Life Story / Obituary
With “Smiling Irish Eyes” and a heart that knew no bounds, Alice Georgina Velte lived a life rich in family and
friends. Gentle and kind, Alice was a woman who never knew a stranger. With a warm smile and unwavering
faith, Alice welcomed each day as a gift and every person as a treasure. She was a naturally happy person who
was often the source of other people’s joy. Without a doubt, Life’s trials were always lighter and good times even
better when shared with Alice. A wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, Alice will be deeply
missed and lovingly remembered by all who were blessed to know her.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1931 beheld a power of hope that undulated in the hearts of
many. With an innate drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one
foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in
Grand Rapids, Michigan, as William and Doris (Langridge) Dempsey welcomed their daughter Alice into their
hearts and home on April 29.
Growing up during the 30s and 40s, Alice’s childhood became the firm foundation upon which she built the rest
of her life. The Dempsey family home, on First and Turner St. NW, was rich in Irish traditions that included the
love of music, storytelling, and great food. The middle of the Dempseys’ three children, Alice enjoyed the good
company of her brothers Al and Bert. She attended Stocking Elementary and Union High School, with the class of 1949.
In 1945, Alice had the good fortune of meeting Carl Velte while on a hayride. The young couple dated for the
following five years before marrying at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Turner Ave, December 2, 1950. During
their early years of marriage, Alice worked at Carter’s children’s clothing manufacturer, while Carl worked at
Grand Rapids Showcase, later Rowe International, and they lived in an apartment on 2nd Street NW.
In time, the couple was blessed with five children; Christina in 1951, Mike in ‘54. Bob in ‘56, James in ‘58 and
Dave in ‘60. As a result of Carl becoming a designer with Shakespeare Inc., the family moved often. Alice
relished in motherhood and created a loving home everywhere they went. Over the years, they lived in
Kalamazoo, Oshtemo, and Wyoming, Michigan and spent time in California. After moving to Arkansas for a time,
they returned to West Michigan, first settling in Parchment. They then moved to Bloomingdale and eventually
back to Grand Rapids in 1970.
Though Alice’s energies were mostly invested in caring for her family and home, for several years, she also
worked at Stocking Elementary as a lunch lady, serving a dose of good loving with every meal. She was a
woman who cherished the simple pleasures in life, like listening to Bruce Grant on WOOD radio or easy listening
music. She enjoyed the classic television shows of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, as well as Ellen and Dr. Oz. She also
took great pleasure in sewing, crocheting, and knitting. Many family and friends were gifted with her wonderful
As her children grew into adulthood and began families of their own, Alice welcomed the gift of grandchildren
with much joy. She delighted in each of them, proudly attending their school events and always remembering
their special days. Years later, when she became a great-grandmother, Alice’s joy grew even greater. Her
grandchildren were truly her heart’s delight. In each of their eyes, she saw the spark of her legacy as well as her
greatest hopes for the future.
Alice and Carl also enjoyed having the opportunity to travel more once the kids were grown. For many years,
they made many wonderful memories camping with their 5th wheel throughout Northern Michigan. In time, they
traveled to Florida for Winter. A particularly special trip for Alice and Carl was when they visited Ireland. To be in
the land of her ancestors proved a dream come true and a memory Alice cherished for the rest of her days.
Those who knew her would unhesitatingly agree that Alice’s life centered on her family; her unfailing devotion
and care proved a powerful inspiration for all who knew her. And while the world is surely less certain in the
absence of Alice’s steadfast presence, her legacy of love and happiness will continue to brilliantly shine in the
hearts and lives of those she leaves behind.
Alice G. Velte, aged 88, of Grand Rapids, passed away very unexpectedly on Monday evening,
October 28, 2019. She was preceded in death by her daughter Christina Lovisa, grandson, Adam Velte, brother,
Al Dempsey, her sisters-in-law, Kay Karopzyk and Lena (Jerry) Uzarski. She is survived by her husband of 69
years, Carl Velte; her children, Michael (Barbara) Velte, Robert (Candy) Velte, James (Kelly) Velte, David Velte
(his son Zachary); grandchildren, Sarah (Paul) Ripley, (their children Jack and Owen), Crystal (Francis) Hoag,
Robert (Rachel) Velte Jr. (their children, Jonas, River, Elijah), Adelaide (Nate) Palmer (their children, Marie,
Elena), brother, Bert Dempsey; many nieces, nephews and friends. Alice was especially proud of her Irish
heritage. She was a longtime member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church. She was a kind and loving, wife,
mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and a friend to all who knew her. She will be deeply missed and
lovingly remembered. A service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 11:00 am at
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1025 3 Mile Rd NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. To read more about Alice’s life, to
sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web