Almost 400 attend funeral of construction worker killed in Bear Lake.

October 1, 2018

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Almost 400 attend funeral of construction worker killed in Bear Lake.

WEARE TOWNSHIP (Oceana County) — Nearly 400 people attended the funeral of Andre Glen Alvesteffer Saturday at St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery. The 20-year-old Weare Township man was killed by a motorist on Sept. 25, 2018 while working in a construction zone along US 31 in the Village of Bear Lake (see related story here).

Read Andre’s obituary here.

Eight of Alvesteffer’s friends served as pallbearers and wore construction vests.

Alvesteffer was pronounced dead at the scene after he was struck by a 2013 Ford Taurus, driven by a 66-year-old Bear Lake woman. Damon Williamson, 23, of Ludington was seriously injured after being struck by the same vehicle. Williamson was transported by helicopter to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Both men were working in a construction zone when the Taurus apparently crossed the centerline, left the roadway, according to Sheriff John O’Hagan.

Both men were graduates of Mason County Central High School.

Sheriff O’Hagan said the crash remains under investigation. Michigan law states fines are doubled in construction zones.

Andre Alvesteffer

The following is the eulogy written about Alvesteffer and read during his funeral by Carla Hanson:

First and foremost, on behalf of Darrel, Helen, Aaron, and The Alvesteffer and Villadsen families, we want to express our deepest and sincerest appreciation to all of you for being here today and for honoring Andres life with such beauty and grace.   Words could never begin to express our gratefulness to all of you, for the phone calls, visits, food, and everything that you have done for our family these past few days.   In addition, thank you, all of you, for being Andre’s friend and our friend.    

As we gather here today, still reeling from the tragic death of Andre, we are shocked, scared and angered at the unfairness and senselessness that took him from us.   We seek guidance and understanding of why such a precious and hard-working young man was called home so soon.  It is said that this is all a part of God’s plan and he is in a better place now, but our hearts are shattered and we are broken.    

Your compassion, love, and support is what is helping us through this incredibly difficult time.

On August 2, 1998, a beautiful soul was born to his parents, Helen and Darrel, named Andre Glen Alvesteffer. He came into this world at 12:02 a.m. He was one of those easy baby deliveries, only an hour and half in labor, and a beautiful blue-eyed baby boy was welcomed to the world.    Throughout his childhood years, he was surrounded by his big brother Aaron and so many cousins that he was able to enjoy childhood with. 

Lena, Kristi, Stephanie, Stephen, Wyatt, Wayland, Sam, Shawn and Gracie, all like brothers and sisters versus cousins.   They spent countless hours enjoying life at the Lake with Grandma Phyllis and Grandpa Mark.  As you can see from many of the pictures, they made lifelong memories at a small little cottage on St. Mary’s Lake. 

As Andre grew into his adolescent years, his passion for dirt bikes became his love interest.  I think we can blame that on Uncle Dean, since he gave Andre his first dirt bike at Christmas when Andre was 7-years-old. Not surprising from Dean, since Andre resembled Dean the most, with both his personality and that little smirk. Who could keep him from this dangerous two wheeled sport?  No one. Afterall, it was the Alvesteffer tradition – they all rode these wildly dangerous machines at an early age and loved every minute of it.  If you were an Alvesteffer, it was in your DNA to take risks and fly high. Andre learned his riding techniques from his Dad, Uncles, and Brother Aaron. And if you know Helen, you know that she was anxious most of the time; after-all, those were her baby boys out there riding an extremely fast, doing crazy jumps and wheelies. 

Helen was so protective and worried constantly about her children, but she also knew she had to let them pursue their dreams and passions, like any great mother does.  She just prayed that they would take every precaution and word of advice to ride safely. When Helen told them “you aren’t going to ride on the road with those things”, Aaron and Andre decided…hmmm….what do we do now? I know, let’s build a practice track behind Uncle Daren’s, yeah, that’s a great idea. One way or another, they were going to ride those dirt bikes, come hell or high water.   Oh, and let’s not forget, when they were thirsty from the dust flying, they would quickly ride across the street to Grandma Phyllis’s yard and pick up a Mountain Dew, to go.  Helen wasn’t buying Mountain Dew but of course Grandma was. And as Doreen would say, “those boys always took after their Dad, didn’t know how to keep two wheels on the ground, the more air the better”.   

They kept Uncle Daren and Dad busy in those younger years, repairing all the damage they did from riding the day before. According to Jake, Andre’s great friend, Andre dreamed of working hard, saving his money, and within five years, he wanted to build his own Bike Track for riders and kids to enjoy. Andre also loved the farming lifestyle, and would often borrow and puts around with Dennis and Devary’s tractors.

Andre developed his profound passion for the outdoors, including, hunting and fishing with the Villadsen family.

Andre learned how to target practice, site guns and bow and rifle hunt with his grandfather Mike, Grandmother Bonnie, and Uncle Lester.  Andre always looked forward to the youth hunt, where he would quickly scurry over to the Villadsen homestead to prepare for hunting season.   This past year, Mike, Bonnie and Lester built a hunting shack for the grandkids to enjoy. In addition, Lester took Aaron and Andre this past year to the Whitetail dinner where lifelong memories were made. Lester was able to share Andre’s passion for going fast at an early age, as he took him for rides in his demo car.

