“Sandy” Remster Bingham III, age 72 of Grand Haven, peacefully passed away on Oct. 24, 2019, holding the hands of and lovingly surrounded by his wife and five children. His spirit is carried on by his wife (Cathy), his mother (Barbara), five children (Bucky, Sarah, Ted, Barbara, Molly), five grandchildren, and thousands of miles of footsteps planted along the beaches, boardwalks and hiking trails of Western Michigan and the Rocky Mountains. Sandy’s spirit is also survived by a second, equally important family at the Alcoholics Anonymous/Alano Club in Grand Haven.
Sandy’s childhood memories can be found in Charleston, S.C., where he went to General William Moultrie High School, played football, baseball and basketball (even tried to score on the wrong hoop!). He helped build a bridge, rescued his parents’ sailboat from a hurricane, and built strong-lasting friendships that still exist today.
Sandy’s memories as a young adult can be found as an enlisted soldier where he spent multiple years at a VA Hospital (after a car accident), helping care for those injured in Vietnam. These memories haunted much of his life from what he witnessed but also built an intense respect and love for anyone who served.
Sandy’s memories as a middle-aged adult can be found in his addiction. He bravely and tirelessly wrestled with and crumbled against the weight of his struggles against alcoholism. With every setback, he still fought. He missed out on much of the good things in life during this time, but even through this he stayed committed to his family found in his perseverance.
Sandy’s memories for the last 18 years of his life were found in his sobriety; redirecting his struggles with addiction to a dedication of helping others. Sandy traveled the U.S. and world with his wife and children. He rediscovered his childhood through the love of outdoors – backpacking at Nordhouse Dunes, Manistee River Trail and the North Country Trail. He proudly completed four 50-mile/six-day backpacking trips with his son and wife through the Rocky Mountains at the Grand Tetons, Glacier NP, Beartooth’s and Maroon Bells.
Sandy’s favorite and lifetime memories can be found in Onekama, Michigan, where he spent a part of every year of his life in the place he loved the most – on the 130-year-old family farm. Here he created the memories he loved the most, spending his time in a brook, in a field, on a lake, on a sailboat, on a fishing boat, around a bonfire, on a porch, and with his family/friends/loved ones or with the memories of those gone before him.
Those that loved Sandy as their husband, dad, friend and sponsor will remember him for how he transformed his shortcomings into a purpose. How he shifted his nightmares from a military hospital into a love for veterans. How he overcame asthma and COPD to walk and hike thousands of miles along a boardwalk, on a trail, on a beach, or across mountain ranges. How he overcame addiction to dedicate his life to, and benefit from, helping others overcome.
We are blessed to have learned many lessons from Sandy’s life; most importantly that God’s Divine Mercy doesn’t just save us from something, but saves us for something; for a purpose.
Friends, family, AA family and anyone needing healing from addiction are welcomed to join the family in celebrating Sandy’s life at St. Patrick’s Church (Grand Haven) for a Funeral Mass at 1 p.m. Sunday, November 24 (Catholics: yes, it counts as your Sunday Mass; non-Catholics: yes, Sandy and the Catholic Church would love you to attend), followed by a Celebration of Life potluck from 2-5 p.m., where we can all enjoy his love of music and share in heartfelt memories.