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Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can attest, Alice Weller truly understood the secret to a life well lived. Her primary focus was fostering relationships with those around her, and she had a heart for serving those in need. Alice was a constant source of strength and support for others, even in the most difficult of times. She treasured her loved ones above all else, and nothing brought her greater joy than spending time with her friends and loved ones. Deeply loved, Alice will be forever missed.
It was great to be an American during the decade we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Ballroom dancing, jazz music, and motion pictures in both color and sound were threads woven within the social fabric of our nation during this time while cars were largely mass produced on assembly lines. It was during this exciting time that Walter and Helen (Johnson) Hopkins were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Alice May on August 13, 1928.
Growing up in the family home on Woodrow Avenue, NW, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Alice was a typical young girl of her generation. She was raised in the family home alongside her siblings, Ruth, Walter, Charlotte, Carl, Betty, and Ellen. Alice’s father worked as a truck driver for Kroger Grocery, and fortunately he was able to continue supporting his family throughout the trying times of the Great Depression. However, the Hopkins family was struck by tragedy when Alice’s mother passed away during childbirth when Alice was four years old, changing their lives forever. Alice’s father went on to remarry and bring three more children, Dan, Nancy, and Bruce, into the family. From a young age, Alice was very close with her siblings, especially her younger sister, Ellen, who had been in a wheelchair from birth. Alice was always willing to care for sister and went above and beyond to serve her in whatever way she could. The two formed a very strong bond that would last a lifetime.
The Hopkins family certainly endured their share of struggles throughout Alice’s childhood. All of the children worked to help support their household, including Alice, who cared for other families’ children and worked in other households as a young girl. She was able to build the foundation for the solid work ethic that would serve her well for her entire life. As her childhood home was very small with only two bedrooms, Alice shared a bedroom and a bed with one or more of her sisters. Holidays were always a special time for the Hopkins family as they spent time with nearby relatives and received an orange for Christmas. Though they did not attend church as a family, Alice enjoyed attending church and singing hymns with a neighbor’s family. As a student, she worked very hard to succeed while attending local schools including West Leonard Elementary School, Harrison Park Junior High, and Union High School. However, Alice only attended school through the tenth grade. From that point on, she went to work at various factories in order to help support her family.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Alice as she met the man who would soon become the love of her life. His name was John, and the first two met when they were younger and growing up in the same Westside neighborhood. He was also a close friend of her brother, Walter. As a girl, Alice found John to be annoying, however, after he returned from the service she thought quite differently. Over the next year of courtship, their relationship continued to deepen. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Alice and John were married at St. James Church on April 19, 1947. The newlyweds spent a romantic honeymoon together on the bay at Traverse City in Northern Michigan, which was the first time Alice had ever stayed in a hotel. She and John went on to settle into a home on Calvary Street, NW upon returning home.
All who knew Alice can certainly agree that she treasured her family above all else. Throughout their years together, she and John were overjoyed to welcome two beloved children, Donna in 1949 and Michael in 1954, into their hearts and home. Alice was a loving mother who dedicated herself to raising her children while remaining at home. She was very involved in the lives of Donna and Michael, and she was also active in both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in her children’s school, St. James Catholic School. Alice and John wanted their children to have access to every opportunity they could including higher education, music, and cultural events. She worked very hard to provide these opportunities for them. Later in life, Alice was thrilled to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother. She was a very attentive grandmother and maintained close relationships with her grandchildren, doting on them whenever she could. Alice considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Once her children had grown up, Alice was able to go back to work and pursue her career. She absolutely loved her job at Baker Furniture where she was a master of creating beautiful veneer furniture. Alice was very well respected for her skill and the works of art she created. She was very thankful to be able to support her family with work that she loved.
Never one to sit still for long, Alice pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. She loved all things country music and would never miss “The Green Valley Jamboree” on television every Saturday night. The children knew not to disturb their mother while she was watching her show. Alice was known for her love of sweets and the amazing desserts she could make. Only a few select members of her close family were given her secret recipes to carry on. Alice enjoyed preparing picnic meals so that her family could eat outside, and also liked to grill food in the backyard. She was a huge supporter of John’s fishing passion, and she would create unique recipes to use the fish that he caught. The Weller family spent a lot of quality time at Uncle George’s Cottage on Cowen Lake near Rockford. They also took many memorable vacations to Niagara Falls and the Upper Peninsula . After retirement, Alice and John took vacations to Florida and Wyoming, and they often traveled to Beaver Island to stay with their daughter, Donna.
When reflecting on the life of Alice Weller, it is easy to see her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was known for her spirit of service and generosity, and she was always willing to care for others whenever she could. A proud wife and mother, Alice was overjoyed to watch her family tree blossom to include so many loved ones. She poured her heart and soul into everything she did throughout her entire life. Though she will be deeply missed, Alice leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Mrs. Alice May Weller [Hopkins] age 93 of Grand Rapids, passed away Friday, April 8, 2022.
Alice was born in Grand Rapids in the summer of 1928 to the late Walter and Helen Hopkins. Along with her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, John C. Weller as well as by her son-in-law Jim Stambaugh and 8 of her siblings.
Alice is survived by her children, Donna Stambaugh and Michael (Arlene) Weller; her grandchildren, Tony (Dorenda) Stambaugh, Jason (Christine) Stambaugh, Adam (Ashley) Weller and Joseph and Samuel Weller; 17 great-grandchildren and her brother Dan Hopkins; many nieces, nephews and friends.
An Open House to celebrate Alice’s life will be held at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, (2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504) on Friday, April 22, 2022 at 11:00 AM with a reception and refreshments following.
Contributions in her memory may be made to Edison Christian Health Center (1000 Edison Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504).
To leave a memory or condolence please visit www.heritagelifestory.com