Lee Van Ameyde passed away suddenly Friday, August 30, 2019 at the age of 66. He was a loving husband to his beautiful wife, Jan Van Ameyde. He knew Jan was the one the first time they met. He was also a loving father to his daughter Kendall, and his son Alexander (Belynda).
Lee was born on March 13th, 1953 to parents Olive and Marinus Van Ameyde. He grew up in Farmington Hills with brother Larry, Gary, and sister Betty. Lee was a proud graduate of the University of Michigan. He never missed the opportunity to watch the football team take the field, and cheer on his Wolverines. Go Blue!
Since his childhood, Lee dedicated his life to journalism and pursuing and reporting the news. His professional broadcasting career began in radio working in Ann Arbor, Flint, and Detroit. He then became a reporter, producer, managing editor, and news anchor.
His drive and excitement for his job eventually led him to a career at WZZM 13 News in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1977. For the next 40 years he became a constant and comforting presence in the West Michigan community, and touched the lives of many people. A highlight of his career at WZZM was working alongside co-anchor and friend Juliet Dragos for over 25 years. While he touched the lives of so many viewers, the viewers meant even more to him. Lee appreciated all their kind words over the years and believed his job was a privilege.
Lee was inducted into the Silver Circle by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for those who have given 25 years or more of exemplary service to the television industry. He received the Edward R. Murrow Award for best investigative reporting, an EMMY Award for crime reporting, an EMMY award for politics and government reporting, and numerous Michigan Association of Broadcasters awards. Lee also participated in numerous charitable, non-profit and community groups over the past 30 years. Some of these groups include the Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Arthritis Foundation, The Salvation Army, Vietnam Veterans, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Grand Rapids Chamber Choir.
All who knew Lee, knew he was an avid fan of Star Trek and all things Disney. He believed in a better future for all and the importance of space exploration as well as new discoveries and technology. He was forward thinker, an articulate writer and communicator. He also had an innate ability to make people laugh.
Sadly, Lee struggled with diabetes and kidney disease for the last few years of his life. While these conditions were crippling physically, emotionally, and financially, he never lost hope. He worked ever day to get better and looked forward to possibly working in broadcasting again. Lee is now on his next adventure and will be greatly missed.
An open memorial visitation will be held on Thursday, September 26, 2019 from 4-8pm at the Metcalf and Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 4291 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.
For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to his family to assist with their continued expenses.
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