Ralph Kickert

  • Born: September 8, 1941
  • Died: June 14, 2019
  • Location: Holland, Michigan

Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423

Tel. (616) 392-2306

Tribute & Message From The Family

Ralph Kickert, 77, of Holland, died Friday, June 14, 2019.

Ralph was born September 8, 1941 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to John and Bette Kickert. He graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School and went on to study first at Western Michigan University and then at Calvin College. While at Calvin, he met Ruby Postma on a Summer Work in Missions program, and they married in 1965. When Ralph and Ruby moved to Holland in 1966 for Ralph to attend Western Theological Seminary, the Kickert family abandoned any pretense of allegiance to Calvin College athletics, and Ralph became a dedicated Hope College fan.

When Ralph wasn't at a Hope Basketball game, he was cheering for the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), or he was proudly sporting a Culver Academies ball cap. He loved all sports. He was a longtime softball umpire, a long-suffering golfer, and a player of all racket and paddle sports—tennis, table tennis, and pickle ball. His hours of dedicated practice in the basement and outstanding performances at tournaments earned him a national ranking in table tennis.

Ralph was deeply committed to the community of Holland, and he lived that commitment through his pioneering work as the first full-time director of the Good Samaritan Center. He then went on to be the first full-time director of Community Action House. He is a former member of the Lions Club and Rotary International. He worked for 32 years as Chief Probation Officer of the Holland District Court where he strove to treat the people in his care with fairness and dignity.

Ralph's faith was central to his life and guided how he chose to work with others. Ralph was a longtime member of Christ Memorial Church. Over the years, he served as a deacon, a chairman of the Outreach Committee, a Sunday School teacher, and a 20-year member of the incredible choir (always singing on key).
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ruby; their son Kevin Kickert of Grove City, OH; their daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Kevin Bowman of Culver, IN; and the apple of his eye, his granddaughter Ruby Grace.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm, Wednesday in the Chapel of Christ Memorial Church (Use Entrances D and E), 595 Graafschap Rd. Holland 49423. Visitation will be from 4-7 on Monday, in the Rotunda at Christ Memorial (Use Entrances D and E). Memorials may be made to Community Action House, Good Samaritan Ministries, Encompass Kids at Christ Memorial. Arrangements by Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Homes.



Condolence & Memory Journal

I was sorry to hear of Ralph's passing. I have fond memories of Ralph and Ruby, then young parents, during my time at Christ Memorial Church. Having been friends with Ruby and Kim on social media, it has been fun to see what an amazing person Kim has become. I know Ralph loved his family more than anything. You are in my prayers as you adjust into a new normal. My Ralph rest in peace and rise in glory.

Posted by Thomas M. Folkert - Kalamazoo, MI - Friend   June 20, 2019

So sorry to hear of the passing of this good man. He will be greatly missed. My sympathy to Ruby and the whole family.

Posted by Monica Donnelly - Holland, MI - Friend   June 19, 2019

Ralph will be missed by the community. He was a light in the dark. Sue Harder

Posted by A friend   June 18, 2019

Ralph is a dear friend and a social justice seeker. He always worked for the greater good of his community. His commitment to his God, family and community was always at the forefront. He served his long tenure with the Human Relations Commission with great commitment and love for his fellow man.

I will miss this wonderful presence in the community. I am thankful to God that he brought Ralph and Ruby into my life. My deepest condolences to the love of his life, Ruby, and his children and grandchildren.

Posted by A friend   June 18, 2019

So sorry to hear of Ralph's passing.
A wonderful man indeed.
With sympathy, Sharon Hendrickson

Posted by Sharon Hendrickson - Zeeland, MI   June 17, 2019

To Ruby, Kevin & Kim - you have Colleen and my thoughts and prayers during this time. I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours with Ralph. He was my nemesis across from the table tennis table, my practice partner, my sometimes doubles partner, my #1 supporter, and much more importantly an incredible mentor to me over the years. Besides teaching me much about table tennis he taught me more about honesty, sportsmanship and respect. He taught me more about these things than anyone else besides my dad. Ralph is one of the very few people in my life I would call a true friend. We had lots of great times together and I have many great memories. He is probably hitting a few Nittakus right now up there with my dad. RIP my friend.

Posted by David Fortney - Tampa, FL   June 17, 2019

Ralph's strong sense of justice and fairness provided inspiration and instruction to the 58th District Court and its judges for over three decades. He was a good friend and valuable mentor to me personally. The community has lost one of its great leaders.

Posted by Bradley Knoll - Holland, MI   June 17, 2019

I am so sorry for your loss. I worked with Ralph at the Probation office. He was a gentle giant.

Posted by Lynn Stegenga Watkins - Newport News, VA   June 17, 2019

We are so sorry about your loss. We are thinking about you and praying for you. You are wonderful friends and we are here for you. God will comfort you in this hard time. Ralph is in the arms of his Saviour. God bless your family!
Vince and Courtney Brodkorb and kids

Posted by Vince and Courtney Brodkorb - Worthington, OH - Family Friend   June 16, 2019

So surprised to see this news, since It seems like we just talked to Ralph at Hope basketball.
May God be with your family and comfort you in your loss.
Vern and Carla Sterk

Posted by Vern Carla - Sterk, MI   June 16, 2019

We are so sorry for your loss Ruby & family!!! We are praying for you all & hope that all your good memories can help somewhat at this time! God bless you all.

Posted by Marge Bergsma - Holland, MI - Friend   June 16, 2019

Our sympathy to you Ruby: Gods peace to you.

Darryl and Carla Lokers

Posted by A friend   June 16, 2019

I can still see him in our old white recliner coming over to watch the holiday football games "in color", back when that was something special. Still don't understand his fondness for that university in Ann Arbor.

Love and prayers to Ruby Ann, Kim and Kevin, Kevin and Ruby Grace.

Jerry and Jan Cliff

Posted by A friend   June 16, 2019

Love and prayers for Ruby, Kevin, and Kim and Kevin and Ruby Grace. We loved Ralph and will miss him. God's grace will be sufficient for you!

Posted by Norma Hook - Zeeland, MI - Friend   June 15, 2019

We remember Ralph fondly from working with him when he was at the Good Samaritan Center when it started in the old school building on 15th Street. We were part of the group that ran The Black Sun Coffeehouse on the third floor. We are saddened at his passing and send our condolences to Ruby and the children. Cary & Judy Hirdes

Posted by Cary & Judy Hirdes - ZEELAND, MI - Acquaintance   June 15, 2019

I am so very very sorry, Ruby, Kevin, Kim, Kevin, and Ruby Grace. What a wonderful man Ralph has been in so many people's lives. God's peace. . .

Posted by Kathy Davelaar Van Rees - Holland, MI - Friend   June 15, 2019

Family Album