28 years and mother of their five children; grandson, Joel Davis; and by his wife, June (Crowner) of 35 years and her two sons, Verne and Bill, of her previous marriage. He is survived by his five children, Dan (Betsy), Barb (Don) Graham, Debbie (Davis) Smith, Linda (Bill) Newhouse, Tim (Esther); 20 grandchildren and spouses; 18 great-grandchildren; and by June’s daughter-in-law, Nancy (Vern Crowner); 3 grandchildren and spouses; and 9 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held 6-8 PM on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at Roth-Gerst Chapel, 305 N. Hudson St., Lowell, MI 49331. Funeral services will be held at 11 AM, Friday, April 21, 2023, at New Life Baptist Fellowship, 6252 Burlingame Ave SW, Byron Center, MI 49315, with visitation one hour prior. Pastor C. Powers Payton officiating. Kent County Veterans Honor Guard will be present. Luncheon to follow services. Interment Merriman Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to New Life Baptist Fellowship Church.

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6252 Burlingame Ave SW

Byron Center, MI 49315

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6 Responses

  1. Sorry for the lost of your father and grandfather. He will be missed. We wish you a lot of strength these days.

    The Boertien family. Barendrecht. The Netherlands.

  2. What a wonderful father, Debbie. Prayers for comfort and peace for you and your family. ♥️

  3. What a full life he lead and what a legacy he leaves behind. Peace and comfort to the entire family.

  4. Precious in the eyes of the Lord, are the death of his saints. Praying for the comfort of the Holy Spirit, to comfort your hearts and minds. We love you all very much.
    (1Th 4:13-17, AV)
    “‭13‭ ‭But‭ I would‭‭ not‭ have‭‭ you‭ to be ignorant‭‭, brethren‭, concerning‭ them which are asleep‭‭, that‭‭ ye sorrow‭‭ not‭, even‭ as‭ others‭ which‭ have‭‭ no‭ hope‭.‭ ‭14‭ ‭For‭ if‭ we believe‭‭ that‭ Jesus‭ died‭‭ and‭ rose again‭‭, even so‭ them also‭ which sleep‭‭ in‭ Jesus‭ will‭‭ God‭ bring‭‭ with‭ him‭.‭ ‭15‭ ‭For‭ this‭ we say‭‭ unto you‭ by‭ the word‭ of the Lord‭, that‭ we‭ which‭ are alive‭‭ ‭and‭ remain‭‭ unto‭ the coming‭ of the Lord‭ shall‭‭ not‭ prevent‭‭ them which‭ are asleep‭‭.‭ ‭16‭ ‭For‭ the Lord‭ himself‭ shall descend‭‭ from‭ heaven‭ with‭ a shout‭, with‭ the voice‭ of the archangel‭, and‭ with‭ the trump‭ of God‭: and‭ the dead‭ in‭ Christ‭ shall rise‭‭ first‭:‭ ‭17‭ ‭Then‭ we‭ which‭ are alive‭‭ ‭and‭ remain‭‭ shall be caught up‭‭ together‭ with‭ them‭ in‭ the clouds‭, to‭ meet‭ the Lord‭ in‭ the air‭: and‭ so‭ shall we‭‭ ever‭ be‭‭ with‭ the Lord‭.‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

  5. Mr. Spitsbergen was a great landlord during the 4 years I stayed in the other half of his duplex in Wyoming, Michigan Extremely capable and helpful, he could fix anything! He was also very helpful to my parents when they visited me in the US. My dad was asking about Mr. Spitsbergen the other day and I’ll let him know of Bill’s departure when I see Dad later this week. My condolences to Mr. Spitsbergen’s family.

    Pastor Angus Stewart, Kells, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

  6. This is what I was going to say at the funeral (there was a slight oversight ????????):

    My dad had A LOT of admirable qualities, talents, and abilities! …more than I could list; but one thing is for sure, he loved to stay busy, to fix things, to help people, and to be involved at church.

    He was not wasteful of ANYTHING! …especially food. The man loved his food!

    And he could be the most charming man on the planet—when he wanted to be ????.

    He was also always proud to say that he was a “Hard-Headed-Dutchman.” But it was that stubborn-will to never give up, or give in, that helped him through some pretty tough times in his life. It is also what helped him bounce back from some of the harrowing experiences of his final few years; it’s what helped him reach his impressive age of 97!

    In many ways, I am probably a lot like my dad; we both can be hard to love at times, and we both struggle with how to go about trying to show others that we really DO love them.

    When Dad’s dementia (and the 2020 Covid lock-down) finally began to take its toll on him, I was determined to try to figure out how to honor my dad and show him that I would love him—as best I could—through this life-altering, and eventual life-ending trial.

    We had some crazy, difficult, amazing, and unforgettable times together in our home; times I wouldn’t trade for anything. But I’m sad to say, I also failed—many times—to give him the honor he was due. Yet Dad was always graciously willing to forgive me and humbly admit his fault, if needed, as well.

    God had so much to teach me—more than I could have ever imagined.

    The lessons I’ve learned over the last few years with Dad, were hard…but priceless.

    I love my dad now, more than ever ????.
    The more weak, fragile, and helpless he became, the more my love and compassion for him grew!

    Thank you Jesus, and thank you Billy (my husband) for allowing me so much treasured time spent with Dad in the “final-leg” of his race; both the 2 years in our home, and also during the final 6 months that you allowed me to spend with him in care facilities.

    I hate regrets. My time spent with Dad was NOT one of them!

    I love you Dad! ❤️…I really do… ????

    If any other of Dad’s non-family caregivers were watching the live-stream of his funeral (or are now reading this), I genuinely want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love, help, patience, consideration, and care that you DID give him on our behalf…

    …And for the care that you CONTINUE to give, on a daily basis, to so many other weak, frail, fragile, and sometimes “forgotten” ones.

    Both you AND those you care for are very near and dear to the heart of our Lord Jesus. Please KNOW that.

    Thank you SO VERY MUCH! ????
    May the Lord bless you! ????

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New Life Baptist Fellowship

6252 Burlingame Ave SW

Byron Center, MI 49315