The Van Houten Sextuplets are fatherless since their dad, Ben Van Houten, suffered a massive heart attack Wednesday night after setting up a trampoline in their yard. He was only 39 years old. He had the ten-year-old sextuplets, Michigan’s only surviving set, and another 7-year-old daughter.
The family resides in the Holland area of Western Michigan. The family made national news when wife Amy gave birth to the sextuplets over three days in a hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is a shocking trauma for the family obviously, but there was family history that probably had Ben a little worried. His own father died at the age of 40, also from heart problems, according to the AP.
His father-in-law spoke very highly of Ben as a loving husband and father to his seven kids. “Just to know Ben for even one day would be a blessing,” he said. He also added, “He was always spending time with the kids.”
The family was beloved by the community and that love showed as the couple began bringing home their new sextuplets in 2004. A local grocery store donated $1000 in gift cards as well as cases of diapers, baby food and baby care items. Ben is quoted as saying, “I can’t believe my kids are going to eat this much stuff.”
The community continued to support the new family as fellow church members worked shifts around the clock to help care for the babies in the couples’ modest 1300 sqft. home, according to MLive.com. The town even came together later and, with donated materials and volunteer labor, built the family a new 4 bedroom home big enough to house them all.
Now, it is certain that the community will come to the family’s aid again as they begin to deal with the tragedy of a life cut short and seven children that must grow up without their father.
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