The Gift of a Fingerprint

The Gift of a Fingerprint

“We wanted to change a day of mourning into a day of good joy and memories,” Kathleen said. 

After planning their father’s funeral at Heritage, one of the sisters noticed a Thumbies brochure she had received. Thumbies are personalized charms created from actual fingerprints, handprints or footprints. Combining modern scanning technology with the ancient art of lost wax casting, Thumbies fashions the prints into artistic and intricately detailed sterling silver or gold jewelry. 

Canadian Club and Champagne Toasts

Canadian Club and Champagne Toasts

It was only fitting that Dar’s visitation on Tuesday night reflected who she was and what she loved—an evening full of family, friends, laughter, food and of course, her favorite drink, Canadian Club. With an open bar serving wine, beer (and yes, Canadian Club!) and soft drinks, along with a spread of artisan cheese, the gathering at the Alt & Shawmut Chapel felt more like a night out with friends than a funeral visitation.

Drumroll, Please!

Drumroll, Please!

“Do we need a drumroll?” Life Story Funeral Director Matt Hollebeek asked the fifth graders at All Saints Academy on Tuesday morning.

“Yessssss!” they shouted and immediately began pounding on their desks in anticipation of the big announcement—this year’s winner of the 8th Annual Heritage Life Story Writing Contest.

“Here we go,” Matt shouted. “The winner of the big check is…AUSTIN PHILLIPS!!”

And The Winner Is...

And The Winner Is...

“Yay!” “Go, Kyler!” “Nice work!” And other cheers erupted around the room as Kyler Berghuis made his way to the front to claim his oversized check (a highlight for all the kids!). The prize? A $500 scholarship toward Kyler’s tuition.

Kyler interviewed Dr. Joseph Taylor for the contest. Dr. Taylor worked as a pediatrician at ABC Pediatrics for 44 years and now lives next door to Kyler.

Caramel Corn with a Side of 'Honey'

Caramel Corn with a Side of 'Honey'

The family decided to do a natural (or green) burial for Clara. A green burial is one that uses only biodegradable materials. A natural burial utilizes simple, sustainable materials so that nature may take its course following the natural rhythms of life.

“This was all a work of love by her family,” said Life Story Funeral Director Paul Uzarski. “The family participated in every step of the process, even helping to wash and prepare Clara’s body.”

52 Pairs of Silly Socks

52 Pairs of Silly Socks

“As soon as Tom’s family told me about the socks and the hats, I told them they had to bring them in for the visitation,” said Life Story Funeral Director Paul Uzarski, adding that they thought there might be too many. “I told them to bring them all in. Tom’s hats and socks tell a special part of his life story; they are uniquely Tom and serve as connecting points to both him and his family.”

The Final Lesson Plan

The Final Lesson Plan

Dozens of family and friends gathered at the church to remember and celebrate Eileen, a longtime special education teacher for Grand Rapids Public Schools, a world traveler, a teddy bear collector (she had at least one or a dozen bears in every room of her house) and an avid reader (she read all the way through her library's selection of books up through the letter "M").