Life Story / Obituary
Kindhearted, generous, and compassionate, Edward Mouw was a blessing in the lives of everyone he met. A man of faith, his life exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord he loved. A loving and devoted family man, Ed cherished each and every moment he had to spend with his loved ones near. Although he experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer, what made these so extraordinary was sharing them with his family and friends. Well respected in his community, Ed was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. There was dancing in the streets with the war’s end in 1945, and with that America was making the shift to being a nation at peace once again. It was as rationing was becoming a thing of the past that Theodore and Ruth (Schuchard) Mouw were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as 1946 was coming to an end in Muskegon, Michigan. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named Edward Jay drew his first breath on December 26th. He was the younger of two Mouw children to be raised in the family home on Dykstra Road in Laketon Township as he was joined in his family by his older brother, Ted Jr. His father worked as a truck driver while his mother was an Amway distributor. Ed truly adored and loved his parents, and he vowed to raise his family in the Christian tradition that he was raised in.
In many ways Ed was a young boy of his generation. He enjoyed things like riding his bike and also had a paper route. As a student Ed attended local schools where he played the trumpet and baritone for the band at North Muskegon High School. He also put his musical talents to good use playing in an accordion band. The family faithfully attended Laketon Bethel Reformed Church where Ed had perfect attendance for many years. After graduating from high school in 1966, he joined the United State Navy, serving in the SeaBees just like his father had done. Ed was stationed in Alaska for 18 months and sent some of his pay home to help pay for his mother’s surgery.
With his military duties fulfilled, Ed returned to Muskegon. He soon found work as a car mechanic for Witt Buick. From there Ed worked for Delong Trucking, and he eventually bought George’s Auto Repair in North Muskegon. He operated that business for 27 years until retiring in 2006. Ed was known as a very fair and honest business man who never took advantage of his customers. In everything he did, his primary focus was on doing what was right for the customer. He also looked for cars that needed some tender loving care, fixed them up, and then sold them to those in need at a price they could afford.
Life was forever changed for Ed when he met a woman named Diana Hoffman while cruising through the Apple Avenue McDonald’s in his 1969 Cutlass. They soon began dating, fell in love, and were married on January 31, 1970. Together they were blessed with the births of three boys, Shane, Duncan, and Jacob. They lived in Twin Lake for a few years before moving back to Laketon Township. As a family they attended Christ Community Congregational Church where Ed served as a deacon. Diana was a piano, organ, and voice teacher, and together Ed and Diana sang, often at their church and for other local churches. At times they sang at weddings and parties, and they also sang in a quartet, traveling out of state to perform on several occasions. The Mouws enjoyed camping, waterskiing, and snowmobiling during the winter. With a heart for the hurting, Ed also brought other teenagers into their home to live while they were going through rough times. Unfortunately, his marriage to Diana came to an end in the mid 1990s.
A bit later, life became interesting when Ed became better acquainted with a woman named Jill Bray who was a customer at his repair shop. They had mutual friends, Larry and Gloria Bergren, who knew they would be perfect for one another. After several attempts, Ed and Jill were finally successfully set up, and the rest is history as they say. They started dating in 1996, and after dating for three years they were married on October 9, 1999. Jill was a widow with three daughters, and Ed loved them as his own. Their two families came together beautifully and eventually settled into a house on Nestrom Road. They had a big pole barn in the yard where Ed was able to work on his cars. Ed was a longtime collector of classic cars including his prized Corvette. He regularly took his cars to auto shows and parades all over the state and to the Upper Peninsula as well. Ed’s love for singing remained, too. In fact, he even recorded a CD. In addition, he took care of the music at his church. Within his community, Ed was a member of Northside Lions as well as a longtime volunteer of DeColores.
Ed and Jill were a great pair, and they had a wonderful relationship. They shared many of the same interests like walking on the beach, camping, boating, and going for motorcycle rides. Together they also worked side by side in the yard or on projects around the house.
Life became more difficult for Ed and his loved ones when he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2013. He fought the disease hard, undergoing treatments. Ed ended up in remission for nine months, but sadly the cancer came back and also spread into several other areas of his body. His family and friends supported him in any way they could during this time.
Although he accomplished so much of which to be proud, Edward Mouw was a humble man whose greatest source of pride and joy was found in his family. He worked hard in everything he did, and his primary focus was on supporting his family and helping those in need. Ed was never one to worry about the little things, rather, his focus was on doing whatever he could to help others in ways both great and small. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
Edward Jay Mouw, of Laketon Township, passed away peacefully on January 7, 2017. Ed’s family includes his wife, Jill; sons, Shane (Michelle Bersonnet) Mouw of North Muskegon, Duncan (Tammy) Mouw of Norton Shores, Jacob (Theresa) Mouw of Whitehall; daughters, Sara (Dan) Bowen of Muskegon, Ellie (Mike) Fielstra of North Muskegon, Emily Bray of Muskegon; grandchildren, Michael, Caleb, Kyle, Katie, Faith, Bella, Courtney, Gianna, William, Hudsyn, Anistyn, Manning, Breyden, Ashlie; brother, Ted (Yvonne) Mouw of Bay City and Ed's four legged buddy, Elvis. Services will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2017, noon at Laketon Bethel Reformed Church with Rev. William Fillmore officiating. Visitation will be held on Friday, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Clock Funeral Home - Muskegon and Saturday, one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials can be made to Harbor Hospice.