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Robert Ernest Ribbe, MD, “Poppy”, passed away at his home early Sunday morning July 10, 2022 surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife June of 59 years, three children Robert Jr.

(Jackie), Sandy Hansen (Peter), and Scott (Jami Stehouwer), ten grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and his brother John. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Paul.

Bob was born in 1937 in Patterson, NJ to Reverend Walter and Grace Ribbe. He attended Wheaton College where he studied chemistry and was a member of the Army ROTC. Following graduation, he went on to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.  Dr. Ribbe began his medical practice in the United States Army with an internship at Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. He went on to complete a residency in general surgery in Ft Knox, Kentucky followed by a residency in orthopedic surgery at Tripler Army Hospital and Shriner’s Children Hospital in Honolulu, HI. During the height of the Vietnam war, Bob deployed to the 311th Field Hospital where he served from 1968-9. After his time in Vietnam, he practiced at the West Point Army Hospital.  In 1971, Dr. Ribbe moved his family to Grand Rapids, MI and began his tenure as active senior staff of orthopedic surgery for Butterworth Hospital. He served in this position passionately and tirelessly until his retirement from medicine in 1994. During his life he was a member of many organizations, including the Christian Medical/Dental Society with whom he shared his talents and knowledge during trips to Kenya, Romania, and Taiwan. In addition, Bob spent nearly 20 years in prison ministry, and was involved extensively alongside his wife in ministering to international students from Grand Valley State University. He was an unwavering believer in Jesus, and unapologetically demonstrated this through his words and ongoing generosity throughout his life. He was an active member of First Evangelical Covenant Church for 51 years. He loved spending time at their cottage, fishing, reading and studying scripture, traveling and spending time with family.

Visitation will be held at 10:00 am on Thursday, July 14, 2022 at First Evangelical Covenant Church (1933 Tremont Blvd. NW Grand Rapids) followed by a memorial service at 11:00 am.

Any memorial contributions can be made to Faith Hospice of Grand Rapids, and New Creations Prison Ministry.

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


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11 Condolences

  1. David B. (Carol) Crandall on July 16, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    Dear Mrs. Ribbe,
    It was my privilege to serve with Bob for a short time at the POW Hospital in Viet Nam. We had some wonderful times of sharing spiritual things as well as working together. Bob was a wonderful mentor for me, and became a true friend. I next encountered Bob in Kenya at a CME Conference in the early “80s. It was so good at that time to renew our friendship. Lionel Hurd informed me of Bob’s passing to heaven. Both my current wife and I have experienced losing a mate of over 50 years. We both can attest to the peace and comfort that we were given by the Lord Jesus, and the assurance of the certain hope of heaven that sustained us during our period of grieving. We are praying for you at this time. We will be giving a gift to the CMDA in memory of Bob.

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