John Griep ’58
John Arthur Griep went to be with our Lord on September 13, 2022. One of four children born to Abe and Gertrude Griep, John was an intelligent and inquisitive child. John determined that hard work and focus were needed for one to be successful and self-sufficient. He also believed education would provide opportunity. These realizations set the course of John’s life and work.
John was guided in life by faith. He was pensive and reflective of Christ’s teachings. He was moved to serve the church on many levels including the roles of Deacon and Elder. His interest in biblical studies ultimately led him to attend seminary.
A point of pride in John’s life was his service in the Army for two years as part of the NATO peacekeeping forces after World War II. This experience gave him perspective on many levels. It introduced this young man from Grand Rapids, Michigan to the idea that people are people, no matter their color, creed, or background. He taught and lived these values throughout his life. He was described by many to be a kind and fair person.
Though he filled many roles throughout his life, paid or volunteered, John chose medicine as his profession. His specialty was hematopathology. He loved his work. He was a leader and a teacher in his field. He worked hard and studied constantly to be the best physician he could be. He was a professional guided by principle, integrity, and compassion. Towards the end of his career, he developed a passion for direct patient care. He regularly shared his enthusiasm for the personal connections made with patients and their families.
There was a playful side to this otherwise quiet and private man. This was evident when joking with and teasing those he loved. John was a magnet for the young children of his immediate and extended family. He also had a way with animals. As his children grew, John would share life lessons with them, not to preach but to teach and guide. He practiced and advocated for lifelong learning.
After retiring, John’s focus changed to enjoying life’s simple pleasures. He cherished the beauty of the natural world around him. He continued to engage with people and truly enjoy their company. His love for animals was always evident. There wasn’t a dog he’d pass by without stopping to pet and say hello to the owners. He and his cat Kianna shared a special bond.
John touched the lives of many people. His passing is grieved by his wife Marcia, his children, Lynnea Griep, Ann Griep ’85 (Philippe Backeljauw), Kathryn (Richard) Lipski; his grandchildren, Barynia Backeljauw (Abhinav Tandon), Nathalia Backeljauw, Amanda (Joe) Gonzales, Stacey (Scott) Mead; his great granddaughters Karley Mead and Kenzie Mead; his children by marriage Bob (Lisa) Baker, Dave (Molly) Baker, and Dawn Papachronis (Minas Perdicologos); grandchildren by marriage Bobby (Elizabeth) Baker, Alex Baker, Sarah Baker, and Will Baker along with many cousins, nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by others who knew him well.