The Van Houten sextuplets have been left bereft of a father. Their dad died of a heart attack at the age of 39.
Ben Van Houten, the proud father of the only sextuplets in the Michigan area, breathed his last when he had a cardiac arrest recently. He was just 39 years old.
Van Houten had worked at several jobs, including a German firm and a church. He had been constructing a trampoline for the little kids to jump up and down on when the fatal incident occurred.
His father-in-law Calvin Reimink had said that Van Houten was spending most of his time with the kids. He was the ideal father. The sextuplets were born some ten years ago and there was a seven year old younger daughter named Drew as well.
"He thought the sun rose and set on those kids," said Reimink. "They couldn't have had a better father than him."
While Ben’s wife Amy is receiving help from the church he worked for, raising the prepubescent kids without a father will be a difficult job. The loss is a very real one.
Van Houten’s father had died of a heart attack too at the age of 40. Ben was the best father and son-in-law according to Reimink. He taught his children the principles of Christianity with diligence. And he used the Bible to instruct them when they did something wrong.
But Ben never used force and would gently guide them towards the right path. The atmosphere in his home and work environment is one of somber sorrow. He was the best man anybody ever knew. And even now his desk is littered with pictures of his wife and kids whom he loved so much.
It just seems unfair in a way that such a good individual had to go at such a tender age. Ben was also a very able worker. He did what he could for his company. The man will not be forgotten easily.
The church officials are collecting enough money to allow his wife and children to live relatively well off despite the loss of a breadwinner. But nothing can replace the vacuum left behind by Ben’s departure from this world.
"He will be greatly missed," said Steve Dykstra, vice president of testing at Holland's TUV/SUD, where Van Houten had worked for about 17 years said. "We're going to do our best to support his memory and his family."