Ariel Tess Elisabeth Hettinga

July 16, 1990December 23, 2020

Our beloved and precious daughter, Ariel Tess Elisabeth Hettinga, took her own life while in northern California on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. She was born to us on July 16, 1990, making rich the lives of those who met her during her thirty years of life.

Ariel is survived by her parents, Donald R. Hettinga and Kimberly Gilmore Hettinga, of Grand Rapids; sister, Caitlin Hettinga and her partner, Rimple Nayyar; brother, Zane Hettinga; brother, Dylan Hettinga and his fiancee, Karina Williams, and their children Olive Jane Hettinga and Beau Ezra Hettinga; maternal grandmother, Barbara F. Gilmore; maternal grandfather, John F. Gilmore; numerous loving aunts, uncles, and cousins; and the Rinks family Brenda, Tom, Dayton, Nolan, Drake, and Beck.

A more comprehensive obituary and the announcement of a memorial ceremony will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting memorial contributions be sent to the Asperger/Autism Network (, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (, or Cherry Health (, a Grand Rapids organization that provides counseling and all types of healthcare for those who might not otherwise have access. If you are having thoughts of suicide, the family recommends calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The family welcomes memories and messages in their guest book online at


Ariel Tess Elisabeth Hettinga

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rebecca Warren

January 13, 2021

My deepest condolences to your whole family. I was so sad to hear this news. My memory of Ariel is from the very beginning. I was babysitting your other children, and you took a very small baby Ariel with you wherever you went that night. When you came home, Kim took Ariel out of her baby carrier and held her. Ariel was the first newborn I ever saw up close. Kim let me hold her. I still remember that moment looking down into her small face. I did not have the privilege of knowing her later in life, but my memory of her in her mother's arms is the first thing I thought of when I heard this news. I am so sorry for your loss and send you love and prayers from Edmonton, Alberta from me and Will.

Jacob Dalton

January 11, 2021

I was one of Ariel's colleagues and friends in Indiana. I have so many great memories of her. We were always doing something fun because she was so good at organizing stuff we could all enjoy. We went to apple farms, wineries, ball games, nature walks, we became Pokemon-Go people for a while (no judging!), and had junk-food nights at one another's houses.

I remember after a particularly hard day, Ariel and I went to get wine at a fancy shop in Carmel after work. Then we got hungry, and we both decided we needed a hotdog of all things, so we went and got one of those. That was finished by ice cream, and then ultimately more wine. As we drank our fancy wine along with our decidedly less fancy hot dogs and ice cream, we laughed until we cried about the absurdity of our combination of meal choices and what terrible stomach aches we were going to have the next day.

She left shortly after that, and I remember thinking I couldn't wait to connect again one day after she made it big in California, hopefully over wine and hotdogs. To her family, there's little I can offer by way of condolence, but I wanted to share some of the joy she brought to the lives of everyone who worked with her. I'm very sorry for your loss.

The photo is from a trip we took to a winery with Ariel and two other colleagues. I'm behind the camera. I can only post one, but I have more photos if anyone in the family would like them, just toss me an email.

Maureen F

January 7, 2021

I did not know your sweet Ariel, but I was touched by reading her obituary. Thank you for sharing such an honest sotry. I hope, in time, you will find comfort in her peace.

Joel Westmaas

January 5, 2021

Warm memories of Ariel. Picture is from a Christmas tree cutting trip with friends...about 2007? Sending all our love to Don, Kim, family and friends of Ariel. Joel and Loralee