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Life Story / Obituary
Liz was born on April 14, 1980 to Andy and Coby Mast. As the sixth child in a busy household, Liz often got carried along with the chaos around her. However, she never had trouble marching to her own drumbeat. From a young age, Liz was passionate about animals, especially horses. She galloped around the house on her knees pretending to be a horse. “Punky” the pony helped cement her love for horses. Punky was responsible for Liz’s first equine injury- a broken arm.
As a teen, Liz purchased her first horse “Smoke in the Turn” also known as “Smoky”. Smoky was a retired racehorse and has lived with Liz for over 25 years. He is now a ‘cranky old man’ at age 32. She has owned many horses over the years: Barney, Teddy, Keno, Katie, Willie, Flirt, School Bus and Peterbilt. Liz spent many hours on the back of a horse. She camped with them, went trail riding/racing and was also known to ride her horse to the Wright Tavern.
In high school, through her connections with her horse friends, Liz began driving horse-drawn carriages in downtown Grand Rapids. She spent every weekend, rain, snow, or baking heat driving people through the city streets. She helped grant a wish through Make a Wish Foundation by driving a Cinderella carriage for a young girl with Cystic Fibrosis.
The equine business is not without its dangers and Liz had her fair share of injuries: Broken arm, collision with a tree, carriage crash (after a stranger grabbed her horse, spooking him), numerous falls from horses resulting in concussions, stitches and large hoof-shaped bruises, to name a few. She refused to be deterred, but instead began working on a thoroughbred farm. She met many people while travelling down to Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. She spent countless hours in cold barns (often sleeping there for a week or more) foaling out horses. She made many “crazy horse friends” in the process.
Liz’s brother Matthew had a near drowning accident prior to Liz’s birth. She spent lots of time helping care for him. Her strong arms helped lift him in and out of bed and in and out of his wheelchair. She always got him to laugh or smile. When Matt moved to David’s House, Liz took the time to stop and visit him. She got to know many of the residents from house #3. She enjoyed supporting David’s House through their annual Walk-a-thon, pushing Matt in his wheelchair and encouraging others along the way.
In the summer of 1994, when Liz’s parents moved their house, Liz stayed with Tim and Marsha Brookens and their girls for 6 weeks. She gained 4 younger sisters in the process. They made lots of memories and had lots of laughs. Liz didn’t like some of the rules that Marsha set up, like making her bed every day. She got around that rule by making the bed once and then sleeping on top of the covers, so that she didn’t mess up the sheets every day. Those six weeks grew into a lifelong friendship.
Liz had many adventures throughout her lifetime: A trip out West with her family, to the Netherlands for a 50th wedding anniversary celebration, North Carolina with Aunt Jen, Niagara Falls/New Hampshire/Vermont with Mom and Aunt Jen, Tennessee and the U.P. with Gina and Aunt Jen, Spring Break in Florida with Beth and the kids, many fun places around the world with friends, and more recently with Deb to Savannah. She also went on several missions trips: Germany, Colorado, and Tennessee/Kentucky to name a few. Wherever Liz went she made friends. She had an amazing ability to chat people up from all walks of life and make them feel important.
We couldn’t talk about travel, without mentioning the annual cousin camping trip with Mom’s side of the family. She spent hours hanging out with family, coloring or playing cards with nieces and nephews, swimming, going for walks or rafting trips. She was well known for her antics. Whether she slept in her truck or curled up by the campfire, or embarrassed one of the boyfriends that someone was brave enough to bring, the party rarely started until Aunt Liz arrived.
Liz was active in her church’s youth group. She enjoyed teaching the youth about Jesus. She also instilled life lessons on how to work, and good work ethics when on their summer missions trips. She loved building relationships with the girls and encouraging them to get out of their comfort zones. She taught many how to be comfortable in their own skin and modeled how to be authentic. She gave lots of hugs and had the best smile, making everyone feel important.
Liz was loved by all and had a way of drawing a crowd. She had a magnetic personality that accepted people for who and what they were, without judgement. Her humor showed through in all that she did. Her cell phone has lots of contacts, including a smattering of people who are only identified by her personal nicknames for them: Two Beer Timmy, “Cuncle” Henry, Daddy Warbucks, “Security”, Big John, Joe Boy, Little Bo Peep, Little Lady, Sir Chadwick of the North, and Chopper to name a few.
Her love of humor and ability to crack jokes and put people at ease extended to her journey through cancer. She was well liked by her chemo nurses and doctors. Once, a physician asked if there was anything else he could get for her, she responded with, “I could really use a beer right now”. The doctor laughed and said he would join her. Liz named her tumor “T.J.” after a terrible boyfriend. After surgery to remove T.J. which resulted in a 14 inch scar, Liz was determined that she would explain her scar as a shark bite that she obtained while swimming in Lake Michigan, just to see if anyone would believe her. Once, when getting ready for yet another CT scan at the hospital, the radiology technician asked if she had ever had a CT scan before. Her response? “Well, if they did a punch card for these, this one would be free!”
Liz was determined to share her faith, through her cancer journey, with any and all she came into contact with. She was often heard to say, “God’s got me. He’s got this!”. Her light-hearted banter brightened everyone’s day and had them laughing with her. She saw her cancer as an opportunity to point others to Jesus. Liz had a lasting and eternal impact in this world. There is not doubt that she heard, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” upon entry into Heaven. Liz lived an unapologetically authentic life, pointing others to Jesus through joy, love and laughter. Until we see you again in Heaven Liz! We love you!