“Luke, I love you more than anything in this entire world.” ~ Forever, Mom
With deepest sorrow, we announce that our Luke (aka Lukie) Thomas Balstad, our most amazing human being, at the young age of only 19 years old, passed suddenly on Monday, November 14, 2022.
We welcomed Luke into the world on July 12, 2003, in Tucson, Arizona. He immediately made the world a brighter place. We knew instantly we had a blessing on our hands. He was perfect! Those who knew our Luke, even just a little, lost a shining light in their lives. A true angel.
Luke graduated from Hudsonville High School and continued his education at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was a sophomore. If you knew Luke, you knew he loved learning and school.
Since Luke’s death, many have written about how special he was and how fortunate they were to have known him. If you knew him, you never forgot him. Even with his presence in a room, without him saying a word, his beautiful smile would fill your heart with joy.
As one of his close teachers wrote, “His impact on all of us, even though he was young, cannot be understated. Luke was a light in this world. Many students today talked about the kind words Luke had for them. They talked about how he made them feel valued and accepted. They talked about an incredible respect for him. He took the time to value others and means so much to so many people.” That was our Luke.
We celebrate his ever-present smile and the warmth, depth, and intelligence behind it.
We admire his commitment to learning and his plans to change the future. Luke dreamed of medical school. His curiosity was contagious.
Most of all, we recall the sheer pleasure of his company, how good he made them feel, how free they were to be themselves around him, and how much they will miss him. Luke encouraged everyone to be exactly who they were. He cared about people in the purest way. He loved them for who they were and because he wished the best for them, without asking anything in return.
Luke had so much goodness, so much capacity to bring happiness to others, and such a bright future. He spent endless amounts of effort ensuring others were taken care of. He loved so big!
The world is a lesser place without him.
Luke will be missed every day, every minute, by his mother, Kim Van Antwerp; his stepfather Chris Van Antwerp; father, Dean Balstad; best friend and sister; Sydney; big brother Caleb; stepsisters Ashlee and Skyler Van Antwerp; grandfather Tom Norris; grandparents Pat Balstad, Shelia Van Antwerp, and Dan Van Vantwerp; aunt and uncle Sommer and Coby McDougal; aunt Becky Reeves; uncle Mike Norris; cousins Camden, Emma, Tristan, Jackee, Judy, Sarah, Hailee, Gavin, and more loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and numerous friends he considered family.
We know Luke is now with his Nana, Linda Norris. He will continue to be loved here on earth, and she will ensure he is loved in heaven.
We LOVE and MISS you so much. You made us proud every single day. You will forever be present in our hearts, minds, and spirits. Since the very day you were born, you made US better human beings. We promise to carry on your dreams and aspirations, your passions and commitments, your love, and especially your desire to better understand and advocate for mental illness.
Luke will be cremated, and after services in Michigan, he will return to his favorite place on Earth, our family ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Do us a favor. If you see a penny, pick it up. Never let it pass. It is Luke sending you a message to see the beauty in each day, tell all of those around you how much you love them, search deep to love exactly who you are, and with every ounce of what you have, be kind and take care of others.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 20th from 4 to 7pm at the Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 4291 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 followed by a funeral service on Monday, November 21st at 6:30pm at Monroe Community Church, 1020 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
In lieu of flowers, it would mean more to the family if you would consider donating to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 199 Water Street, 11th Floor, New York NY 10038 or the National Alliance on Mental Illness P.O. Box 3503, Grand Rapids MI 49501.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
199 Water Street, 11th Floor, New York NY 10038
National Alliance on Mental Illness - Grand Rapids Chapter
PO Box 3503, Grand Rapids MI 49501