Richard “Rich” Armbruster, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 12, 2023, after a fulfilling 88 years of life. Rich was born April 23,1935, to Rudolph and Theresa Armbruster of Detroit, Michigan, where he lived throughout his childhood along with three siblings, Rose, Rudy, and Kenny.
As a child, Rich enjoyed baseball, hanging around the neighborhood with his siblings and exploring the streets of Detroit in its heyday. At the age of 16 he began working as a stock boy at Big Bear Supermarket and was made manager by 18. It was here he met the love of his life, Cathy, with whom he would spend the next 67 years as husband and wife. While Rich kept his career moving in the grocery business, he and Cathy welcomed seven children over ten years. Rich was the best of both worlds, he had an inspiring work ethic, while also being a devoted family man. He strived to give his family a more comfortable life than he had as a child and was proud of the home he and Cathy provided for their family.
Throughout the years, his career brought his family to different cities as he took on roles from store manager to VP at Eberhard’s, A&P and Family Foods. After being in the grocery business for many years, Rich set out on his own venture and opened So-Low, a discount general store in Zeeland, from which he eventually retired.
Rich was a singer, a crooner, and a romantic. His memories always seemed to bring him back to the days of black and white films and Frank Sinatra. Those around him were treated to impromptu concerts daily, music was his language of love. This love was one that ran undeniably deep with resolute confidence in those he cared for and the unique ability to see past any faults. His laugh was hearty and contagious, a man who kept spirits bright and perpetually looked forward to the next family gathering or tradition.
When Rich was around there was always something new to be learned, a tidbit of knowledge to be shared. He had an uncanny knack for trivia and was especially adept at remembering every street he had ever driven on… in his entire life. He enjoyed traveling the world with Cathy, camping with his children and grandchildren, as well as yearly color trips in the fall. In his downtime, he could likely be found in his rose garden meticulously pruning, watering, and fertilizing, while striking up conversation with anyone walking by on a warm summer’s evening.
Rich was preceded in death by his loving wife, Catharina Armbruster; parents, Rudolph and Theresa Armbruster; siblings, Rose (Vince) Tocco, Rudolph (Joan) Armbruster, Kenneth Armbruster, son-in-law, Glen Dams; and sister-in-law, Nancy Walters. He will be dearly missed by his children, Rick (Mary), Sue (Tom), Cyndi (Ron), Sandy, Debi (Gerry), John, and Linda (Randy); 22 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren; loving friends, Sam and Jill Hendrickson; along with many nieces, nephews and extended family.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Matthysse Kuiper DeGraaf Funeral Home (Grandville) 4145 Chicago Drive SW. The service will be recorded and can be viewed later in the day by clicking on the Live Streams and Recordings tab at the top of this page. Relatives and friends may join the family Thursday from 10-10:45 a.m. at the funeral home for visitation. A special thank you to the caregivers at Green Acres of Standale and Hospice of Holland who helped him through his final months. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to Jenison Pink Out (PO Box 541, Jenison, MI 49428) or Hospice of Holland (270 Hoover Blvd, Holland, MI 49423) in Rich’s name.
Rich truly was one of a kind. His determination, generous spirit and loving nature will be a lifelong inspiration to us all. We forever love you, a bushel and a peck.