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Alexandria VanderKodde

December 22, 1997 - March 20, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI

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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.

VanderKodde Education Fund c/o Church of the Servant
3835 Burton St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
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Life Story / Obituary


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The "little girl with the big presence," Alexandria Danielle VanderKodde will be remembered for her infectious smile and boundless heart. Despite significant physical and cognitive limitations, Alexandria embraced every moment with a warrior's spirit and defied the odds over and over and over again. Her love for people, music, worship, and sports was undeniable and often the source of other's joy. From her first moment to her last, she inspired all who were blessed to know her. Though our days with her were far too few, Alexandria's legacy of love and light will long live in the hearts of many.

The 90s was a decade of much good news and astounding new achievement, including the collapse of The Soviet Empire, the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia ended, and China reformed its economy. The quality of entertainment dramatically improved, and creative brilliance shined in our homes in the likes of Harry Potter, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Friends, and NYPD Blue. Pixar resurrected animation with Toy Story while the digital age boomed with the mainstreaming of the Internet, digital phones, 3-D games, and affordable laptops. Peace and Prosperity were the order of the day, and America was vibrant and healthy.

Locally, a very special gift arrived deceivingly wrapped in the cloak of tragedy. On December 22, 1997, Alexandria entered the world through a traumatic birth that cost her biological mother's life and left Alexandria with a dire prognosis. Born with Cerebral Palsy, a quadriplegic, legally blind, and surely cognitively impaired, Alexandria was only expected to live for a few hours. Day after day, Alexandria shocked her care providers and defied the odds. Called to envelop her in love and comfort in her final hours, when Alexandria was 21 days old, Cynthia and Daniel VanderKodde graciously welcomed her into their hearts and home. And that's when the miracles really began to happen.

Despite all odds being against her, Alexandria thrived in her new home with her new parents and big brother, Eugene. As the family grew, so too did the love. Alexandria's precarious health required many doctor appointments, therapy sessions, meeting daily challenges, and brushing death's door on many occasions.

At 2 ½, Alexandria attended Ken-O-Sha School. She loved school! At age four, she transferred to Lincoln Developmental Center, where she attended ever since. Though she never developed cognitively beyond a 3-6-month-old baby, Alexandria's ease in loving others was rooted in a deep wisdom many never acquire. She found joy in the simplest things, the voice of a loved one, green and red, going to her brothers' ball games, music, and attending Church of the Servant. She enjoyed listening to 91.3 WCSG Christian radio and proudly wore her hair as a "crown of glory."

For those who knew her best, there was no doubt she had her favorite people. It was easy to tell who they were by the way she especially perked up at their voices. In turn, she was a favorite to many. A regular at the local football games, she was a fan-favorite. On one special occasion, one of the referees entered the stands and presented her with a striped jersey, making her an honorary ref. At church, she was always greeted with enthusiasm and warmth. She stirred her fellowship's hearts with her passionate coos to the music she so loved and the way she relished in "pass the peace" time. During communion circle, she would receive a blessing, and on her recent 22nd birthday, her church family celebrated by singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Not only did Alexandria love people, but she also delighted in special love for her canine companion, Luther. Her beloved golden retriever's devotion was observed by all, and they shared 13 beautiful years in each other's good company.

While saddened to have to say goodbye to the young woman who gifted us in so many ways, may we find comfort in knowing she is free of her earthly limitations. Surely, Jesus welcomed her with open arms and lovingly told her, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Well done. Now it is time to celebrate Alexandria's legacy of love. With each moment we allow ourselves to be moved by music, unhesitatingly express our delight, and meet life's challenges with determination, we keep Alexandria's legacy alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.

Now in the loving arms of Jesus, Alexandria passed away March 20, 2020. She was born December 22, 1997, in Grand Rapids. Alexandria is survived by her mother, Cynthia VanderKodde of Grand Rapids; father, Daniel VanderKodde of Grand Rapids; siblings, Jeanette (Robert) Bailey of Akron, OH, Jewel (Chris) Davis of Copley, OH, Jantine (Satanuel Hall) Young, Dramitrius Monroe, Eugene Murray, Deante (Jennifer Rollo) VanderKodde, Marcellus VanderKodde, TeVon VanderKodde, all of Grand Rapids; grandparents, James Hall of Rochester, NY, William and Leora VanderKodde of Grand Rapids; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Alexandria was preceded in death by her brother, Andre VanderKodde, and grandmother, Evelyn Hall. A private family interment has been held at Rest Lawn Memorial Park. A celebration of life will be scheduled later this spring. Memorials may be made to VanderKodde Education Fund c/o Church of the Servant. To read more of Alexandria's life story, leave a memory or condolence please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.

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