Brian was taken too soon due to COVID complications. He is survived by his best friend and loving wife of 27 years, Vicki (nee Holland), his parents Margaret and Bill Tingley Sr, his siblings Bill (Bridget) Tingley III, Chris Rozema, in-laws Mary Holland, Doug Holland, Gloria Holland, Pam and Brian Smith, nieces, nephews and extended family including his Proto-Cam work family and childhood friends, Steve Kaminski and Bob Schneider.
He has had many special relationships and bonds with so many people over his lifetime. Happily, there are too many to list or thank, but you know who you are, including all the wonderful people in the healthcare field that gave him so many more years of real life. We hope you enjoyed all our bizarre vacation stories, his 70’s sitcom references, a laugh, text, or the good conversation on whatever interested you that he was so known for, especially ‘when there’s nothing going on.’
Due to the virus restrictions, no memorial services are planned, but please reach out to Vicki and the family as they so desire to hear of your relationship with Brian. Below is Brian’s Celebration of Life story.
If you wish to make a donation in his honor, it would have made him so happy if it was to BestPals Animal Rescue Center, 13888 Blair Street, Holland, MI 49424 or through their online website or Facebook page.
Brian grew up on the NE side near Aberdeen, where he could always be found playing in the neighborhood. He said if he wasn’t out of the house by 9 am, his mom, Peg, would put him to work, no boy wants that. He always made it home before the street lights came on, though. He loved to tell her about his day, and she thought he was just the happiest boy, always smiling.
Brian had a special bond with his father. His love of the Pittsburgh Steelers came from watching the Sunday afternoon games together with his dad and rooting for the Steel Curtain. At halftime, they would go out for a pick-up football game that included his brother and anyone else who joined in. He thought it was so cool that his dad would come down the school halls in his sandals to take Brian out for a family day at the beach.
They shared a love of cars too, especially Corvettes. Brian did his first tranny slam at 3 riding in the middle of his mom’s yellow ‘Vette. They enjoyed going to Berlin Raceway after work when the shop was on 3 Mile.
Bill Sr. bought Brian’s beloved ’86 corvette from him, so he could purchase his bride’s wedding rings. Vicki said she knew the honeymoon was over when he bought the car back. Brian and Vicki even took it to the Gingerman track to race it, along his Cadillac CTS -V. After 30 years of cherished ownership, he was able to turn the care of his beloved Corvette over to his nephew, Bill, last summer – ‘Because cars like that, need to be driven.’
In all his years, Brian always had a black cat at his side. There have been many, but Spooky, the runt of the litter, stood out. They had 22 years together, especially comforting Brian when his was ill, and was missed every day after. Brian and Vicki had a soft spot for animals, and they rescued many dogs and cats besides financially supporting the centers.
Brian had a sense of pride that he always had a job, starting when he was 5 years old helping his siblings, Bill and Chris, with their paper routes until he could get his own. He would laugh as he told how Uncle Bob, in his GRPD uniform, would help collect on those tougher accounts. Through his route collections, he would find older or special coins. This started his lifelong hobby of coin collecting.
He had his paper route for years until his friend, Bob Schneider, took over so Brian could attend 6th grade at Blandford Nature Center, another source of many great stories like when students were required to pick a special place in the woods to journal. Brian and his friend picked the middle of the pond. He always said, ‘If it made him laugh, then it was funny.’
Brian loved to see the city. In his younger days before he could drive, he would be happy to hop on the city bus and ride all over to the ends of every line. Pretty sure he has been on almost every road in Kent County by now. It was always a fun day to take the coins from his paper route over to Aladdin’s Castle in North Kent Mall.
Bob was Brian’s biking buddy, as they biked all over Grand Rapids, keeping a map highlighting all of their rides. They would even bike out to Lake Michigan. Bob got a flat on the way back so it was more of a long ‘walk’ until they hitched a ride.
When Bob invited Brian to a Youth Group meeting at Blessed Sacrament, it was a turning point in his life. He found inner peace and purpose. He would have long talks with the youth leader, Patrice. She would hold a special place in his heart.
