Welcome to the memorial page for

Ronald J. Spielmaker

August 28, 1929 ~ December 24, 2017 (age 88)

Ron Spielmaker, an intelligent, kind and thoughtful husband and father, died Dec. 24, surrounded by loving family members at his Grand Rapids home. He was 88.

Born Aug. 28, 1929, Ron was the oldest of four brothers. He spent his entire life in the Grand Rapids area, graduated from Catholic Central High School and immediately thereafter joined the Army, where he was trained as a paratrooper.

After military service, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College and worked as a microbiologist, first for a variety of hospitals and laboratories and then Amway Corp. At one point, to make ends meet for his large family, Ron operated his own office cleaning business, sometimes bringing along his children to his evening jobs.

He had a finely-tuned sense of humor and a compelling interest in a variety of topics and hobbies including photography, cooking, gardening, travel and collecting wine and Belleek Irish porcelain. He was intellectually curious and an avid reader of detective novels, mysteries and poetry, and also, religiously, The Grand Rapids Press and Wall Street Journal -- regularly clipping out articles of interest to share or refer to later. Ron loved and followed sports, especially Notre Dame, and also went out of his way to attend his children’s and grandchildren’s games.

As a parent, he encouraged his children’s interests and was open in his affection, sharing with them his intellectual curiosity, tolerance and open-mindedness.

In addition to his wife of 38 years, Maria Spielmaker, he is survived by children Karen Langseth (Steve) of Seattle, Wash.; Rick Spielmaker (Deb) of Logan, Utah; Mark Spielmaker of Grand Rapids; Cindy Spielmaker (Jerry Morlock) of Grand Haven; Sue Spielmaker of Allendale; and Cathy Pisciotta (Peter) of Grand Rapids; Also by his stepchildren Anne Rivers (Mark Werkema); Elizabeth Rivers of Traverse City; Maria Therese Cassidy of Grand Rapids; Tom Cassidy (Shelly Friedman) of Palmer, Mass.; Patrick Cassidy of Grand Rapids; Michael Cassidy of Grand Rapids; Colleen Cassidy-Atchison (Jim) of Waynesboro, Va.; and Kelly (Tom Smith) Cassidy, of Grand Rapids. Ron is also survived by 22 grandchildren and nine great grand children.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Alice (Pat) Spielmaker; brothers Terry, Bruce and Eric Spielmaker; and grand-daughter Jennifer Langseth.

A mass of remembrance at St. Stephen Catholic Church, 723 Rosewood Avenue, East Grand Rapids, is planned for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 14.

The family asks anyone with memories of Ron to share them by email to In honor of Ron and in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to WGVU Public Media, 301 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI, 49504.



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