RAPID RIVER - Ryan Harper, 23, of Rapid River, passed away early Sunday morning, Jan. 27, 2013, due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
Ryan was born Sept. 25, 1989, in Flint, Mich., the son of Tony III and Dawn (Daniels) Harper. He was raised in Rapid River and was a graduate of the Rapid River High School. Ryan developed a love for racing at a very young age and as young as 2 years old, he was often seen racing his "Big Wheel" around the yard. Carrying on the Daniels' tradition of racing, and being proud to do so, Ryan found interest in dirt track racing, primarily in Lower Michigan, where he raced the number "00" stock car for many years. Although life was a race and Ryan was the life of the party, he enjoyed every second of time spent with family, friends and his loving fiance, Tonya. His beautiful blue eyes and gentle smile attracted many people and Ryan was always happy to make a new friend. Ryan was employed at various restaurants throughout Delta County. He enjoyed working on his race car and fishing. In addition, Ryan loved spending time with his family and his brothers, but most of all, Ryan enjoyed living life! He will be sadly missed.
Ryan is survived by his parents, Tony and Dawn; brothers, James Harper of Menominee, Mich., Anthony Harper IV of Rapid River, Mich.; niece: Alexis Harper; paternal grandparents, Tony and Kathy Harper of Clio, Mich.; aunts, Chris (Wes) Evans of Grand Blanc, Mich., Cindy Schaeffer of Clio, Mich.; uncle, Jack Smith of Rapid River, Mich.; Ryan's loving fiance, Tonya Beauchamp of Escanaba, Mich.
Also surviving is Ryan's "Uncle John and Aunt Carla Daniels" of Clio, Mich.; his life long friends, Nikole Metter of Rapid River, Mich., Courtney Franklin of Billings, Mont., Matt Corden of Jackson, Mich.; and many loving cousins and additional friends.
Ryan was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Jim (Joan) Daniels and his aunt, Paula Smith.
Ryan's family will receive friends on Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Funeral services to celebrate the life of Ryan Harper will follow visiting hours, at 5 p.m. at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone with Pastor William Rafuse of the Rapid River Congregational Church officiating.
Luncheon will follow at the Rapid River Congregational Church Fellowship Hall. The Harper family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be directed to the Harper Racing Fund to honor Ryan's passion for racing.
Envelopes will be available throughout visitation and at the Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County.
Messages of condolence to the Harper family can be offered online at www.skradskifuneralhomes.com/