Gortsema, Riley Jeanne

Riley Jeanne Gortsema, aged 18, of Grandville, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, May 25, 2013.  She was preceded in death by her brother, Travis Gortsema and her grandparents, Leonard Jr. and Bette Van Heest.   Surviving are her parents, Doug and Julie Gortsema; brother, Chad Gortsema; sister, Natasha Gortsema; grandparents, Marvin and Twyla Gortsema; uncles, Steve and Sue Van Heest, Vic and Anne Van Heest, David and Kristi Gortsema, Brett and Kristie Gortsema; cousins, Carissa, Aaron, Jessica, Ben, Kyle, Peter, Andrew, Torie, Noelle, Alecia, Andrew, Leah.   A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 1 PM at the Hope College Dimnent Memorial Chapel, 277 College Avenue, Holland with Rev. Paul Boersma officiating.  Relatives and friends may meet the family Tuesday from 5-9 PM at Matthysse-Kuiper-DeGraaf (Grandville), 4145 Chicago Dr. SW.  Those who wish may make memorial contributions to Siempre Para Los Ninos Children’s Home (siemprekids.org). The Gortsema family sponsors children from this orphanage and Riley, Julie and Doug visited this orphanage during spring break. 


Riley Gortsema May 29, 2013
My heart is heavy for you Julie and Doug. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. I will continue to lift you up in my prayers.
Jennifer Decker (jennifermariephoto)
Julie and Doug - I can't even begin to express how sorry I am for the loss of your darling daughter - I will be praying for you both during the difficult time !!!!
cindy Zickus
There are no adequate words to express the depth of sorrow I feel for you. Though I know that she is in the arms of her savior, my heart is broken by this tragedy. Praying fervently for your family.
Jamey Birmingham
Julie and Doug,
Our hearts are heavy , our arms are open with hugs, our prayers and thoughs are constant.

Mike and Deb DeWinter
Doug,Julie,Chad and Natasha,
We continue to hold you up in prayer.
Jim and Chris
Dear Aunt Julie and Uncle Doug,
We love you guys so, so much and want you to know you are in our hearts and our prayers.

Carissa & Chad & family
We express our deepest sympathy. You are in our thoughts and prayers continuously. May our Great God surround you with grace and peace.
The Grassmid Family
There are no words to express our sorrow. Our prayers are with all of you.
Art and Barb Opperwall
Julie and Doug My deepest sympathy
to you and to your family.
May God add his words of comfort to you during this difficult time and loss.
Praying for all.
Jack Sikkema
So extremely, deeply sorry for you, Julie and Doug, our hearts are breaking and very heavy with hurt for you both. You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly.
Chuck and Gayle Veenstra
Julie and Doug - We are so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. We are praying for you through this very difficult time. May God surround you both with comfort and peace.
Ernie & Berta Gowen
Julie and Doug,

I'm so sorry for your loss. Those that remember you from Redlands grieve with you. May God pour his grace on your family.
Russell DeKock
Your Hope family is thinking of you and will continue to pray for you all. May God lift you to celebrate such a beautiful life in your time of sorrow
Julie and Doug - We are so very sorry for your loss. Riley was a beautiful girl. Can't imagine what you are going through, our prayers are with you both.
Don & Barb Harris
Doug, Julie, and Chad - So so sorry to hear of the tragedy. Prayers and our love. Joe and Pam Warber (Chad's S.O. coach)
Julie and Doug, I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. I pray that God's presence will surround you and your husband in this time of need. I'm also praying for the other family members as well. May the peace that surpasses all understanding be with you.

Tina Terrell Mount Pleasant, TX
Julie, Doug and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. I pray God's comfort touches your hearts. I will miss the celebration of her life this week due to recent surgery, but my heartfelt prayers will be with you all.

