Raymond Myron Smith age 17 of Rockford Michigan went home to celebrate eternal life with Jesus on January 1, 2013. Ray was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 21, 1995.

Ray attended Roguewood Elementary School, Rockford North Middle School and Rockford High School. Ray had a personality that was one of a kind, his sense of humor and love for life had an impact on everyone around him. Whether he was hanging with his friend at BW’s, snowboarding or golfing with his family at Crystal Mountain or fishing with his dad, Ray was always the life of the party. Ray enjoyed a wide variety of interests like SCORE soccer, Middle School Band, wrestling, woodworking, his dogs and his rabbit Dr. Waffel. Ray’s heart for people led him to help out with the little ones at church and working the sound booth for the worship team. Ray accepted Jesus into his heart while at Never The Same Camp in 2009, he was baptized that August. In December Ray found out he had Leukemia. Many times God used Ray’s life to reveal his miraculous power. During his three year journey with cancer Ray learned to rely on his faith as a result his love for God and others grew.

During his three year journey there were many people who brought joy to Ray and his family. Ray’s family will always be thankful for the wonderful doctors, nurses and caregivers who have shown them so much love, determination and kindness. The Make A Wish Foundation provided a memorable trip to Hawaii last January, his family will always treasure that special time. Ray also enjoyed the support from his youth group “United”, his soccer Small Group Friends and so many cherished friends.

Ray was preceded in death by his grandparents Myron & Phyllis Smith and Arnold van Riel. Ray is survived by his parents, Fred & Elise Smith; his brothers, John & Ken; his oma, Hannie van Riel and his aunts & uncles; Nick & Prudy Smith, Dan & Nancy Smith, Edwin & Angelique van Riel; his cousins, Jenni Smith, Jeff & Gina Smith (daughters Rachel & Jossilyn) and Merel van Riel.

A service of praise and reflection for the life God gave to Ray was held 1:00 PM Saturday, January 5, 2012 at the Berkley Hills Community Church, 1670 Ball Avenue NE Grand Rapids. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to an memorial fund to be used in Ray’s memory, checks may be made to Stegenga Funeral Chapel.  To share a memory or sign the family’s online guest book please visit

Stegenga Funeral Chapel



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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.