Tributes

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"). 

Worth the Wait

Worth the Wait

If there was ever a backup in the checkout lane, Shirley Despres was almost always to blame.

“Everyone wanted to go to Shirley’s lane,” one of her former Family Fare co-workers shared at the 84-year-old’s visitation on Thursday. “Shoppers would wait in line for twenty minutes even if other lanes were open just to talk to Shirley. That’s just how great she was.”

Peppermints in the Pews

Peppermints in the Pews

Every time Henry Tjoelker walked through the doors of Third Reformed Church his pockets were full of peppermints. And not just any peppermints—skip the Altoids and Certs—Henry was a proud Dutchman and therefore, a peppermint purist. His go-to brands—Wilhelmina and King—hailed from his native country of the Netherlands. It was no surprise, then, to the family and friends gathered for Henry's memorial service on Monday, that there were bags of the mint candies waiting for them in every pew.

'Look At All of His Stuff'

'Look At All of His Stuff'

What's with all the clocks, the model boats and the recumbent bike in the room? Did Heritage Life Story Funeral Home open its own hobby shop? Nope. Those items belonged to Tom Mathews—tinkerer extraordinaire. 

"This is great," exclaimed Chad Russ while gathering with friends and family before his grandfather Tom's memorial service on Saturday. "Look at all of his stuff here."

Making It Personal

Making It Personal

Richard Hoonhorst loved to tell jokes. If you didn't catch the punchline the first time around (or even if you did), he'd enthusiastically tell it again...and again...and again. Just ask his friends at Sandy's Donuts on Grand Rapids' West Side—the place where Richard spent countless mornings drinking his coffee, enjoying a donut and cracking jokes. Most of them will groan, laugh and share their favorite of his one-liners by memory. That's what happens when you hear something for the second, fifth, tenth, hundredth time. 

One More Shovel

 

“Only wood handles.  Never composite.  You need the right tools to get the job done right.”

Picking the right kind of shovel wasn't the only lesson that Everhardt "Ev" Katerberg’s children and grandchildren remembered learning from their hardworking dad and grandpa who started Katerberg Lawn Sprinkling in 1957.  When Ev’s boys were growing up, each of them learned how to use a shovel, digging ditches by hand for the company.  But it wasn't just about digging -- they also learned other valuable lessons in their time with their dad.

The foundation for a joy-filled life comes from faith in the Lord.

There’s nothing more important in the world than your family.

Support, love, and serve others.

Take pride in honest, hard work.  

His family honored this legacy at his funeral service at West Leonard Christian Reformed Church.  But it was the graveside service at Rosedale Memorial Park, with snow on the ground and a chill in the air, where his family honored Ev one final time

After the burial vault was lowered into the ground, the Katerberg family, starting with the "ditch-digging" sons, each grabbed hold of a shovel and one last time did what came so naturally to them:  they started digging.

Each person, in turn, grabbed a shovel and gently poured dirt into the grave of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

They even brought small shovels for the youngest children.

Dirt, memories, and tears mingled together in this sacred space as they worked; a most fitting and appropriate tribute to honor the life of the man who taught them so much from holding a shovel.