Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Alice Carlson

October 9, 1930 - September 13, 2017
Grand Rapids, MI



Saturday, September 30, 2017
2:00 PM EDT
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

There will be a time to visit with Alice's family immediately following the service.



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.

Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp
4158 Camp Delight Road
Onekama, MI 49675

Contributions will be designated for scholarships to the camp.

Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Alice Jean Carlson was one of the most dependable, selfless, and honest souls one could meet. In her 86 years with us, she was a determined and hard worker. Alice was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, friend and church member. We will cherish the memories we shared with Alice, and we will miss her dearly in this lifetime.

Alice began her life in 1930. The population of the country had grown to approximately 122 million people. And that year specifically, the United States faced one of the worst droughts in recorded history which created many issues including horrific dust storms and farming hardships. The Depression worsened, unemployment was on the rise, and the gross national product continued to fall. Thankfully, the cartoon, Betty Boop, made her debut creating some much-needed entertainment. This was also the year in which the incredibly useful sticky tape was invented. And though it seemed like times were difficult, the country looked up to the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York City.

Closer to home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Edwin and Margaret (Claver) Hoebeke were anxiously awaiting the birth of their daughter. Alice Jean was joyfully welcomed on October 9, 1930. She grew up with a brother, Richard, who was four years older. Together they shared a childhood living in a home by the Houseman Field. This location provided the entertainment of exciting football games and marching band music right down their street on Vernon NE. Her youthful years were happy, and she knew she was loved.

She attended Fountain Street Elementary and then Central High School. For her extracurricular activities, she played piano and walked to lessons regularly. She had the desire to learn how to play the organ as well; in fact, she even attended Hope College for a year to accomplish this wish. Fond memories of Alice's love of pickles as a young girl still bring smiles of the many nicknames she earned from the affections of her father and brother alike. They often teased her, but she always took it in stride.

The family built a spiritual foundation as members of Central Reformed Church, and this is where the roots of her faith developed. This was a support system that kept the family close throughout time. They enjoyed the company of one another and spent many days at the beach (Morrison Lake especially) in the summers when there was more free time. Fortunately, they also had extended family with a cottage on Lake Michigan where they shared many memories in the warm sunshine.

As she entered adulthood, Alice found work as a bank teller. This job opened up the opportunity for other things as well, such as love. It was here she met Clarence "Clare" Carlson, and she took note of his presence immediately. She brushed off her attraction thinking he was not going to give her a second glance; however, her instincts were totally wrong, as he asked her out soon after they met. Before long, they were an item, but their time together was cut short because Clare enlisted in the Army. He moved to Kentucky, and they kept in close contact. Upon his brief return home for Thanksgiving, they celebrated their love in marriage at the Salvation Army on November 22, 1950. Their union made that year's Thanksgiving celebration even more enjoyable. The often unpredictable Michigan weather made sure to give them some time together as newlyweds, for the snowstorm the next day forced them to stay inside the hotel room in Holland.

Not long after they became Mr. and Mrs. Carlson, he was transferred to El Paso, Texas. She soon joined him there - making it their home together for about a year until he was officially discharged. During her time in Texas, she kept herself busy. She worked on perfecting her needlepoint and embroidery skills. This talent came in handy later in life when she would make clothes for her kids and their dolls. She even used her abilities to create beautiful bridesmaid dresses for one of her daughter's wedding. Living in the south also had other perks, as her laundry chores were easier there. As soon as she finished hanging the clothes at the end of the line, the first ones were already dry!

Finally, they returned home to Michigan. They settled into a home located on Day Street and then later to another on Wallinwood NE. This second home was where they welcomed their three precious daughters; Susan, Mary, and Jan brought much excitement and life within the walls of this house. They stayed in this location for some time, but eventually, they moved again to Milford on the west side of Grand Rapids. Because faith was a fundamental part of their life, soon after they married, Alice joined Clare's church, Evangelical Covenant Church. This became Alice's church home for the rest of her life, and she held the memories created there close to her heart. Her faith grew and her social life revolved around her church, as it was also a place where almost all of her friendships formed. Alice was of Dutch ancestry, but she fit in well with the mostly Swedish congregation. In addition to her love of pie baking, she also learned how to make many Swedish favorites such as sticky buns and coffee bread - two notable favorite treats among many.

