Saturday, August 19, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
Remembrance Reformed Church
4575 Remembrance Rd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Visiting at the church begins at 10 AM on Saturday.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
The Other Way Ministries
710 Fulton Street W
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Loving, generous, and kind, Alan Wibalda was a godly man grounded in his faith and devoted to his Lord and his family. Alan embodied the principles of his faith, leading with his heart and welcoming opportunities to serve with quiet grace. A great encourager and steadfast provider, Alan was a wise and wonderful husband, father, grandpa, and friend. Alan was a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know him. Cherished by many, Alan will long be remembered and so very missed.
1945 was a year marked by much celebration and hope. With the victorious end of World War II, families tuned into the celebratory tunes of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and the Andrews Sisters. At the same time, children delighted in the debut of the slinky. Nowhere was there greater promise for the future than in the hearts and home of Harold and Delia (Rop) Wibalda as they welcomed their son, Alan Jay, into their family on May 2, 1945, in Muskegon, Michigan.
Growing up in a home rooted in faith and strong family bonds, Alan enjoyed a stable, loving childhood. The family included Alan's older brother, Ronald, younger sister, Jan, and his Uncle Jelt, who was very influential as a father figure in Alan's life. The family attended Allen Avenue Christian Reformed Church, and Alan attended Western Michigan Christian School. He had a paper route as a kid and enjoyed playing some sports and spending time outdoors with friends. Because Uncle Jelt loved golfing, Alan started playing the game around age 11 and really enjoyed it for many years.
One day while at the corner drug store, Alan saw a young lady who caught his eye. Instantly smitten, Alan approached her, and they began talking. Soon, he and Gloria Myers began dating, and because" you know when you know," they began planning a future together. Though both very young, six months after meeting, they married at his church and enjoyed a honeymoon to Mackinac Island.
Despite his youth, Alan was devoted to his faith and his role as a provider. He found work after school at a foundry, where they recognized something special in him and brought him into the office, where he started in sales. The newlyweds began their marriage in a rented home for several years as the family grew to include their two children, Stasia and Marc. The family eventually moved to the Roosevelt Park neighborhood of Muskegon. Sundays began with church services, followed by a beef roast lunch with Alan's parents.
In time, Alan left the foundry and worked for Dresser Crane as a purchasing agent. After a round of layoffs, he sold hearing aids to ensure his family's well-being. By God's provision, his uncle invited him to golf in Grand Rapids. There, he met a man looking for a salesman for his company in Grand Rapids – Vans Industrial Equipment. Alan worked at the company for several years, commuting for the first year. The family moved to Wyoming for a short time before finding their longtime home in Grandville. Neither he nor Gloria knew anyone in Grand Rapids, but Alan became friends with the realtor who sold him their home. As Alan was easy to talk to, engaging, and friendly, his new friendship helped him realize that he could also work in real estate. Serving his community as a realtor for over 30 years, Alan worked for Woodland Reality, followed by Greenridge and then Five Star.
Though dedicated to his job and working a lot, Alan did his best to balance his career with his commitment to his family. He tried not to work evenings, and when he did, he made sure to be home for dinner. They always ate together as a family, and he led devotions. With many clients calling his home, he taught his kids to answer the phone politely and how to take messages.
The family continued finding fellowship and spiritual growth at Ivanrest Christian Reformed Church. In their early years there, he was part of the men's "New Life Quartet," singing baritone. The group traveled through the area, often signing at Sunday evening church services. Music was always a big part of his life, with the words and chorus scribed on his heart and his wife's and kids' hearts. When he wasn't singing, he often whistled or hummed.
In 1986, with the kids grown, Alan and Gloria moved to the Northeast side of Grand Rapids, where they soon found fellowship at Remembrance Reformed Church. Whatever his church home, Alan would find ways to participate and often served as a deacon or elder. After retiring, he needed something to do, and his love for people led him to deliver mail at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.
As a dad and grandpa, Alan was steady and fully present whenever needed. He loved having the family together. When the kids were young, the family took many trips back to Muskegon to see his and Gloria's parents. As his kids grew older and had kids of their own, Alan and Gloria hosted them for Sunday dinners.
While in his 40s, Al was at odds with his golf game and picked up Bass fishing instead. Many fishing poles, a lot of gear, and a boat later, he enjoyed getting up early on Saturdays to fish. While he could be very social at work or church, he had a quiet side and enjoyed social breaks, which fishing proved to afford.
Alan enjoyed his yard, and although he could be very particular, he also had a funny side. He loved watching his beloved Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoons, usually preferring to listen with headphones to the radio announcers while watching the game on television. He and Gloria also enjoyed some traveling through the years: They took several trips throughout the United States, including Hawaii, and also enjoyed a trip to Mexico. In retirement, they spent some weeks in Florida for a few years.
Sadly, a little over ten years ago, Alan had surgery that resulted in complicating issues ever since. Though Gloria was able to care for him for several years at their home, in the last couple of years, they found additional care at Porter Hills.
Though life feels less certain in the absence of Alan's steadfast faith and love, we find comfort in knowing he is now restored in heaven, rejoicing with those who have gone before him. May we also find comfort in carrying his beautiful legacy forward. In each moment we choose loving, hopeful, and grateful, share our time and talents in service of others, and relish our beloved family, we celebrate the many ways Alan gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Alan Jay Wibalda, age 78 of Grand Rapids, entered the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on August 9, 2023. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; their children Stasia (Dennis) Cole and Marc (Sue) Wibalda; grandchildren Brianna Vorhees, Jillian (Zach) Kornoelje, Carlos (Hanna Hooley) Salas, Tara (Chase) Huizenga; great-grandchildren Emma, Luca, Addie, Kadyn and Kohen; brother Ron (Linda) Wibalda; sister Jan Koon; sister-in-law and brothers-in-law Jane (Skip) Nielsen and Gerald Myers; as well as several nieces and nephews. Alan was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Chuck Koon. Alan enjoyed working with people for over 30 years as a realtor in Grand Rapids.
The service to remember and celebrate Alan’s life will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023 at 11 AM at Remembrance Reformed Church, 4575 Remembrance Road NW. Friends are invited to visit with his family on Friday from 5-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW and on Saturday at the church beginning at 10 AM. Due to Respiratory Conditions, his family kindly requests that guests refrain from perfumes and colognes. To read more about Alan, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com