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.
2100 Raybrook SE Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Lorraine Vander Meulen was an exceptionally loving wife, mother, and grandmother. A faithful woman, she lived her life serving others and was richly blessed with an abundant family. A talented seamstress, she enjoyed many years sewing and making clothing, including a wedding gown for her daughter and many special gifts for her family. Known for her feisty demeanor as well as her warm and easy-going personality, Lorraine will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered for generations to come.
Between the years of 1918 to 1919, the influenza pandemic infected roughly one-third of the world’s population. At the tail end of the Progressive Era, it was a time of widespread social activism and political reform. During an exciting time in our nation’s history, Cornelius and Anna (Lovells) Tamboer welcomed home their precious baby girls, Lorraine and her twin sister, Louise, on December 8, 1918, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Later joined by her younger brother, Neal, her birth was a sign of great promise to her family.
Lorraine’s childhood was spent living on the northeast side of the city. As a child, she and her sister took tap dancing lessons and attended Palmer Elementary. The children spent many of their summer days at their parent’s cottage on Bass Lake. They enjoyed passing their time fishing, swimming, and enjoying the outdoors. Many of these early memories shaped Lorraine’s life. When she and Louise grew old enough, they worked at their father’s local grocery store downtown to earn spending money. Active and outgoing, Lorraine enjoyed cheerleading during her high school years. It was during this time that she met, Charles Vander Meulen, the man who would steal her heart forever! Dating off and on from their sophomore year at Creston High School as well as after, they joined in marriage on August 15, 1940.
Lorraine was working at Independent Delivery creating the bicycle delivery routes when they were expecting their first child. Once their son, William, arrived, Charles was drafted into the United States Navy during World War II. With her husband overseas, Lorraine and baby, Bill, moved in with her twin sister, Louise, who also had a child. When Charles was later discharged and returned home, their family grew to include four more wonderful children. Eventually settling into a home on Belknap Street NE, Lorraine relished in her years of being a mother. She had an impressive system to manage the household often doing laundry on Mondays, ironing on Tuesdays, washing bedding on Thursdays, and leaving the cleaning and baking for Saturdays. She and Charles shared their Saturday nights working on their budget and preparing envelopes with cash to pay the bills. The children pitched in to help pedal the payments to the local gas and electric companies as well as the bank to pay the mortgage the following week.
A remarkable housekeeper, she kept their home tidy and was also an excellent cook. Lorraine often took the kids to the local farm to pick fruits and vegetables that she would later can. For a time, they also had a garden in their backyard. The children grew fond of her baking and savored her delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and mouth-watering butterscotch pies! Often after preparing the kids’ breakfasts and lunches she sat at the table to read her Bible. Her faith continued to grow and became an important part of her during these years.
A close-knit family, they’d venture to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where they would rent a cabin and fish to their heart’s content! Mostly, however, they spent many weekends on Bass Lake at her parent’s cottage where Lorraine was known to read The Pilgrim’s Progress to the kids before bedtime. Some of the younger kids experienced trips in the pop-up camper as well as trips out west. When the kids grew older, she started working as a church secretary. Starting out, she worked from home until later she learned to drive and spent more time at the office. Many Saturday nights she would bring home the bulletins for Sunday’s service and the family would help fold them. Their faith as well as the time they spent together as a family created a lasting bond between them.
Once she and Charles were nearing their retirement years, they inherited the cottage on Bass Lake and renovated it into their permanent home. Retirement afforded them both time for their many special interests including bowling and golfing. She and Charles also traveled to Florida each March where they rented a home with her twin sister and her husband for many years. As much as she cherished her years as a mother, Lorraine was overjoyed when she was blessed with grandchildren. She enjoyed attending their special activities, but preferred engaging with them and playing games. Her grandchildren were very important to her and she looked forward to their visits over the years and sharing in their many successes.
When she and Charles grew into their later years, they returned to Grand Rapids. After he passed away in 2004, Lorraine moved to Edison Manor. She was very fond of the daily conversation with many of her close friends there as well as being active on the Wii bowling and golf leagues. As her own health began to decline, she opted for assisted living, yet missed the companionship of her friends at Edison. Later, she moved to Fulton and Holland Home and more recently to the Raybrook campus. She received the very best of care, yet her world was brightened each and every time her family came to visit. Lorraine lived a lifetime of modeling kindness and compassion for others. Her spunky nature and infectious smile will be sorely missed by her many special friends and loved ones.
Lorraine Vander Meulen, (nee Tamboer) age 100, of Grand Rapids, Michigan was taken into the arms of Jesus on August 1, 2019. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles; son Ray; great-granddaughter, Abigail VanderWerf; twin sister and brother-in-law Louise and Gerald Gebraad; and brother, Neal “Bud” Tamboer who sacrificed his life in WWII. Lorraine will be remembered by her children; Bill and Marcia VanderMeulen, Roxie VanderMeulen, Linda and Bob Jonker, Donald and Julie VanderMeulen, Sueann and Tom Hillen; grandchildren, Tom (Julie) VanderMeulen, Jim (Kathy) VanderMeulen, Kathy (Duane) VanderWerf, Mark (Melissa) VanderMeulen, Brian (Lyndsey) VanderMeulen, Jeff VanderMeulen, Brad (Amanda) VanderMeulen, Scott Jonker, Todd (Dawn) Jonker, Brooke (Travis) Scott, Tim (Josie) VanderMeulen, Lori (Joe) Cox, Chuck (Katie) Hillen, Tom Hillen, and Wade (Denise) Hillen; 27 great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Friends are invited to visit with Lorraine’s family on Friday, August 9, 2019, from 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave where the service to remember and celebrate her life will be held on Saturday at 11 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either the Holland Home or Mel Trotter Ministries are appreciated. To share a memory about Lorraine, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com.