APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – One of the Fox Valley’s most beloved banquet halls has decided to shut its doors after the unexpected death of its owner.

The Grand Meridian will be closing at the end of 2023 after the owner, Ken Vandeyacht, passed away unexpectedly on October 4, 2022.

Since Vandeyacht’s passing, his family, alongside the Grand Meridian family, have worked tirelessly to find a solution for the future of the building.

However, the family said on Facebook that it became apparent during the journey that they were not going to be able to find someone willing to continue to run the business as a banquet facility. Hence, they made a very difficult decision to allow a non-banquet entity to purchase the property.

All remaining business will continue until December 29, 2023. Those with a scheduled event beyond that date and in 2024 will be notified in the coming weeks to return any deposit that may have been put down.

Vanderyacht’s family issued this statement:

Ken’s passing was certainly unexpected and we are regretful for the inconvenience this announcement causes our guests. Please do not take this disappointment out on the Grand Meridian staff, this was a business decision made by Ken’s family. Our staff are grieving his loss and this change in operation too. Please treate them with kindness during this transition.

The Ken Vanderyacht Family

Comments flooded the Facebook post with many former customers describing the excellence and memories that the building had brought to them.

“Had our wedding reception here,” said one user on Facebook.

“I am so sorry this is happening,” said another. “I’ve come to know and love the Vanderyacht family. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all the luck and love in the world.”

The Grand Meridian opened its doors in 2005 but will now officially close in 2023.