In Memory of




Obituary for Brian J. Appel

Appel, Brian J.

On February 11, 2020, Brian went where the good guys go because cancer sucks.

Born on March 12, 1973, Brian moved from Caledonia to Middleville when he was 8 years old. It was the town where he planted roots and lived for his remaining adult years. Brian met his wife, Courtney (Rich), in 1999 and they were married in 2001. He became a father in 2003 to their daughter, Ebbie, and Brian and Courtney completed their family in 2006 with the birth of their son, Ryan.

Brian was a kind man with a generous spirit and a loving heart, yet somehow those descriptors fall short on paper. His life was built upon a deep value of love and compassion. He put to use those values into his work as a builder, into his community, into his friendships and into his family. His driving force in life was kindness and generosity, in which he taught all who knew him that love is, in fact, a verb.

Brian’s passion for life was challenged in 2016 when he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. His purpose became that of survival, yet he continued to keep love and generosity at the center. He lived life boldly in these 3 years and shared himself with those closest to him.

Brian lived life with cancer fearlessly. He faced the inevitable end with bravery and courage and was concerned about the future of his family without him. In his wake, he leaves behind his beloved wife, Courtney, daughter Ebbie, and son, Ryan. He also leaves behind his mom, Ruth (Don) Mello, brothers, Joel, and Matt (Jessica), mother-in-law, Candace Bennett and father-in-law Kim Christensen, brother-in-law, Jason (Jennifer) Christensen, aunt, Cindie (Jim) Thompson, uncle, Kim (Linda) Appel, aunt, Stacey (Clarence) Grimm and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Brian was preceded in death by grandparents Barb and Mike Appel and father-in-law Bill Rich.

Brian and Courtney would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Stephanie Dublis, Dr. Mohamed Elmortada, Dr. Matthew Sevensma, the cancer team and the countless nurses and medical staff at Metro Cancer Center and Hospital for the personal care and attention that you gave to Brian in his years spent in your care.

Please join the family for a visitation on Friday, March 6, from 4:00-8:00 at Gun Lake Community Church (12200 Chief Noonday Rd., Wayland, MI), and a Celebration of Life on Saturday, March 7, a visitation starting at 11:00, with the service beginning at 12:00. Following Brian’s wishes, we invite everyone to an after party at the American Legion (2160 M-37) in Hastings following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Brian Appel Trades Scholarship fund through Thornapple Area Enrichment Fund, or directly to the family through the #briansong account established with the Middleville Lions Club at PO Box 1, Middleville, MI 49333.

Brian’s wishes for those who remain are to love your community and to get your colonoscopy.

Please visit to share a memory or to leave a condolence message for Brian’s family.