Serving West Michigan Since 1899

Steven Van Grouw

July 20, 1931 - February 20, 2024
Holland, MI



Saturday, March 16, 2024
7:00 PM EDT
Live Stream
Freedom Village Auditorium (6th Floor)
145 Columbia Avenue
Holland, MI 49423


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Hope College Philanthropy: Sports Broadcasting
141 E. 12th Street
Holland, MI 49423

Please make checks to Hope College and in the memo: Hope College Sports Broadcasting

Web Site

Third Reformed Church
111 W 13th St
Holland, MI 49423
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Yes, celebration of a life that began in Sheldon, Iowa on July 20, 1931. Steve joined a family of three older siblings, brothers Clarence and Harold and a sister Marie. A year later a new sister, Kathryn, took center stage, and as Steve sometimes recalled, his mother would put him into a baby buggy where he was “such a good little boy.” Before long the family grew to include Anna Mae and Larry, with an eighth child, “Jakey” who lived only a brief eighteen months.

The family moved frequently within Iowa, and to South Dakota on one brief occasion. Steve’s father, Jacob, had been born in Oosterbierum, Friesland. He and his younger brother, Sybe/Steve, emigrated from The Netherlands not long after the 1901 death of their mother Alida, after losing a five-month-old daughter Geertje.

Grandpa Klaas with his two sons, ages four (Jacob) and two (Sybe), ended up in Sheldon, Iowa where he died. He had remarried Estella (Toering) Krikke who introduced into the family her five (Dutch-born) children.

Jacob practiced leather-making until farmers no longer needed reins and harnesses, at which time shoe-making and repair provided his income. He also moved (Steve believed it was eighteen times) from one dad-upgraded house to another. In 1923, Jacob married Steve’s Ackley, Iowa-born mother, Anna (Zwagerman). In time several of the family moved to Redlands, California to be near dairy farmer brother/Uncle Sybe.

Before leaving Iowa, Steve had started junior college. As the family was about to relocate, he preferred to do his military service in California. After boot camp in San Diego, he was assigned to a parachute unit near El Centro in the Sonoran Desert, with easy access to Redlands for the weekends. His commanding officer made arrangements for Steve to spend all four years at the same desk as clerk. His only “sea duty” was with a Navy basketball team to an offshore island.

Because Steve ‘s responsibilities included opening Cmdr. Shockey’s mail, he learned about an early discharge for GIs going to college in the fall of 1955. Driving straight through, he arrived at Hope College barely in time to settle in for the next four years. Because he spent one senior-year semester as substitute administrator of a program for mentally impaired youth, he finished in the winter of 1959 with a psychology degree. By the summer of 1961, he finished a master’s preparation for Special Education from Eastern Michigan U. After a short period with Special Ed, he was a beloved seventh grade English teacher for the rest of his career.

In those early years at E. E. Fell in Holland, he became acquainted with his future wife, Margaret (Peg) Foster. They met as fellow members of the Holland faculty through other teachers who formed a social-family group that grew for many years from the “dirty dozen” to the “terrible twenty.” He was a dad blessed with two fine sons, Todd Allen (born 1962) and Richard Lee (born 1965).

As long as he was able, Steve devoted countless hours to community and church service. For many years, he served Stephen Ministry as volunteer and trainer plus three rounds of Consistory membership and Clerk; during those same years, he sang bass in First and Third Church choirs. He served as part of the Community Mental Health Helpline. Having attended a number of winter training camps, he also “served” years on tennis courts, beginning on the church parking lot until Hope College provided indoor facilities. The family has been amazed that the obituary for long-time tennis partner, Morrie Tubergen, appeared side by side with Steve’s. In later years he enjoyed all home Hope basketball games. He lived long enough to enjoy four grandchildren and one great-grandson with another due in July.

In late November 2023, he fell and broke his hip which healed but without more than limited use. Fortunately, he had tender, loving care from the staff members of Gentiva Hospice and Mission Point of Freedom Village, where he had made a home for twenty-seven years.

Steven Van Grouw, age 92, died February 20, 2024, at a local care facility. He was born July 20, 1931, to Jake and Anna (Zwagerman) Van Grouw in Sheldon, Iowa, graduated in 1948 from Sheldon High School, and served four years as a clerk at the U.S. Naval Air Base in El Centro, He graduated from Hope College in 1958 with a BA in psychology, and Eastern Michigan University in 1961 with an MA in education. Steve taught special education and seventh grade English at E.E. Fell Junior High School from 1959 to 1990. In retirement, he worked as a part time aide in the psychiatric ward at Holland Hospital. Not only did Steve play softball, basketball, and tennis for much of his life, he umpired Holland Recreation softball and was an avid Hope College sports fan. He was a Community Mental Health Helpline volunteer for more than 25 years. Steve served Third Reformed Church as an elder, a Stephen’s Ministry counselor and trainer and sang in the choir for more than 40 years. He is survived by his widow, Margaret (Foster) Van Grouw; sons, Todd Van Grouw and Rick (Tammy Hillen) Van Grouw; grandchildren Claire (Austin Rouwhorst), Erin, Alison (AJ) Rietberg, and Max; two great-grandchildren; siblings Anna Mae (John) Barrett and Larry (Judy) Van Grouw; sister-in-law Helen Van Grouw; brother-in-law Stan Foster; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Freedom Village sixth floor Auditorium with a reception and visitation to follow. A livestream video of the service will be available for those unable to attend HERE.

Memorial gifts may be given to Hope College sports broadcasting ( or Third Reformed Church. Arrangements are by the Dykstra Funeral Home-Downtown Chapel.