The father of Michigan’s first surviving sextuplets died of a heart attack Wednesday while playing with his children. Ben Van Houten was 39.
His father-in-law, Calvin Reimink, told the The Grand Rapids Press that Van Houten had just set up a trampoline in the family’s back yard and was playing with his children when he suffered the sudden heart attack.
“He was always spending time with his kids,” said Reimink, who described Van Houten as the best son-in-law anyone could ask for, as well as a dedicated father.
Reimink said Van Houten taught his children to love God and often used the words in the Bible to to correct his children when they misbehaved.
"Just to know Ben for even one day would be a blessing,” Reimink told the newspaper.
Amy Van Houten gave birth to the sextuplets, now 10, in January 2004 at 23 to 25 weeks’ gestation on Jan. 7, 16 and 17, 2004, at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.
John, Gerrit, Samantha, Nolan, Peyton and Kennedy were the first group of six multiples to survive in Michigan. Two of the children have cerebral palsy and require special care, the newspaper said.
Ben Van Houten also leaves behind a daughter, Drew, who is 7.
Reimink said his daughter is receiving help from friends at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, where her husband was a deacon and youth program leader, but he worries about her and the children.
Funeral arrangements are pending through Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes.
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