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Life Story / Obituary
Loren Wolters was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Modeling a lifetime of giving selflessly to the family he loved, he would do absolutely anything for each and every one of them. Loren loved to celebrate the many successes of his close-knit family over the years. Known for his optimism and carefree nature, he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who were privileged to know and love him.
Although the Thirties were marked by tough economic times, the decade also saw an expansion of new technologies, especially in the areas of radio and film. In the year 1933 for example, five-year-old Shirley Temple signed a contract with Fox and the original King Kong movie was released. Ernest and Margaret (Vandyke) Wolters welcomed home their newborn baby son, Loren, on May 8, 1933, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although he was born the fourth child following his older brothers, Ernest and Gord and sister, June, after his baby sister, Donna, passed away at the tender age of six months, Loren was then raised as the youngest of his family.
Growing up on Webster Street NW, Loren lived a typical childhood of the times. His father worked close to home at the County Road Commission and his mother was a homemaker. He and his siblings got into their fair share of mischief and he found great solace in both hunting and fishing at a young age leading him to a lifelong love of the outdoors. He was raised with a strong foundation of faith from the Baptist church. Loren attended Palmer Elementary followed by West Middle. As a teen, he enjoyed boxing, yet admitted honestly that his older brother, Gord, was a better boxer! During his high school years, he enjoyed washing trucks at the road commission for extra spending money.
After graduating from Union High School he enlisted with the United States Navy. Proudly serving two years, he found great brotherhood with other soldiers although he did get seasick easily. Stationed in Norfolk, Loren made many lasting friendships before he was discharged. Returning home to Michigan as a taller and more stealth looking fellow, his parents barely recognized him! He eagerly returned to his work with the road commission working his way up to a truck and plow driver as well as hot roller operator. Loren managed the stock room while also working as a mechanic before he was promoted to the Director of Equipment. Loren’s years with the commission led to him overseeing the building of the south complex, which true to his character, was completed ahead of schedule and under budget! Well-liked by his co-workers, he made many lasting relationships during his time there.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of Betty Gilde, the woman of his dreams! Sharing many commonalities and a perfect match for one another, the two of them joined in marriage on May 20, 1956. Loren also gained a son, Lew, during that marriage. Settling into their longtime home on Ellsmere, their family grew to include two more children. Together as a family, they shared many happy memories in the neighborhood. It was commonplace for them to have socials in the street including parades and celebrations together over the holidays. They also enjoyed many years of camping together. Starting out in tents before traveling in their campers and trailers that Loren had restored, they treasured these simple times for many years.
Much like his own upbringing, Loren and Betty valued raising their children with a strong faith and regularly attended Faith Lutheran Church. Although Loren often stated the fact that he felt closer to God while fishing for trout in a stream than he did in church, he never wavered from the importance of raising his children to know God. Loren found great pleasure in keeping up with the yard work and managing the maintenance of their home over these years. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix around the house and he always kept his tools and lawn equipment very organized and well maintained. A natural-born perfectionist his yard was meticulous and often the envy of the neighborhood!
Loren was a great provider for his family often working long hours to ensure his family had the best of everything! Even when times were tight, they managed to see the glass as half full and celebrate with one another the special times they shared. After a long day at work, he would return home, plop himself in his chair and read the daily newspaper before joining them at the dinner table. Without fail each and every night, he would thank his lovely bride for the meal she had prepared and returned to relaxing.
His hard work paid off when he retired at the age of fifty-eight allowing him and Betty the gift of many years pursuing their favorite pastimes. Avid bowlers, they regularly played on their Tuesday night church league winning many trophies. They also enjoyed many years of traveling often pulling their 5th wheel to numerous states. Many times they were accompanied by special friends. Even though they wintered in Florida, they remained active as grandparents, attending countless sporting events and band events over the years. Loren also taught them all how to fish often making special snacks to take along for their trips together. He especially will be remembered for handing them cookies and for his endless patience with them.
No greater testimony of his love was shown than during the years that Betty’s health declined. A faithful husband, he gave selflessly to her every need in recent years. When Loren was diagnosed with cancer, he chose to live his final years in his own way. A man of simple pleasures who enjoyed solitude, he lived his life fully and accepted his fate knowing he was leaving this life without regrets. With the support of his loving family as well as hospice care, he was able to peacefully take his final breath in his the comfort of his home. A fierce lover of his family, there is no doubt that his presence and steadfast support will be forever missed by his special loved ones.
Loren A. Wolters, age 86 of Grand Rapids, passed away November 2, 2019. Loren was preceded in death by his son, Gary Wolters; his sisters, Donna Wolters and June Koorndyk, and his brother, Ernest “Bud” Wolters. Loren is survived by his wife, Betty Wolters; children, Lew & Pat Wolters, Shellie & Dennis Tietz, Leigh Wolters; grandchildren, Evelyn Wolters, Leah Frazier, Ryan Wolters, Rachel Wolters, Ashley (Brian) Ball, Alyssa (Ryan) House, Aubrey Schultz, Laura (Jake) Tietz; great-grandchildren, Bomin and Danika, Kendall, Hayden and Ava, Sophia and Charlie, Abrianna, Reagan and Connor; brother, Gordon Wolters; as well as several nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Loren’s life will be held on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at 2 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends may visit with his family from 1 PM until the service and for a time immediately following the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Faith Hospice are appreciated as a gift for their wonderful care of Loren during his last days. To share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com