GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Korey Taphouse, 30, was celebrated Thursday, remembered with many stories, by many loved ones, calling him "fiercely loyal," "a people genius," an adoring husband and father of two little girls.
Frontline Community Church was packed with family and friends, many wearing their "Korey hats" just like his, to celebrate a beloved man especially well-known in the biker community. Taphouse worked with Grand Rapids Harley Davidson the last decade, and during the last several years he was promoted to their service manager.
Less than two weeks ago Taphouse was hit by a car and killed walking in Ottawa County, which police are still investigating.
“This is a celebration of a life well-lived," said Matthew Deprez, pastor with Frontline Community Church. "And would you agree with me, that it is awesome that the picture that is on the screen is a picture of Korey holding a pig?" he said, with laughs erupting throughout the church.
Taphouse was repeatedly remembered as a doting husband of his wife Emily Taphouse, and their two young girls, Hazel and June; Taphouse called them his "beauties." A passionate hard-working service manager, Grand Rapids Harley Davidson was closed for his memorial.
“When I was talking to Korey’s dad, Randy, he said over the years that people have regularly stopped him to let him know how good of a person Korey was," said Deprez. "He put other people in front of himself all the time. He loved other people so much, especially Emily and his girls, Hazel and June.”
The pastor says he first met Korey after his wife began babysitting for Korey and Emily's daughter Hazel. Deprez said to the audience that he strives to become a father like Korey was to his girls: "Selfless and giving, present and loving, caring and gracious, kind and compassionate.”
“This is one of the things that I got to witness personally since I saw him mostly dropping off and picking up Hazel: when he would come to the door the joy on his face when he would see Hazel was enormous," recalled Deprez.
So many laughs shared, especially after Korey's brother-in-law, Jared Friar, spoke to Korey's biography on Grand Rapids Harley's website pointing to his hobbies, listed as "kickball and knitting scarves for feral cats." His humor, Friar says, will always be remembered.
“Korey was the type of guy he could add a spark to any situation, a quick one-liner, an impromptu dance, some passionate ridiculous singing," said Friar. "He brought any room to life."
"And Korey’s sense of humor was such a huge component of him, such a great people person, which is how he built such a successful career with Harley in such a short time," he said.
Then memories of Korey growing into the person he was, followed by the best of wishes from another friend and mentor, Jim Vendeville, who became Korey's work supervisor.
“I have to say, if there are hogs in heaven I sure hope they have plenty of fresh tires, they’re going to need them since I’m sure he’ll want to leave his mark in heaven just like he did here on earth," said Vendeville, with warm laughs from the crowd.
Among the anecdotes, Deprez ended the memorial with a letter from Emily Taphouse, reading her words of her husband to the room.
"...The man that never gave himself any credit in the intelligence department, something in which he was profoundly wrong about, found his voice," he read. "And it was powerful and beautiful. He was powerful and beautiful."
A second memorial is planned this Saturday, Dec. 10 at noon, at West Rome Baptist Church in Korey's home town, Manitou Beach. Emily wrote on Facebook all are welcome, and if roads are dry, those biking there can meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Adrian.
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.