by Pete Ford

Ronald Lee Potter, 75, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, formerly of Ann Arbor, Michigan, stepped into Heaven to be with his Savior and Lord on February 11, 2024. Ron’s life was guided by his faith and propelled by an intense curiosity about the world, a love and empathy for others, and an unwavering sense of humor.

Ron was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, on March 26, 1948, the son of Charles Lee Potter and Elsie Geraldine (Babcock) Potter. He grew up in Bellevue, Michigan and attended Bellevue Community Schools. In his senior year of high school, he went on a blind date with Jill Van Dyke from the neighboring farm community of Olivet. They continued dating and married on July 19, 1969, in Charlotte, Michigan.

Ron enrolled at Central Michigan University in a joint program with the University of Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1971. Ron pursued a fascinating career which took him to various parts of the U.S. and around the world. He nurtured many lifelong friendships along the way.

During the 1970s, Ron built a foundation in project management on large engineering and construction projects. In the 1980s, he founded a firm specializing in project management software. He later served as chief executive officer at a software development firm. Meeting many groundbreaking consultants during the first two phases of his career sparked Ron’s desire to shift into the consulting business.

Beginning in the 1990s until his retirement in 2019, Ron focused on executive teams, executive leadership, and corporate culture, through his company: Team Leadership Culture, LLC ( In 2004, Ron and his friend Wayne Hastings cowrote the book Trust Me: Developing a Leadership Style People Will Follow. It centered around leadership principles based on the Beatitudes.

Above his devotion to U of M football and his passion for golf, Ron’s faith was the abiding factor in his life. Ron taught adult Sunday School classes, led small groups, sang in church choirs and served in church leadership positions in various churches. His highest honor was sharing his faith.

In 2019, Ron and Jill celebrated their fiftieth anniversary with a family gathering on Mackinac Island. Ron is survived by his wife, Jill; his daughters, Amy (Andrew) Hetletvedt and Lindsay (Scott) Gustafson; four grandchildren: Judah Gustafson, Ella Gustafson, Charles Hetletvedt and Greta Hetletvedt; two sisters: Dena (James) Miller and Nancy (Jimmie) Hughes; one brother, C. Edwin Potter; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 16, 2024, at Calvary Church (Chapel Entrance C), 707 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, with Rev. Paul Arnold officiating. A luncheon will follow the service at the Calvary Church Gathering Place. A private burial will be held at Riverside Cemetery, in Bellevue, Michigan. Relatives and friends may meet the family Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at MKD Stegenga Funeral Chapel, 1601 Post Dr., Belmont. Also one hour of visitation will be held at the church prior to the service on Friday. In lieu of flowers, Ron requested donations to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship ( or the Jerusalem Project at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan (


Read the full obituary here.

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