Life Story / Obituary
Elizabeth “Bette” was born on December 28, 1926. She grew up in Holland with her three brothers: Bill, Ray and Paul, and her sister, Martha. She attended Holland Christian High and later transferred to Holland High so she could study art and home economics (a decision that would prove to be fruitful in her long life). Bette married Elmer VanDyke in June of 1947 and together they built their little red brick house on Felch St. They had three children: Dave, Karen and Kim. Her children grew up and gave Bette her most prized possessions, her 10 grandchildren rounding out her “gang” as she lovingly referred to her family.
She was the ultimate party planner and ensured that her gang was together frequently to celebrate birthdays or other milestones and achievements. Bette was always there with a smile so big and proud and ensured no one went home hungry. Nope, not on Bette’s watch! Anytime she was out in public she’d be sure to brag about her beloved family, especially her grandchildren. Every event, no doubt, was marked by Bette’s love of photography, sometimes much to the dismay of her family. No one could leave the premises until Bette the shutterbug had satisfactory photos and or a home video or two. And when you did manage to leave, you could be sure she would be standing on the front porch, waving a long goodbye.
Bette had a passion for arts, crafts and music. If you walked into her house on any given day in the 1980’s, you’d most likely find her decorating some of the wood creations that Elmer made, getting them ready for the next craft bazaar or she’d be painting along with Bob Ross on the television. In her later years, she crafted frogs out of fabric and filled them with beans, giving one to any kid she encountered. She volunteered at a school for Project Charlie and gave each student a frog as well. She also volunteered for Kids’ Food Basket, decorating endless amounts of brown paper bags for kids’ school lunches, undoubtedly bringing a smile to so many young faces as they ate their lunch.
Camping was a beloved hobby of Bette and Elmer. Over the years they had many campers, but everyone’s favorite was an old school bus they converted to a camper complete with shag carpet. The Vans Wagon, as it was referred to, was a favorite hangout for the entire gang. The grandkids loved to pile into the back of this signature recreational vehicle with grandpa at the wheel, sure to hit all the bumps in the road, sending the grandkids into a fit of laughter. Elmer and Bette belonged to the Holland Weekenders camping group and often took their grandchildren along when they camped in the summer. Bette’s sister owned property on Hutchins Lake in Fennville and she and the whole gang loved to spend time camping there. Timberlake Resort was another favorite place to camp with her daughter Karen and son-in-law Joe. Tri-Ponds being a favorite of the grandkids.
Anyone who met Bette knew she was a classy lady who would never leave the house without her makeup on. Even in her late years, she required a tube of lipstick to be “presentable” for visitors. One would often find her applying her signature color, Raisinberry!
Bette had many accomplishments in her life; she was the longest subscriber to the Holland Sentinel and in fact, they have written a feature about her. Feeling the need for some ruckus and noise, Bette started a kitchen band at both Evergreen Commons and Appledorn. Who says Grannies can’t rock?! She kept the beat with a drum, while everyone else in the band chose their favorite kitchen utensil or gadget to play along. Bette was involved in her church where she was the top saleswoman of Pigs in a Blanket (no one could say no to Bette when she flashed that freshly applied lipstick smile!)
Friendships were also important to Bette. For over 70 years, once a month, she met up for breakfast with some of the girls she went to school with. She lovingly referred to them as the girls she used to “chum with.” She was so proud of the fact that they still kept in touch. No one was a stranger to her. In fact once on a trip to the East Coast, she and Elmer met another couple when their camper broke down and they became fast friends, each visiting one another at their homes over the years. A friendship she cherished.
Bette will be missed by so many; she touched countless lives with her good natured spirit, loving smile and infectious laugh. Rest assured, she is surely looking down, smiling and waving her final goodbye to everyone she loved. Her hope for the world was more peace so as you reflect on Bette’s life today, let’s all sprinkle in some peace and kindness in her honor.
Elizabeth “Bette” VanDyke of Holland, MI, passed away on December 2, 2022 at the age of 95. She was proceeded in death by her husband Elmer J Vandyke, infant daughter Julie Ann, son David J Vandyke, sister Martha Sackett, and brother William (Bill) Sikkel. She is survived by her brothers, Raymond (Ray) Sikkel and Paul Sikkel; her children; Karen (Joe) Patitucci, Kim (Pete) Vandermolen, daughters-in-law Sue Seidelman and Betty VanDyke; 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.
Visitation is 10am-12pm on Friday, December 9, 2022 at Rose Park Reformed Church with a service at 12pm. A luncheon will immediately follow. A burial will be held privately where she will be laid to rest at Restlawn Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to the Rose Park Reformed Church Memorial Fund.