Birthdays were always a special memory for Bonnie and her grandchildren. As their birthdays approached, Bonnie would ask Aaron and Andre, “what do you want for your birthday and the boys would quickly reply “we want to go shopping with you, Grandma”. When Andre and Aaron were younger, they looked forward to spending time with Grandpa Kokx and loved playing Uno together.   

A common characteristic that has been mentioned by so many is Andre’s work ethic.   He worked extremely hard at his career and as a result of that hard work, he was able to purchase his first brand new white Ford truck with his Dad, Darrel, a few months ago.  His career at Gustafson’s  HDD afforded him the opportunity to have new wheels.  Andre was proud to work beside his cousin, Jeff and Uncle Daren.  Jeff and Daren were incredible mentors to Andre, where they took him under their wing to teach him more and more about the drilling trade.  Andre looked forward to going to work – not only because it was a family affair, but because he loved what he did for a living and he had the best guys possible by his side, in Jeff and Daren, teaching him every step of the way.  Jeff, Thank you for giving Andre his start in life and for being an amazing teacher, mentor, boss and cousin.   He looked up to you and rightfully so.     We love you and please know, Andre loved you too. 

Sept. 25, a date that is permanently etched in our minds and hearts forever.  Glen Alvesteffer, Darrel’s father and Andre’s grandfather, went home to the Lord, 32 years ago to the date that Andre was tragically taken from our family. As stated to me by Andre’s grandma Phyllis, out of every tragedy comes some triumph. Our family comes together today, just as it did 32 years ago.  On September 29, this very day at this very time, six Alvesteffer children sat at funeral home, similar to today, mourning the loss of their father, Glen, at his funeral service. There is no doubt that Glen had some hand in the devine intervention that kept Darrel from the work site on that tragic day that claimed the life of Andre. And although, Andre never had the opportunity to meet his Grandpa Alvesteffer, he beared his name proudly, Andre “Glen” Alvesteffer”.  We are certain that Grandpa Glen met Andre at heavens gates and opened the door for his beautiful soul to arrive.  September 25 will be a day of deep sadness, but also a day of reflection, importance and love in the Alvesteffer family, two family members taken home on the same day.   

And, as they say, when an angel is called home, another life begins. On September 25, Andre’s good friend from work, Ken Ferweda and his wife, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy – named “Emmitt Joseph Andre”.  Ken and family, it means so much to us to have your precious baby boy named in memory of Andre.  Andre’s legacy and impact on the world will live on through your son.

To Bonnie, Mike, Phyllis and Mark – nothing is more rich than the relationship amongst a grandparent and grandchild.   Its’ tremendously unfair that you are forced to say goodbye to your grandchild today.  No grandparent should ever have to endure a day like today.    Andre was one of the lucky ones though, the was able to say, that God granted him with the best grandparents possible. Each of you had your very own and special relationship with Andre that can be cherished  forever.  Hold those memories in your heart and know that you provided enrichment to his life by being his grandparent. 

To Aaron, every person in this room is praying exceptionally hard for you.   We don’t know why this happened and we can’t begin to imagine how deeply your heart is hurting.  His life was far too brief and we are so incredibly sorry that your brother was taken so soon.  But, take comfort in knowing that you were the best big brother and best friend Andre could of ever hoped for.  He admired you and looked up to you, continue to make him proud, Aaron.   There is an unbelievable amount of love in this room for you and know that you will see Andre again someday.      

To Darrel and Helen, to say it’s been an emotional few days, is an understatement.  No one can possibly understand or empathize to the hurt you are feeling and the gaping hole that’s in your hearts, but, look around this room, you have all of us and we are here for you.   If we could take away the pain you are feeling, we would and when you are alone and grieving, hold tight to the memories and the beautiful human being you gave the world.   You are extraordinary parents and you are loved so much by so many. There are no answers to why this happened and why God wanted Andre so soon.    You were lucky and privileged that God chose you to be Andre’s parents, even if it was only for a little while.   You will find yourself being alone at times with tears flowing,  but take comfort in knowing you gave all of us the very best part of you, and that was Andre. 

In closing, 

Dearest Andre, there are no words to explain the loss that we are feeling.   A tragedy so profound and unimaginable.  The past few days has questioned our strength and certainly our faith, but we know that we have to put one in foot in front the other and take that next breath –  we have to go on, go on for you.   We have no doubt that God has provided you with the best bike track possible and we are certain you have already taken a few test runs.   We are confident that the popcorn in heaven – has more butter and salt than the popcorn here on Earth.  So, enjoy your favorite pastime along with your favorite snack, until we get there.   Although we weren’t given enough time with you, we are blessed to have had you in our lives even for a short time.  You will live deeply within Aaron in everything that he conquers in the world.   He will have the ultimate angel on his shoulder rooting for him the entire way, in you.   We are thankful for you, Andre, thankful that you were given to us from God  and our life is richer because of you.    God bless you, Andre, we love you.

Thank you all.