Alice was a selfless and loving mother, for she was always willing to make personal sacrifices for the good of her family. She had a very ingrained routine which kept the house clean and her family well fed with delicious meals. Part of her routine included ironing all of the laundry. When the kids needed discipline, Alice was not timid in her parenting tactics, and the kids respected their mother. As a child, Alice learned tricks from her mother on how to salvage a plentiful harvest to last throughout the colder months. She was frugal by nature, so she used her knowledge to make family bonding opportunities when canning, pickling, and freezing the many goodies they purchased from the farm. Always meticulous in nature, she took care of the family finances and even helped counting in church when the need arose.

When the family found time to get away, they did so as often as they could. They thoroughly enjoyed their summer days together out on the lake upon their O-day sailboat, the Su-ma-jan that they trailered around West Michigan. The Carlson's also enjoyed a few weeks each summer at Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp. They made several other trips and vacations which Clare always tried to coincide with business travels.

As their children grew older, Clare and Alice found they had more time to share together as a couple again. With their great love of being out on the water, they saved up to purchase a cottage on Portage Lake nearly next to the camp where they had spent so many weeks together as a younger family. This encouraged their existing deep interest in fishing which they both loved. Alice was a very patient and successful fisherwoman in both big and small bodies of water. With all the water activity she experienced throughout her life, it was ironic that she was not able to swim confidently. As a result, she decided to take swim lessons in her 40's. This brave spirit moved her often, and once she took it upon herself to learn how to drive Clare's snowmobile. Before too long, she took off on it by herself! Ultimately, they spent a great deal of time at the cottage throughout all of Michigan's true and beautiful seasons.

Clare and Alice made a terrific pair and proved to be a great inspiration to others. Clare absolutely adored Alice, and he often showed his affection by lovingly teasing Alice (which she was quite used to from her childhood). They spent time singing together in the church choir and were also members of the various boards and committees. Closest to their hearts, however, were the times they shared with family, and many of their activities revolved around including them. The Christmas season was a sweet time for Alice - for she made huge amounts of cookies to give away to friends and family. During some of her free time, Alice started playing tennis which was typically followed by luncheons. She loved games and always let her competitive spirit shine through.

As time passed, Clare and Alice looked forward to the gift of grandchildren. Before long, they joyfully welcomed the blessing of 5 grandchildren. They adored each of them, and they involved themselves in as many activities as they were able given the distance between them. Her grandchildren adored their grandmother thinking of her as selfless, kind, sincere, and very loving.

During Clare's retirement, Alice and Clare enjoyed overseas trips with close friends to Sweden, Norway, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Alaska.

Sadly, Alice was forced to say goodbye to Clare in 1996 who passed away after a battle with cancer. She held their shared memories close to her heart. With the support of loved ones, she was able to find the goodness in life again. She lived on her own for a few years before deciding to move to Covenant Village of the Great Lakes as it was being built. This was a great choice, as it gave her the chance to remain active and social.

This new chapter in Alice's life kept her very busy. Right away, she began working in their office, staffing the model home. She loved staying busy and socially active with the community she fully embraced there - even becoming an "advertisement" star as a picture was taken of her doing water aerobics. Alice was not a leader at first glance, but she always had her hand in making things happen. Among other accomplishments, she helped start the Christmas Fund that rewarded the employees at the village. In addition, she helped to start the 2nd Blessings resale shop that helped to support the Benevolent fund of the village. Early on, she also drove other community members to appointments when they were unable.

The last five years proved to be more challenging for Alice, as her mind started clouding with the effects of Alzheimer's. Sadly, "Sweet Alice" passed away on September 13, 2017. It provides comfort knowing that she went home to be with her Lord and Savior where she belongs. Alice's place in our lives will never be forgotten.

Alice Jean Carlson, age 86 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on September 13, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence; and by her brother, Richard. Alice is survived by her children Susan Carlson of Grand Rapids, Mary & Doug Bradford of Boulder, CO, Jan & Jon Steiner of Fort Wayne, IN; grandchildren Erin Helgerson, Philip (Courtney) Helgerson, Andrew Steiner, Hope (Daniel) Imaizumi, Luke Steiner; sister-in-law Mary Hoebeke; aunt Louise Claver; niece and nephew Sara (Duane) Cowell and Robert (Molly) Hoebeke. The service to remember and celebrate Alice's life will be held on Saturday, September 30 at 2 PM at First Evangelical Covenant Church, 1933 Tremont Blvd NW where friends may visit with her family for a time immediately following the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp are appreciated. To read more about Alice's life, to share a memory or sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com