Sue Boltach and family
Doug & Julie - Our deepest sympathy. We are praying for you.
Joey Gordon & family
As a fellow Hope student, I was so saddened to hear of Riley's death. I did not know Riley personally, but each day I saw her in class her upbeat and positive attitude shined through. She leaves behind this bright light for all to be inspired by.
Riley was a very beautiful girl. Let her love and inspiration to life keep on shining through us all
Doug & Julie - Hearts are braking all over West Michigan for your loss. Riley is loved by so many and impacted so many others. You are in my prayers and the prayers of all the Rietberg families.
Darryl Rietberg
Doug and Julie, We are in tears! We so loved having Riley with us at Siempre Para Los Ninos over her spring break. She was such a blessing to the children, so open to God's Will for her life.. Our hearts are wrapped around you as God wraps you in His Loving Arms.
Becky Avery
So sorry Julie and Doug and family for what you are going thru in the loss of another child! :( It is so heartbreaking! We are praying for comfort somehow. May God put His loving arms around you all!
Joanne, Rachel, Julie, and Laura Ballast
Thinking of you and wishing you peace.
Carrie Roberson
Julie, Doug and Family,
We have no words to express our sorrow for you all. Just know that we care so very much and are praying for you.
Barb (Rehner) and George Myers
Barbara Myers
We are so sorry about the loss of your dear daughter. It must be so very difficult to loose a child. Our son Ryan and our daughter Kristin went to Guatemala with Riley in 2011. Kristin spoke highly of Riley and really enjoyed fellowshipping with her. We pray that the Lord will comfort and strengthen you during this time and in the coming days.
Dan and Pat VandenHoek
I am deeply sorry and sad to hear this...Riley was my class mentor at RFL and she was always happy and smiling.She was my go to person..I will miss her.
I will pray for her and her family and friends...
Ree Desai..RFL student
The depth of sadness and sorrow I feel for you right now is beyond words. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Jennifer Charchan
We are so very sorry for your loss of your beautiful daughter. Riley is a sorority sister SIB with our daughter Sophie and son Collin Brady. Words cannot express the sorrow we all feel for your family. She was such a great person so strong and positive and a wonderful friend. Sophie always said that Riley was a ray of sunshine with her smile and could brighten any ones day. A hole has been left in the Hope family and SIB Sorority. She will be missed by everyone she touched.Continued prayers and love to your family.
Ursula Brian Sophie and Collin Brady
For my friend, Julie and your family - I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are in my thoughts and I wish you all peace in your time of grief.
Dana Rittenberg
Our hearts are so heavy at the loss of Riley. There truly are no words that can express our feelings, or lift you at this time. Just know, that you guys are being preyed for constantly. May You feel Gods arms around you.
The Murphy family
Peace,Prayers and Blessings to you and your family at this sad time.
Doug and Julie,
Ellen and I wish to express our deepest sympathies for your loss. Our prayers, and those of our entire congregation are with you.

Jeff & Ellen Gibson
Prayers are lifted for you and your family. May God grant you his infinite Grace and Peace.
Rob Rypma family
Doug and Julie, we are so very sorry to hear of your loss. A bright light dimmed too soon. Our prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Tess and Dan Clapper
Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel about the loss of your beloved daughter, Riley. May the love of those around you help you through the days ahead. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Emergency Care Specialists, PC
Our heartfelt sympathy to your family in the loss of Riley. She is a much loved SIB sorority sister of our daughter, Erika. May the strength and peace of our Lord and Savior lift you up in the days ahead.
Meredy & Peter Shima
So sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

The Carey Family
Just read the obits and saw Riley's beautiful smiling face and my heart broke for your family. Having children the same age, it just makes you shed a tears, even tho I am a stranger. Know that even people you don't know are lifting you up in prayer. It sounds like she was a shining light that will forever shine here.
Doug & Julie,
You and all of your family are in our thoughts and prayers........
May The Lord keep you safe and tight wrapped up in his everlasting arms. (((((Big Hugs)))))
Christopher Hyma
Doug & Julie,
Your loss is irreplaceable. There are no words to describe how sorry we are and can't imagine the sadness you must be feeling.
Your family is in our thoughts and prayers and may your faith and strength prevail to help you through this difficult time. Riley's memories will forever live on.
Jeff, Sheryl, and Tyler Steffens
Julie and Doug
Our prayers intercede for you as you go through this most trying time. The loss of a child is heart breaking.. Human words can not convey the sorrow that is felt by and for you. Only God can heal the hole in your heart.
Rick and Patti stang
Praying for your family!
Julie and Doug - your daughter was a beautiful person. I knew her only briefly through a second semester class and through rush, but she was one of the happiest people I have ever met. She will be dearly missed by everyone in the Hope community. Thoughts and prayers with you.
My prayers are with you. Remember Riley is now walking in God's garden in heaven.
Mary Long (PAS)
What a beautiful girl. Our family is so sorry to hear you have to go through this again. We will cover you in daily prayers!!!
Dan and Amy Scholma Calvin Chr. 1990
Julie, Doug and extended family, My parents are Joyce and Bernie Tuinstra. They called me to tell me about Riley. My heart is so heavy for you all in this tragic loss of another child yet again! The Lord has put you on my heart and mind repeatedly since Saturday morning. I am lifting up prayers to our God in Heaven who can be your only comfort and strength at this time. My mother's arms ache for you Julie. Tears just seem to fall thinking about all you have been through. Please know that I will continue to pray for you in the coming days!
Debbie (Tuinstra) Buckingham
Julie - It's been 11 years since I sold the salon but I still remember you bringing Riley,Travis (he always wanted the Princeton) and Chad in for haircuts. I cut theirs and yours and also cut and styled your mom's hair on a weekly basis. Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for your family today, Julie. We will continue to lift you and your family up in prayer and help pray you through this very difficult time and will pray for the peace that transcends all understanding. now and in the days to come.
Carol Borst
I've tried to type this message over and over again but kept pressing the delete button over what has been written... It is so hard to find words... Please know you have been constantly in our prayers... I know Todd thought the world of your kids and has spoken so highly of them. (Middle School teacher). They both have touched his life in a powerful way.
Sheila Doker
I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. I will keep you and your family in my prayers as you travel through these difficult times.
Laura Miller
Riley was a delightful and confident young lady. It was a pleasure watching her develop her artistic talent over the course of so many years. As she grew, the light in her eyes and the strength of her character showed a bright future ahead. I am so sorry for this horrific tragedy. My heart weeps with yours. May God hold you tightly in His great big arms of grace.
Beth Karanicola
grace + peace. praying for you.
Dear Julie and Doug...
As a part of the Hope community I wish to extend my deepest sympathies on the loss of your beautiful daughter. Having daughters the same age the loss is so vivid and yet surreal. I pray that our God of all love will wrap you in his strong arms ~bringing peace, comfort and release. Know that you are held in prayer by so many that you do not know...both tomorrow and in the months ahead as you grieve this tragedy. Our only comfort in life, and in death, is that we belong , body and soul to our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I will always remember your sense of humor. You were the light and life of a party and brought everyone so much joy. Your dedication to sports was always inspirational to me and pushed me to work harder. I will cherish the moments I had with you and see you in heaven. Praying for the Gortsema family daily for peace.
Dear Gortsema Family,

