GRAND RAPIDS — Meijer Chairman Emeritus Fred Meijer died Friday from complications of a stroke he suffered early Friday. He was 91.
Meijer, a Greenville native and 1937 Greenville High School graduate, died on Black Friday — the busiest shopping day of the year — at a Spectrum Health hospital, according to a statement from the company. He suffered a stroke during the early morning hours of Friday and was rushed to the hospital, where he died Friday evening with his family at this side.
Meijer’s father, Hendrik, founded the Meijer chain in Greenville with a small grocery at Charles and Lafayette streets in 1934. Fred Meijer took the helm after his father’s retirement and launched the company on a path of explosive growth, bringing more than 190 one-stop-shop superstores to five Midwest states.
Fred also established himself as one of West Michigan’s leading philanthropists while managing Meijer Inc. and in his retirement years. He was no stranger to Greenville, where he grew up in a modest house on VanDeinse Avenue, in his later years.