He also attended Aberdeen, Riverside and Creston schools. He became close friends with Steve Kaminski and his family in middle school. Those two have made each other laugh for 40 years with a look, text, or a one-liner. Brian would drive Steve in his blue IROC Camaro to some of his sporting events when Steve was starting his career as a Grand Rapids Press sport writer. They shared many of rides, including the 1989 Indianapolis 500, NASCAR and IndyCar races at Michigan International Speedway, as well as trips to Martin Dragway, Berlin Raceway and Grattan Raceway, along with a few Detroit Pistons games. Steve wrote his story as Brian raced back to GR so he could file it before the deadline.
Steve was Brian’s best man, and kept his nerves in check with laughter to the point Brian laughed through the ceremony – he would like to say he laughed at his vows but no one would ever doubt how loving and committed he was to his lovely bride. Maybe he was chuckling as he knew in her ‘In sickness and health’ vows, he hit the jackpot in a partner like Vicki. She was always by his side, from bringing a folding chair to sit with him for each dialysis treatment to working late nights at the shop.
Brian met Vicki at Bob’s wedding to Kelli, Vicki’s childhood friend. Brian was married to Vicki 27 short and loving years. But he must have guessed there would be much adventure and laughter with this gal from that winter trip to Lake Michigan before they were married when he fell through the ice up to his waist. Vicki laughed so hard as she helped pull him out – had to, he had the car keys. He left quite a puddle in Bil Mar’s that afternoon. Their stories where like that, unbelievable situations of cheating tragedy, told jointly with laughter and smiles. Together, they faced much and couldn’t be defeated, it seems.
She supported his love of good music and cool cars by accompanying him to numerous concerts and SEMA shows. Even in his last hours, she held his hand as they listened to his favorite albums including Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Darkside of the Moon, Brian Seltzer Ultimate Christmas Collection and Ray Charles’ Greatest Hits.
Brian learned his craft as a machinist while at Creston from Steve Ellis, the shop teacher and through Kent Skills Center. He set the example that the trades were a fine alternative to a college degree although he did attend GRJC on scholarship and gave many profs a run for their money. Even though he was Operations Manager and helped build his family’s businesses, Bend Tooling and Proto-Cam, into successes that support many employees and their families, he would proudly list his occupation as machinist for 37 years.
Brian thought it was important to enjoy coming to work, and he made an effort to get to know all of his work family. He was able to lend an ear, share advice, a laugh or just crack a Fonzie joke. He was the king of television rerun trivia, specializing in those sitcoms we grew up on. He could cite almost every Gilligan’s Island or Star Trek episode.
He made it easier to pull together as a team to help a customer out of jam or just get the work done. He rarely asked anyone to do something he hadn’t done many times before and often worked late or weekends to keep the machines going. He was always dreaming up ideas to make the process better, analyzing it, making it run faster, smoother. This is what excited him about manufacturing. In the last couple of years, he was able to instill his business wisdom on the next Tingley generation in his niece Krystal.
Vicki joined the business early in their marriage. He was proud that she took a GRCC machining class with that same Steve Ellis so she could help him more on the production floor after she finished her day in the office. They shared the same strong work ethic and love for the business. They would even schedule in a sales call or two while on vacation. Or always pointing out bends and wondering if it came from their tools.
Kidney disease played a role in the second half of his life but never dominated it. He was proud to say he never missed a day of work because of it. He was on hemodialysis for 16 years, which was mostly done in the comfort of his home with his wife as his treatment partner. Dialysis was on his schedule, not the other way around. Kidney disease never stopped them from travelling. May it be a short weekend trip or a longer one that required a clinic visit in some fun destination like Hawaii or Las Vegas, it wasn’t going to stop a new adventure. Sure, there may be a shot of him in a hospital gown mixed in the vacation photos, but that just added to their stories.
Brian fell in love with the island of Maui on their honeymoon and they traveled back numerous times. His dream was to live with the island breeze in his face. We are sure he is walking the beaches as his waits for his Vicki to join him.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Brian Anthony Tingley, please visit our floral store.