Eight Bells: Mark Koetje
Published on March 5th, 2019
Mark Henry Koetje, age 61, passed away in his home on March 2 after more than a year of fighting cancer. Mark grew up in Grand Rapids (MI) and attended Grand Rapids Christian, where he participated in both swimming and football. He went on to Calvin College for a period of time before deciding to focus on his career and family.
He grew up with many aunts, uncles, and cousins at the family compound on Big Pine Island Lake which he later called his home. He was passionate about a variety of outdoor activities including, sailing, skiing, ice boating, swimming, and camping. One of his favorite pastimes was scouting wood in the acreage at the lake and splitting it for firewood.
He was lucky enough to be able to take one of his passions, his love of sailing, and make a career of it. His contribution to the Quantum Racing TP52 team was often described as the “heart and soul” of the team, and as an “unsung hero”. His profession led him to meet the love of his life, Kerry, at a regatta in Spain.
He was a devoted father and Bubba, a teacher of many things, and a person constantly on the lookout for the next project. He was an extremely capable man with a heart of gold who also possessed a sensitivity that he wore with pride even when teased. He was fast to make friends and keep them. He touched so many people in so many ways and is leaving behind a legacy that will last forever.
Mark is survived by his loving companion, Kerry; his children, Justin Koetje (Sarah), Taylor Miller (Kellan), and Sutton Klipa (Mitchell), and to Quinn Lawton and Myles Lawton, whom he shared many years with as a stepfather figure. Mark is also survived by his beloved grandchildren (who called him Bubba); Gavin Koetje, Rowan Koetje, Murphy Miller, Charley Klipa, Finn Miller, and Monroe Klipa; his siblings, Cammy (Wes) Lytle, Carl (Ami) Koetje, and Joel (Kendall) Koetje; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
He is also leaving behind two pups that will miss him dearly, Skippy and Hugo. He was proceeded in death by his parents Casper and Nella Mae (Betten) Koetje.
A memorial service celebrating Mark’s life will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, March 8, 2019 at Keystone Community Church, 655 Spaulding Ave. SE, Ada, MI 49301. The family will greet friends and relatives at the Zaagman Memorial Chapel, 2800 Burton St. SE, on Thursday, March 7, from 2 to 4, and 6 to 8 pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association or to the American Cancer Society.