Bikers, community mourn loss of one of their own

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The biker and community at large is mourning the loss of one of their own, Korey Taphouse, 30, who was killed Sunday walking when he was hit by a car.

Korey Taphouse and his family, courtesy photo.

Korey Taphouse and his family, courtesy photo.

Taphouse was a young father of two little girls, and well-known and loved especially by the biker community. He was the service manager with Grand Rapids Harley Davidson for nearly the last nine years.

Former general manager of GRHD and friend of Taphouse Jason Bremer told FOX 17 Taphouse was "full of heart."

“He would always strive to make people happy, and he was the type of person who would put others first well before himself," said Bremer. "And that’s what allowed him to be successful in his personal life and be successful in business also.”

"There was never anything too big or small to get in the way of the happiness of his girls. Being at his wedding, and how proud that moment was, and the fact of him becoming a dad, and even the second go around with [his daughter] June, he was wow, how happy he was and he never found a flaw in anything," he said.

Sunday before 6 p.m. investigators with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office say Taphouse was walking along Port Sheldon Street near 40th Avenue in Georgetown Township when he was hit by a 2012 Jeep Wrangler. Taphouse was rushed to the hospital where deputies say he later died Monday morning.

Heidi Vanderbie, 46 of Hudsonville, was driving the Jeep. Sgt. Steve Austin told FOX 17 while the crash remains under investigation, investigators are processing Vanderbie's phone but at this point there is no indication she was using it at the time of the crash. Vanderbie told police she thought she hit a deer, drove home then called 911. There were no tire marks or other evidence that her car drove off the road and police are awaiting toxicology results, Sgt. Austin said.

Several friends spoke with FOX 17 and described Taphouse as a kind and generous soul who was always smiling. One friend of his, Denisha Popma, told FOX 17 the following:

"I met Korey through mutual friends while he worked at GR Harley. He was always so helpful and kind to everyone! My dad recently lost his life while on his motorcycle and I've been working to restore his bike. I had a hard time finding a couple hard to come by parts and Korey was such a huge help and got me these parts. All he asked in return was for me to bring dad's bike up to the GR Harley when it was finished.

I am so sad I was never able to do so, and now I'll never be able to show him what he helped me accomplish! He does know it meant the world to me! My heart breaks for his wife and little girls!

He was a true, genuine and amazing person with a smile to make anyone feel better about their day! Prayers going out to his friends and family!"

Grand Rapids Harley Davidson Senior Vice President and Counsel Monica Sekulich also told FOX 17 their company and staff are deeply saddened by Korey's loss.

"He was a great manager for us, and extremely well-liked by customers and ownership," said Sekulich.

GRHD posted a statement on their Facebook page saying:

"This morning our Service Manager and dear friend Korey Taphouse passed away unexpectedly. Anyone who met him, knew that he didn’t have 'customers' here at the shop, only friends. His energy was contagious and his spirit indelible. His quick wit, commitment and presence will be greatly missed. We ask you to remember his family, specifically his wife Emily and his two young girls Hazel and June during this time. The mark he’s left on everyone will live on through them, and for this the world is a better place."

Sekulich said memorials for Taphouse are still not finalized. A GoFundMe page was established for the family to help his family pay for funeral expenses.

Taphouse was a member of the Grand Rapids Sport & Social Club. The GRSSC says from now until the end of spring registration, they'll take $5 out of every player's registration fee to donate to his family.

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