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.
Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Life Story / Obituary
Jean Carlen, age 97, passed away September 26, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Carlen; daughter, Patricia Carlen Rupley; son, Thomas Carlen; and granddaughter, Ellen Melissa VanGeest Berends. Jean will be missed by her daughter, Linda Carlen VanGeest; grandson, Dr. Jonathan (Sarah) VanGeest and their children, Joshua (Evelyn), Aaron, and Hannah; grandson-in-law, Ryan Berends and their children, Jacob (Jessica), Christian, Emma, and Grace; and grandchildren, Charles Junke and Katherine “Kitty” Hale. Also preceding her in death were the members of her close-knit West Side family, brothers, Robert Sonneveldt, Arnold (Esther) Sonneveldt; sisters, Christine (Cornelius) Brouwer, Janet (Peter) Van Wingen, Josephine (Marvin) Moll, Ruth (Russell) Lindhout and her twin sister, June (George) Barents. Jean’s true love of God and her abiding hope in God’s grace and mercy marked her life, and through her, the lives of family and friends. After many years as faithful members of Immanuel Reformed Church, Jean and Tom found their spiritual home at Reformed Christian Fellowship that met at Samaritus Retirement Village. Jean was appreciated for the many loaves of date bread that she brought for coffee time after the service. She enjoyed Bible Study at the home of good friend Anita Cross and established many close friendships with her Eagle Crest Condominium neighbors. Jean was a gifted and talented cake decorator for many years but her most important role was being a mother to her family, especially to her son Tom. According to her wishes cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 2 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit beginning at 1 PM with refreshments to follow the service. Private interment will be in Greenwood Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Mel Trotter Ministries. Special thanks to Andrea Lim from Faith Hospice for her unwavering and gentle care of Jean this past year.