Ben Van Houten, the sextuplets dad whose children are now 10 years old, had just set up a trampoline for the kids in the family’s backyard and was playing with the children when he suddenly and unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Wednesday night. He was only 39 years old, reports The Grands Rapids Express on April 10.
Calvin Reimink, who is Van Houten’s father-in-law, said that the father of the sextuplets was a dedicated dad who always played with his children and spent time with them. Ben's own father had died of heart problems at age 40 when Ben was only seven years old, and he knew how precious a dad was for a child. Reimink called him the best son-in-law that anyone could ever wish for. His death is a devastating tragedy that not only affects Van Houten’s wife Amy and their children, but anyone who has been following the heart-warming story of the family.
The sextuplets were born in January of 2004 at a Grand Rapids hospital three months prematurely, and they were the first surviving group of six multiples in Michigan. The children, who were born during the course of three days, were tiny at birth. The largest was only 2lb 1oz. Despite the odds, the sextuplets, John, Nolan, Peyton, Gerrit, Kennedy and Sammy, survived and are now 10 years old. John and Gerrit have cerebral palsy and need special care. Ben and Amy have one other child, a daughter Drew, who is seven years old.
When describing the amazing family, Reimink said that his son-in-law was a great father to his seven children. “Ben taught his kids to love God. If they misbehaved, he would gently instruct them with encouragement from the Bible. He wanted to be the very best father he could. And he excelled,” he said.
Van Houten had worked for 17 years at TUV/SUD in Holland, an internationally known company that is dedicated to testing and certifying products. “We ensure your products are safe, reliable and ready for the U.S. and global marketplace,” writes the company on its website. On Thursday, the sextuplet dad’s co-workers were shocked by the tragic death. Van Houten’s work had involved building test equipment, and he was known as a hard worker by his colleagues. His desk still looked the way he had left it the day before – decorated with pictures of his family.
Ben Van Houten, the sextuplets dad of seven children who dedicated his life to his family, to his work, and his community by serving as a deacon at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland and as a Christian youth program leader, is leaving behind a big void. As one of his co-workers expressed it -- "he will be greatly missed. We're going to do our best to support his memory and his family."