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Audrey Trainer

November 9, 1941 - May 20, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI

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Life Story / Obituary


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Audrey Trainer was a supportive and loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She lived her life fully by extending herself selflessly to others. Her family was her greatest source of pride. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for each and every one of them. A gracious hostess and natural nurturer, no one was ever made to feel a stranger in her presence. Audrey leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories that will fondly be remembered by all who knew and loved her.

So much of our nation’s history was characterized by the year 1941. It was the year that marked the fateful attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. Franklin D. Roosevelt was leading the United States into unprecedented times. Arthur and Laura (Miner) Dells welcomed home their newborn daughter, Audrey on November 9th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth brought her parents great joy and promise during an era of great change.

Growing up one of seven children, Audrey learned the importance of family at a young age. They made their home at Dean Lake in Plainfield Township. Although the children were blended together from Arthur’s two children from his first marriage and the five children he and Laura shared, they were remarkably close. Audrey attended North Park School and participated in Girl Scouts. Her skills in scouts paid off when she used them to save a boy who fell through the ice when she was at the tender age of thirteen. The inspirational story of Audrey saving his life was printed in the local newspaper.

During her early development years, Audrey built a special relationship with her Aunt Dorothy, and loved to visit her and write her letters. As a teenager, Audrey loved going to the beach in Grand Haven with her friends as well as roller skating. A natural with children, she also enjoyed babysitting and was a nanny for the Brann’s children. Her hard work and earnest ability to save money helped to keep her ‘49 Chevy full of gas and ready to cruise the town with her girlfriends. Audrey went on to attend Oakview School before graduating with the Class of 1959 from Creston High School.

Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the man of her dreams, Roy Trainer! While he was working as a lifeguard at Lamberton Lake, Audrey caught his eye. Their first date was a romantic drive to Grand Haven. Five years later, they joined in marriage on July 7, 1961 at North Park Presbyterian Church. Audrey’s parents’ home at Dean Lake was the perfect setting for their small reception. The happy couple settled into their first home on Sibley Street. They also lived on Aberdeen near 3 mile and Dexter Street before they later moved to Ohio. During the course of these years, they also started their family ending up with five wonderful children.

Audrey relished in her role as a homemaker. As a family, they enjoyed camping. When the children were small they tent camped and worked their way up to a pop-up camper and later a large trailer camper. She was a fabulous cook and the family savored her delicious homemade meatloaf, cabbage stew, and baked beans. She loved to look up and try new recipes and bring them to countless family get-togethers over the years. Audrey loved any amount of time she spent with family and looked forward to family reunions and especially celebrating the Fourth of July!

As the children grew more independent, Audrey turned to the workforce to help supplement the family income. She enjoyed working as a nurses aid at Butterworth Hospital and later worked at Grand Rapids Die Cast. When her youngest child had grown, Audrey accepted a job at Robinette’s Orchard. Audrey loved her time there so much she remained each fall and spring season for twenty years earning her the nickname, the Donut Lady! As much as she treasured her years as a mother, Audrey adored her years as a grandmother. In addition to being the donut expert for show and tell at her grandchildren’s schools over the years, she attended all of their sporting and special school events. She always enjoyed reading books to them and giving them one of her special back rubs. Audrey and Roy also loved to take their grandchildren to the Whitecaps baseball games. Each and every time they were together was a special memory.

Audrey also shared a love of many special pastimes. She was a Detroit Tigers fan and enjoyed following the NASCAR races. In addition to following sports, she loved to travel. During retirement, they traveled to Florida as well as a memorable train trip through Canada for their 50th wedding anniversary. They also continued camping with their family most commonly at Ludington State Park. Each and every trip over the years was carefully journaled. Audrey loved to keep track of many of the special places where they stopped from back roads to restaurants as well as ones she would recommend to others if she knew someone was going to be traveling to the area. Described as accepting and welcoming, Audrey modeled a life of loving fully. May her loved ones always feel her warm presence as well as know that her love for them is eternal. One of her favorite poems comes from Edgar Albert Guest, “Not enough for her are flowers, her life is so blent with ours that in all we dare and do; She is partner, through and through; Suffering when we suffer pain, Happy when we smile again, Living with us, night and day—That is ever mother's way.”

Audrey M. Trainer, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away unexpectedly May 20, 2020. Audrey was born November 9, 1941, in Grand Rapids to the late Arthur and Laura (Miner) Dells. She will be remembered as an expert Robinettes donut maker, and her love of hummingbirds, camping and especially her family. Audrey is survived by her husband of 59 years, Roy Trainer; children, Todd (Sue) Trainer of Rockford, Troy (Stefanie) Trainer of Grandville, Tami (Ryan) Steagald of Grand Rapids, Traci Clark of Grand Rapids, Tina (Jesse) Moreno of Wyoming; grandchildren, Brooke (Chris Wilder) Trainer, Kristin (Richard) Perry, Niko (R.B. VandenBerge) Moreno, Ross (Lucy) Trainer, Zach (Taylor Troost) Trainer, Brandon (Moriah) Clark, Bryce (Elizabeth Williams) Steagald, Natalia Moreno, Jessica (Kody Larsen) Trainer; great grandchildren, Bristol, Owen, Penelope, Adaline, Gray, Maverick, Richie, Nora and Lydia. Also surviving are her siblings, Merrie (Robert) Endres of Grand Rapids, Janet (Cork) Milewski of Rockford, Glenn (Marcia) Dells of Lowell, Tom (Caryn) Dells of Gowen, Betty Mason of Kentwood, Jerry (Mary) Norton of Schoolcraft; as well as Roy's sisters and brothers. A celebration of life will be held at a future date. To leave a memory or condolence visit www.heritagelifestory.com.

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