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Father of Michigan's First Surviving Sextuplets Dies While Playing with Kids

Ben Van Houten, described as a model son-in-law and father, died Wednesday doing what he loved most, "spending time with his kids," his father-in-law said.

The Van Houten family appeared on Fox 17 in August 2013.
The Van Houten family appeared on Fox 17 in August 2013.

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.

Also on Patch:

Fistinuranis April 11, 2014 at 03:42 PM
@melanie "interesting how this wonderful, godly man has a child that is younger than his sextuplets.." Do you think just because they had sextuplets that he and his wife stopped being intimate? It's more interesting that she would want a 7th after dealing with 6 all at once.
Southpaw April 11, 2014 at 04:27 PM
To someone above...you bet he smokes? Really, doctor? And you feel sorry for anyone whose parent smokes? What does that have to do with anything?
Anonymous April 14, 2014 at 05:14 PM
I know for a fact He absolutely was NOT a smoker. Get your facts straight before you begin running your mouth. There is a family history. This family is truly amazing, their story is amazing and I know them personally. This is also a horrific and tragic thing so if you having nothing positive to say keep it to yourself. Thank you
RON Ostrodamus April 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM
From some of these comments I can only conclude that approximately one in three people are morons. Look to your left and look to your right. If the first two people do not appear to be morons check your mirror.

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