A powerful role model, Greg LaForge was a kindhearted man who lived a life rich in family and friends. Greg's infectious spirit and faith in humanity inspired everyone who was blessed to meet him. Welcoming every day as a gift and every person as a friend, Greg never hesitated to lend a hand in the service of others. In his good company, happiness grew and challenges were met with confidence. Greg embraced marriage, fatherhood, career, and community with humility, integrity, and grace. Revered by many, Greg will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The early 60’s proved a time of much excitement. While cars continued to evolve as more compacts appeared and sold well, Alan Shepard manned the country's first space flight. Popular music included Chubby Checker's "Pony Time" and "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles, while "West Side Story" and "The Parent Trap" dominated the movie theaters. Nowhere was there more excitement than in the lives of Richard "Dick" and Phyllis LaForge as they welcomed their son Greg into their family on November 30, 1961 in Gary, Indiana.
Growing up in Pontiac, Cadillac, and then Otsego, Greg's early years proved a firm foundation upon which to build the rest of his life. While his father worked as a guidance counselor, his mother was a nurse at Borgess. Both of his parents were hard workers who dedicated their lives to their family and serving others. Greg shared a close relationship with his brother, Mark, who was less than a year older. Greg liked to do whatever was the opposite of his brother. During his high school years, Greg excelled in wrestling and enjoyed working the stage lighting for theater productions. He graduated with the Otsego High School class of 1979.
After high school, Greg attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Nazareth College, eventually transferring to Western Michigan University. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, Greg embarked on a career as a software developer working at Flowserve, Parker Motor Freight, and The Great Information Factory. In time, he continued his education and graduated with his Masters of Business Administration degree in 1992.
In 1981 Greg began dating his former schoolmate and the love of his life, Sheri Lyn Broadhurst. The young couple fell in love and soon set their hearts on sharing their lives with one another. On May 18, 1985, they exchanged their marriage vows and officially began their 35-year adventure. In May of 1992, they became parents when their son Eric was born. Seven years later, in December of 1999, their family was complete upon the birth of their son Kevin. A devoted husband and father, Greg relished in family life. He was a super supportive and involved dad who gladly attended and cheered on each of his sons’ endeavors, including 6 a.m. hockey practices.
Greg dedicated 22 years of his life to the Boy Scouts of America, serving as Cubmaster and Committee Chair of Pack 3024, Scoutmaster of Troop 35, and participating in the Venturing Program. He loved camping with the Scouts and was planning a hiking trip to Alaska, but his favorite Scout trip was the one to Hawaii. He enjoyed sharing his adventurous, outdoorsy spirit and putting his passion for cooking to the test with new recipes for Scout Camp. Greg was a terrific teacher and mentor who embodied the principles he believed in. He consistently led with his heart. With his legendary "That'll do it," Greg reflected the greatness he so easily saw in others.
Without a doubt, Greg's greatest joy was his family. The happiest days of his life were the days his sons were born, and a perfect moment was any moment spent with those he loved. Whether taking his friends and family for boat rides at Gun Lake, hosting pool parties and BBQs, or playing strategy games, Greg loved a full house, especially if his children Eric, Brenna, Kevin and Jayden and his granddaughter Nora were there. Many treasured memories were made exploring the hiking trails and lava flows at Hawaii Volcano National Park, growing his photography skills, making ice rinks for the kids, and highlighting the year with epic Fourth of July parties.
Clearly, it is hard to imagine a world absent of Greg's steadfast presence. His love for life, unwavering faith in the goodness of others, and loyal friendship will be missed beyond measure. And, while his days with us were far too few, may we find comfort in knowing that with each moment we listen with our hearts, greet a stranger as a friend, give freely of our time and talents, enjoy a pool party, and enjoy taking a boat ride, we carry Greg's loving legacy forward in our own lives. In so doing, Greg's love and light will continue to inspire countless others as he so inspired us.
Gregory Lee LaForge of Plainwell, MI, passed away unexpectedly on July 20, 2020, at the age of 58, surrounded by his family.
Greg is survived by his wife Sheri, their children Eric (Brenna) LaForge and Kevin LaForge (Jayden Guarisco), his brother Mark, his granddaughter Nora, and many friends and family. He was preceded in death by his parents Richard and Phyllis LaForge.
A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, August 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home Marshal Gren Chapel; 120 S. Woodhams St. in Plainwell. A memorial service will follow at 11:00 at the same location. Donations can be made in his name to the Plainwell Scout Troop #35, or to ACCF Greg LaForge Memorial Scholarship, PO Box 278, Allegan, MI 49010, or online at https://alleganfoundation.org/product/greg-laforge-memorial-scholarship-fund/.