We would like to express our sincere condolences on the loss of your daughter.
Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Darwinplants, The Netherlands
Few of us can feel nor understand the depth of your pain right now. You have our most heartfelt sympathys. We pray the memories of a very full life with Riley will sustain both of you as well as our heavely Father presence and the countless prayers of those surrounding you now.

Dave and Margaret Feenstra
Doug and Julie, May God Bless you and keep as you walk through this valley. Are hearts hurt for you.
Jim and Tami Van Til
Julie, We met in Muskegon this year at a training event and had time over lunch to talk about our wonderful children who were in the Freshman class at Hope. We were reminded how small our world truly is when Riley confirmed she and Tony are friends. You have been on my mind and in my heart all weekend and I will continue to pray for peace for you and your family as you celebrate Riley's life and mourn her death.
Diana Byrne
Gortsema Family, We grieve with you and share your sorrow. Riley touched lives and brought joy to her many friends and to this world. May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, be with you.
Hope Parents
Julie and Doug - We will always remember that spirited, fun-loving little girl who was a best friend to Jamie throughout elementary school. They had so many fun times growing up and I was proud to call her my little cheerleader. We will continue to pray for you both and will hang on to all the wonderful memories of her.
Kim, Juan & Jamie
Dearest Gortsema Family, I join with the Hope family where my daughter, Addie, is a SIB sister with Riley, in sending you my deepest heartfelt sympathy and prayers during this difficult time. With love from Oregon.
Jane Brown
Doug and Julie, we are praying for you and your family. May The Lord keep you in the palm of his hand and give you his everlasting peace.
Carl Brouwer, Colorado
Julie, Doug, Twila, Marv, Natasha, and the rest of the family - Praying the you find comfort in a peace that comes even when understanding does not. Riley was a shining star who touched all who met her. I never knew her to complain or give up even when school or life was hard. Her love of Christ was evident. Holding your family in prayer as you travel this dark valley.
Jan Damsteegt DeJong
Doug and Julie,
Thinking of you in this most difficult time we keep you in our prayers with the thought that there may be only one set of footprints in the sand, we know that the Lord is with.

Henry&Sue Hoekstra (S&H Greenhouses)
May God's loving arms surround you during this difficult time. Proud to have your daughter as part of CCHS and Hope families(CCHS-90 and Hope 94 for me). Praying for you and your family.
Brett Vander Slik
Julie, Doug, Marv, Twyla, and family,
We are so sorry for the loss of your beloved Riley. We pray Christ will keep you in his tender care and cover you with blessings and peace.
Anne and Don Feyen
No words can describe this, so sorry for the Gortsema family, jesus said i am the resurection and the life, may you find peace in him in this very difficult time, will be praying for you.
matt witherow
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I know that Riley and I really never knew each other, but every time I would see her on campus she would make my day by asking how class was. Even though I was confined to a wheelchair, she would make me feel like an equal.

Thank you for impacting my life in such a huge way in so little of time!
Andrew Thompson

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