Friday, February 8, 2019
2:00 PM EST
West Leonard Christian Reformed Church
1053 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Friends may visit with Amanda's family beginning at 1 PM. There will be additional time to visit with her 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.
303 Division Ave South
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Online, please specify "God's Kitchen" for the program, and in memory of "Amanda Gorman"
Life Story / Obituary
What a joy it was for us to find out that we were expecting a baby to add to our family. On March 29, 1982, into the world came Amanda Beth, healthy and strong. We loved her at first sight. Always curious about everything and wanting to explore as much as she could, Amanda followed me everywhere! Her older siblings – Melanie and Rob – were fascinated with this new little person and were a great help to me as she grew into toddlerhood. But her little nose was severely bumped when brother Micah arrived almost four years later. Although he seemed to cramp her style for a while, they grew to be great friends.
When Amanda was four years old, we discovered that she had a form of epilepsy that manifested itself as absence seizures, where she would just “go blank” or stop whatever she was doing for a while. After some testing, medication seemed to fix this, but the seizures became so frequent in kindergarten, that we decided to home school through first and second grade. It was challenging and fun, but Amanda really missed being around other kids, and so rejoined West Side Christian in the third grade. When she reached middle school, the Holy Spirit worked in her heart to the point that she wanted to declare publicly that Jesus was her Lord and Savior, and she did that, along with friend Lisa Vander Meer, in front of the congregation of West Leonard Church.
High school, however, proved to be a rougher road. Amanda was never content to be a “status quo” person at Calvin Christian High, and soon found herself more comfortable among the “alternative crowd,” which at that time tended to be a little bit gothic. As a senior, she hung out downtown and at a coffee shop, where she met some friends with whom she stayed connected all her life. One – Michael Corbin – she married at the age of 18; that fell apart in two years, and she humbly asked for sanctuary in our home.
During those two years, however, Amanda completed a medical assistant program at Olympia Institute while working at Subway and at a gas station. She loved the job she landed at the VA Clinic, eventually working as a support assistant for a large staff in the mental health department. “I love my veterans,” is something she would often say.
Four years later, along came the guy she called “the boy version of me,” Shawn Gorman. After dating for quite a while, they were married in West Leonard Church in 2006. Although they were essentially “perfect for each other,” some life circumstances and Amanda’s deteriorating health were factors that drove them apart.
Then our dear daughter continued to struggle with mental, emotional and physical problems that prompted numerous surgeries, numerous doctor visits and numerous visits to emergency rooms. Her seizure disorder exploded into two other types of seizures, and her other health problems left her depressed and lonely much of the time, despite many medications.
Several years later, she reconnected with one of her old friends from “coffee shop” days, Jeremy Yakes. Jeremy had struggles of his own, but the two of them were happy together and were planning a future. Jeremy tragically passed away on December 30, 2017, and Amanda’s depression and health issues grew worse and worse. Her bipolar disorder left her often sleeping for many days, but it also prompted her to be very upbeat on other days, and during those times, we enjoyed her bright personality and crazy humor! A quote she liked was “Once I tried to be normal. It was the worst two minutes of my life!”
We want you to remember Amanda for the loving and caring person she was. She loved her family and friends intensely and was very generous. We believe that one of the special gifts God gave her was to be a listener and an encourager to friends and family and even to people she only knew online. She loved all kinds of animals (especially her dogs – Buddy and Lola – and her cat, Mercedes), right down to the mosquito larvae that grew in the back yard pool! She was an “artsy” person and liked to draw and reveled in anything that was unique, especially something tie-dye or animal print. Quite a few years ago, she wrote out on a legal pad a children’s book entitled All My Children Have Paws: An Adoption Story. Her deep desire was to be a mom some day, but she grew to accept that that might not happen because of her illnesses and the medicines she took. Yet she was hoping to be a great stepmom to Jeremy’s children.
But most of all, Amanda would want everyone to know that she was first of all a child of God, that she knew that Jesus died for her and that she would someday spend eternity with Him-- and she would want all of her family and friends to be there too! One time when Amanda was in pain and distressed, she started singing worship songs in her bedroom, presumably to soothe herself, and she did have a pretty good voice. Today we know that, clothed in the righteousness of her Savior, her song joins the one that never ends – the endless hallelujah!
Early Tuesday morning, January 29, Amanda was welcomed with the arms and smile of her Savior, Jesus, into her eternal home. She is now released from the physical, mental and emotional struggles of life on this earth and experiences joy and glory beyond our imaginations. Yet her family deeply grieves losing her from this earth. These include her parents Martin and Susan Lettinga; her siblings, Melanie & David Vander Wal, Robert Lettinga, and Micah & Rachel Lettinga, along with her nieces and nephews: Anna Blanshan, Jonathan Lettinga, Christian Lettinga and Garrett and Grace Vander Wal; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Her fiancé, Jeremy Yakes, preceded her in death in December, 2017. Amanda was a graduate of West Side Christian School, Calvin Christian High and Olympia Institute. Although recently on Disability, Amanda thoroughly enjoyed the work she did as a medical assistant at the VA Clinic, and all veterans were dear to her heart. She deeply cherished her friends. She loved anything that was unusual or artistic and adored all kind of animals and insects. Jesus said to her and to us all, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
The service to remember and celebrate Amanda's life will be held on Friday, February 8, at 2:00 p.m. at West Leonard Christian Reformed Church, 1053 Leonard Street NW, where friends are invited to visit with her family from 1:00 until the service and for a period of time immediately following the service. Amanda had a heart for the homeless in our city, and donations in her memory to God’s Kitchen are appreciated. To read more about Amanda's life, to share a favorite memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com