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Life Story / Obituary
Gloria Hoffman was a genuine and kind person. Her warm spirit and vibrant personality made her many special friends over the years. An avid shopper, Gloria used retail sales for her own personal therapy. There was rarely a moment when she wasn’t after the greatest bargain or deal on a new outfit or a pair of shoes! She cherished her role as a mother and was overjoyed when she became a grandmother. The wonderful memories she leaves behind will surely be etched on the hearts of her many special friends and loved ones.
Gloria Jean arrived on January 7, 1934, on the brink of what would later be recognized as the turning point in the Great Depression in America. As unemployment rates began to decline, her loving parents, Harold and Tressa (Jelsma) Stouten welcomed her into their loving arms in Pasadena. California. Growing up as the younger sister of her older brother, Donald, her birth brought great joy to the family home.
Born to a set of hardworking parents, the family relocated to the northwest side of Grand Rapids, Michigan when Gloria was one year old, where her father was a successful business owner and her mother a wonderful homemaker. West Leonard Elementary School was the setting for her early days of learning and she later graduated with the Class of 1953 from Union High School. Typical for teens coming of age in the fifties, she enjoyed socializing with her girlfriends at the local theaters and dance halls. There were also plenty of roller skating rink visits as well as ice skating in the winter months. Gloria was well known for her flirtatious personality and loved to chase the boys! Ambitious and eager to earn her way in the world, soon after graduation, she accepted a position as a switchboard operator at Wolverine Brass where she remained for several years. Her hard work and earnest efforts landed her a secretarial position at Knapp & Vogt where she put her skills of shorthand to good use. No matter what Gloria had set her mind to do, she always gave it her best!
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the man of her dreams, Edwin Robert VanderMeer at the tender age of twenty. He was twenty-four and working the local railroad. The two of them hit it off right from the start! Joining in marriage in 1954, they built their family home at 1722 Willis St. NW where they raised their only daughter, Lisa. They shared many happy memories including trips to Disney World and ensuring their daughter had every chance to succeed in life. By the time Lisa was grown and on her own, the spark between her and Robert had faded and their marriage ended in divorce. A few years later, she married Clarence Hoffman, yet after ten years together, their marriage also ended. For the rest of her years, Gloria devoted much of her time to her two loving grandchildren. She poured herself into attending many of their special events and loved to share time in the kitchen with them! Each and every celebration was remembered with love as they were surely the light of her world.
Gloria was a woman of many special interests. She loved to bake, especially pies and cookies, yet banana bread was her specialty. Her cooking and baking skills came in handy when she pursued another job with a food demo company, Show & Tell, where she enjoying selling kitchen gadgets and food items for twelve years. In addition to her shopping, music has always been a passion of hers. She primarily enjoyed the music of the fifties-era yet also took pleasure in a little country from time to time. Gloria was an avid reader of the daily newspaper and also spent time reading medical books which always seemed to fascinate her. She was always up for a game of checkers.
When it came time for relaxation, she often turned on one of her favorite crime shows, such as CSI or Law and Order. When her housework was all caught up, Gloria also enjoyed watching classic movies and loved to watch parades on TV, especially the Rose Bowl Parade from Pasadena which often brought back the feeling of that special connection she had with her birthplace. When she was in the mood for some fun, she’d head to the area casinos or plan a trip to Las Vegas where she tried her luck a couple of times!
Gloria moved in with her daughter, Lisa and son-in-law, Mark in 2015. Sadly in May of 2017, Gloria suffered a heart attack which left her with decreased heart function and for the last two years, MediLodge at the Shore in beautiful Grand Haven became her final home. Gloria will always be remembered for her feisty and opinionated spirit, her organized and meticulous ways, as well as her dedication to providing for the family she loved.
Gloria Jean VanderMeer Hoffman, aged 85, of Grand Rapids and Spring Lake, Michigan passed away on Monday, December 2, 2019. She was the daughter of the late, Harold and Tressa Stouten. She was also preceded in death by her brother, Donald (Henrietta) Stouten. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Mark Raymond; her grandchildren, Brenton Raymond and Collin Raymond; nieces, nephews, and friends. Gloria was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to all who knew her. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A service to celebrate Gloria’s life will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 1:00 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW in Grand Rapids. Visitation will be held on Saturday from 12:00 – 1:00 at the funeral chapel. To sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.heritagelifestory.com