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Lance Lee John Barber, age 39, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away unexpectedly on May 12, 2023.


Lance was born in Portland, Michigan to Kathryn A. Bourdon (Barber) and Craig A. Scheurer.


He graduated from Holland High School and attended Grand Rapids Community College.


Following culinary school, Lance went on to work at several Grand Rapids’ area restaurants. He was an accomplished chef and won numerous culinary awards during his career including the Golden Ladle Award (2011), Iron Chef Judges Choice Award (2017), Larkin’s 17″ Annual Chili Cookoff – First Place (2018), and Ada Chili and Beer Festival Champion (2018). He leaves a legacy of determination and inspiration in the restaurant industry.


His family includes his beautiful daughters, Alyssa-Mae K. Barber (fiance, Zachary T. Bursley) and Evelyn T. Barber; his mother Kathryn (Jeffrey) Bourdon; his siblings Carrie (Corey) Stammis and Victoria (Ryan) Smalley; and the mothers of his children, Carolyn Sternisha and Riley Vaughn.


Lance was preceded in death by his grandfather, Bruce E. Barber, Sr., and great grandmother, Kathryn M. Reed.


Lance had an authentic energy that touched everyone he came in contact with. He was a gifted artist, chef, and treasure hunter. Above all, Lance loved his daughters and strived to be the best father he could. He was a genuine soul that will be deeply missed.


He will be forever remembered for his kindness and sense of humor.

A Celebration of Life will be held Johnson Park (Walker, Michigan) on May 25, 2023 from 4-7pm.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Lance’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, 616-452-3006.


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10 Condolences

  1. Allison Morgan on May 19, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    My heart goes out to all of you. To Lances mom, sisters, children, family and friends, I hope you can find peace in this difficult time. I didn’t know Lance well but anytime I saw him he always made me feel like we’ve always been friends. The proof of his kind demeanor and huge heart is in the memories and photos that will live on forever. I love looking through the photos shared and seeing how much he loved and supported his people and the look in his eyes when spending time with his daughters. A particular favorite photo is of Kathy and Lance when he was just a baby, how special the bond of a mother and son especially knowing the extraordinary life changes that the two you went through together, growing up alongside your first born. Thinking of you all. Big hugs ❤️

  2. Leah Bieri on May 20, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Lance and I had our own special Bond since I can remember.
    When I was younger, like 8th-9th I met Lance. He treated me as one of his very own sisters since the very beginning.

    Lance and I Would talk crap to each other, seeked advice from each other and as years went on and as we both got older, the shit talking was just a fun way we showed love to each other.
    The advice we gave each other would only become more intense and real and I think that’s what bonded us most. He would come to Moms and sit outside with me while the girls were with their boyfriends (I wasn’t cute until after high school) and we would smoke way too many cigarettes and just talk about life… for hours.
    A great memory I have is my 2007
    senior Prom. This day wouldn’t have been anything it was without Lance. We were treated like royalty at one of Grand Rapids nicest restaurants inside the BoB. Our entire group all felt the love and hospitality.

    He was a great Brother and an even better friend.

    Until we meet again Lance

  3. Zoe on May 20, 2023 at 10:47 am

    Lance was literally one of the biggest hearted people I’ve ever known. He showed so much genuine kindness to people. I never felt like I was out of place or unwelcomed around him. We had a lot of fun bonding moments and heart to hearts over the years and I wish I had more. I looked up to him in multiple ways, not the least of which was his ability to make anyone feel comfortable and cared for. Watching him as a dad was really something special. He was really like a big brother to me. I love you guys, thinking about you.

  4. Cindy Stammis on May 20, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    I can remember going to Ada Pour House with friends after work for dinner & happy hour where Lance was Chef. He always made it a point to come to
    my table to say hello and give me a hug! I always felt so special! He was an outstanding Chef , father, son, brother, uncle, friend etc. He will be greatly missed.
    I am so sorry for your loss,
    My love and prayers to all of you.

  5. lorie kiebach on May 22, 2023 at 11:40 am

    My deepest sympathies and prayers to you Kathy and your family heart hurts for you all

    Love you
    Lorie kiebach

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