Grand Rapids businessman John Canepa dead at 87

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 08:33:50-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A businessman and philanthropist who helped revitalize downtown Grand Rapids has died.

John Canepa, the former president and CEO of Old Kent Bank, passed away Thursday.

Canepa, 87, was also a member of the Downtown Development Authority and the non-profit Grand Action Committee.

His co-chairs at the committee, Dick DeVos and David Frey, released a statement Thursday saying Canepa's 25 years of service in the organization advanced "the culture of collaboration" in the community.

Canepa was on the Grand Valley Foundation after serving for more than two decades as a director. On Thursday, the university's president Thomas J. Haas released a statement saying:

"John was a longtime, dedicated friend to Grand Valley. He played a critical role in initiating Grand Valley's presence on Grand Rapids' Medical Mile, which has led to a vibrant and growing health campus. The move was considered bold at the time, and we will miss his leadership, steadfast support and wise counsel. He was a pillar in the community, and our prayers are with his wife, Marie, and his family."