Saturday, October 27, 2018
12:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
1 PM - Pastor Josh's words of comfort.
2-4 - Public sharing of memories
4-5 Refreshments and closing
Life Story / Obituary
In the hearts of those who knew and loved Jeaneth Saldana, there was no one quite like her. A selfless and loving woman, Jeaneth knew no greater joy than the love of family. Always full of energy, her ambition was unmatched. Jeaneth filled the lives around her with loving kindness and honesty, and her happiness was contagious. With faith as her guide, she lived to a beat all her own and enjoyed numerous friendships along the way. Although her time with us was all too brief, Jeaneth leaves behind a loving legacy to be forever remembered.
The year 1968 was a year of mixed blessings throughout the U.S. and beyond. The first successful heart transplant was the beginning of great medical breakthroughs to come while the travesties of the Vietnam War weighed heavily on the hearts of all. Yet in the country of Guatemala, social, economic and political upheavals continued to plague this beautiful Mayan land at a time when hope for brighter tomorrows seemed bleak. For Guadelupe and Bertha (Ramirez) Lopez, a ray of sunshine came in the form of a new baby girl to love when they welcomed the birth of Dora Jeaneth on March 28, 1968.
The second youngest of ten children in her family and the youngest girl of seven, Dora or “Jeaneth” as she was affectionately known kept close to her heart many good memories of Guatemala. Her father worked hard with his taxi business and as a musician who played the steel drums in a local band. With ten children in tow, Jeaneth’s mother remained at home as a busy homemaker. Jeaneth attended the area schools and shared numerous childhood adventures with her siblings and neighborhood friends. As she grew older she came to realize the instability of her homeland and quite the visionary, she had big dreams of her own.
Jeaneth met and began dating George Caceres. When her older brother, Rene moved to Los Angeles, California seeking a better life and more opportunity, Jeaneth soon followed with some of their family and friends. George also followed Jeaneth to Los Angeles and before long they were joined in marriage. Jeaneth could not have been happier than when she became the mother of Andrea and Jonathan who were both born in California. While life for Jeaneth and her family was much better in the states, California’s busy and hectic lifestyle was too much. In time Jeaneth’s brother moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where the traffic was less, there were better jobs, lower crime, and less expensive homes. Her husband, George went on ahead and secured a home at 138 Indiana NW for the family and in 1996, Jeaneth came to Michigan with their two children. It wasn’t long before they welcomed the birth of another child into their lives when Bryan was born.
While her marriage to George eventually came to an end, Jeaneth was forever grateful for her children. A hard worker and quite disciplined, Jeaneth did well for herself as a single mom. Her children always had the greatest respect for her and admired her ambition and perseverance. As a mother Jeaneth was a lot of fun. She loved making up games and always had surprises for her kids. Her favorite holiday was Christmas and she absolutely loved decorating and buying all sorts of presents for those she loved. With ways all her own, Jeaneth’s fun and festive nature made the holidays extra special. Jeaneth had a passion for buying shoes and purses, and not just once in a while. Quite a shopaholic, Jeaneth was always keeping up with the latest trends and she enjoyed redecorating her home whenever she had the opportunity.
Despite what came her way, Jeaneth remained positive and family always came first. Eventually five of her siblings moved to the Grand Rapids area where her home served as the base for the family. With open arms, they would come and go as they pleased, and for Jeaneth, they were always welcome, just they way she liked it.
Life as Jeaneth knew it took a new turn when she met Evelio Saldana in 2000 at a local dance hall. They quickly took an interest in each other and soon became a couple. After meeting Evelio, Jeaneth’s faith also came to have new meaning. On June 23, 2003, Jeaneth and Evelio were married at Resurrection Life Church. They were happy to announce the birth of their son, Christian later that year, and in 2005 their son, Anthony completed their family. Jeaneth was overjoyed with her life with Evelio and now could solely focus on family.
Together with those she loved by her side, Jeaneth loved the outdoors. She got excited about everything, and it didn’t take much to put a smile on her face. As a family they enjoyed being outdoors, especially enjoying their love for camping, and at Ludington State Park, one of their favorite spots. Being outdoors, talking, enjoying campfires, and eating together brought Jeaneth great joy. They often camped in tents and in later years in a pop-up camper. They loved riding their bikes to John Ball Zoo or the park for a picnic, and sometimes down to Dairy Queen for ice cream. Jeaneth never failed to order a chocolate dipped cone but in addition she always had to have a cup for extra chocolate so she could re-dip her cone!
Along with fun-filled bike rides together, Jeaneth and her family loved playing and working outside together, and teamwork built on love truly summed up her marriage to Evelio. They were never far from each others side and simply loved being together. Jeaneth was a good cook and her delicious lasagna was always a family favorite. She loved her coffee with a little milk each morning, and with her love for sweets, she favored Higo candy fruit. When it came to music, Jeaneth liked salsa and the sounds of Bachata. Jeaneth loved her homeland and always looked forward to their travels to Guatemala and Mexico to see their extended family.
In 2007, Jeaneth and Evelio moved their family to their current home at 846 Covell Avenue NW where they continued to make treasured memories. For 12 years, Jeaneth worked for Royal Plastics where she made many friends, but her family always came first.
Nearly 18 years ago, Jeaneth was diagnosed with a rare liver disease, one which her mother passed away from and her sisters have the same disease, also. For many years Jeaneth was able to manage the disease well, but four years ago it became more serious. While she was forced to leave her job, Jeaneth put her determination to work and began purchasing and managing rental homes. Despite her illness, Jeaneth remained hopeful and positive. She had just enough feistiness in her strong nature to give it all she had, and then some! By way of example, Jeaneth taught her children well as they observed their determined and visionary mother create a life not only for herself, but a future for the family she adored.
Church and their church family became a solid rock for which Jeaneth and her family could stand during her times of illness. When Evelio came into her life, they began attending Resurrection Life Church. Their family attended church together each Sunday and Jeaneth was even baptized there. Faith brought Jeaneth great comfort as the end drew near. So strong was her faith and the great peace she found with God that Jeaneth decided to stop her treatments and focus on being with family. Always loved and never far from memories reach, Jeaneth will be deeply missed.
Dora Jeaneth Saldana age 50, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 in the company of her family and comfort of her home. She was preceded in death by her parents, Guadalupe and Bertha Lopez. Jeaneth is survived by her husband, Evelio Saldana; children, Andrea (Richard) Brown, Jonathan Caceres, Bryan Caceres, Christian Saldana and Anthony Saldana; and grandson, Kingsley Brown. Also surviving are her siblings, Rene Lopez, Lethy Lopez, Hayde Lopez, Oscar Lopez, Sandra Lopez, Betty Lopez, Lupe Lopez, Julio Lopez, Irma Lopez and Silvia Lopez; many nieces and nephews. Family and Friends will gather on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from noon until 5:00 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW where at 1:00 PM Pastor Josh from Resurrection Life will share words of comfort, and from 2-4 PM family and friends are invited to share their memories before a time of refreshments from 4-5 PM at the funeral home. For those who wish, contributions in Jeaneth’s memory may be made to Faith Hospice. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo of Jeaneth and to sign her online guestbook.