GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Clarence Hogeterp, owner of Redux Books in Grand Rapids, tragically passed away on Friday, June 3.
Hogeterp, 76, was biking with a friend during his lunch break from the store on Spaulding Avenue near Watermark Drive in Cascade Township just after 12 p.m.
Police believe Hogeterp turned in front of a vehicle driven by a 74-year-old woman from Belmont. He died on the scene, just one mile from his home.
"The facts are not difficult to understand; the meaning is beyond belief. Our hearts are broken," staff wrote on Facebook.
The book store, located in Eastown, is known for its antique, collector's item books. It will be temporarily closed while arrangements are made.
On Monday evening, a collection of flowers sit outside on the doorstep.
Next door to the shop, a table has been set aside at Matchbox Diner and Drinks in Hogeterp's memory. Staff there say he was more than just a regular customer.
"He was in first thing in the morning, he had his ice water and his pot of black coffee. And usually a lox platter unless he was mixing it up with some blueberry pancakes," restaurant manager Alyssa Gregory says. "He asked questions and he really cared about the answers. And he remembered things. He was like a dad to a lot of us. You know, he told a lot of us he was proud of us. And he meant it when he said it."
After the crash, his daughter came to the restaurant to ask for a prayer. Less than an hour later, staff got the news that he didn't make it.
"Thankfully the restaurant was empty at the time because there was definitely a group cry, a very powerful group cry," Gregory says.
Over the 21 years that the store was open, Hogeterp also made an impact on his customers, like Sam Geers, a local freelance videographer.
"I really remember his wittiness, I think more than anything, just how funny he was," he says.
When he was a film student at Grand Valley State University, he and a friend made a documentary about Hogeterp.
"I've always loved reading and I've always sort of had a dream of maybe opening a bookstore," Hogeterp said in the documentary.
His dream became a reality when he retired, and Geers says Hogeterp helped his dreams come true. too.
"Gaining Clarence's trust, just him allowing Dan and I to do what we wanted to do and film him and just kind of be flies on the wall in the store really gave me the confidence to pursue this as a career," he says.
"He's incredibly and sorely missed," Gregory says. "Our hearts go out to the family. And we just hope that they're finding healing in this time. And from all of us here at Matchbox, it's just devastating. We're just incredibly sad of his passing and we're hoping the best for them."
The shop is receiving an outpouring of love from one-time customers to regulars who loved Clarence's presence in the store.
The shop said they'll announce a reopening date and details on a memorial service on their Facebook page here.
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