Dad of Mich. sextuplets suffers fatal heart attack

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The father of Michigan’s first set of surviving sextuplets has passed away.

Ben Van Houten, 39, was playing in his yard Wednesday night with his children and had just completed setting up a trampoline for them when he suffered a fatal heart attack, according to Van Houten’s father-in-law, Calvin Reimink.

Reimink said his son-in-law, who had a history of heart problems, was “a loving dad who always put God first.”

Van Houten and his wife of 15 years, Amy, became local media fixtures after the January 2004 births of their sextuplets, John, Gerrit, Samantha, Nolan, Peyton and Kennedy. The couple also has another daughter, Drew, who Reimink said is now 7 years old.

“He was the most selfless person I’ve ever met. He was just a servant, through and through. Every fiber,” Amy Van Houten said in a statement provided by the Van Houtens’ Church, Calvary Baptist in Holland.

Ben Van Houten was baptized into Calvary Baptist 16 years ago and he was a deacon on the church’s leadership council.

The pastor of that church, Pastor Paul Davis, said he was too emotional to speak on camera Thursday, but said that he is neighbors with the Van Houtens and that he was close to Ben Van Houten. He said his church will provide support for the family.

Funeral services will be Monday, though more precise details have not yet been released.

The full statement from Calvary Baptist Church:

Ben Van Houten was a man who loved God, loved his wife and his children, and loved people. He made it clear who he was…He was God’s.

“He was the most selfless person I’ve ever met. He was just a servant, through and through. Every fiber,” said Amy Van Houten, Ben’s wife.

Ben and his wife, Amy, served together in many ways. Ben had a heart to serve God and His people and to show his children that their life was not about them and their comfort; it was about God putting them here to glorify Him in everything they did. Ben was a great father who instilled a spirit of service within his children. He taught them to joyfully open doors, greet, and welcome people each Sunday morning. He encouraged them to write notes to the elderly.

Ben and Amy together had a heart for growing godly marriages and families. They opened their hearts and their home to countless couples throughout their 15 years of marriage. Ben, along with his wife, Amy, shepherded dozens of families as Community Group Leaders at Calvary as well.

Ben Van Houten, 39, became a baptized member of Calvary Baptist Church 16 years ago.

He and his wife most recently played an active part in Calvary’s Children’s Ministry, serving as Calvary’s Awana Directors, as part of the Children’s Ministry Leadership team, and in Calvary’s Vacation Bible School outreach each summer. Ben also mentored countless children through Calvary’s bus ministry.

Ben Van Houten was dedicated in his servant leadership through his position as deacon on Calvary’s Leadership Council.

Ben was a respected friend, teacher, and mentor to many people in Calvary’s congregation and the community. He will be dearly missed.

The funeral for Ben will be on Monday, April 14. More details will be release as we receive them.

We will strive to determine how we can best help Amy and her children and will also provide this information as it evolves.

At this time, in order to allow the family to grieve together, we ask that you do not visit their home.

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