Life Story / Obituary
Reflecting on the life of Marlene Overbeek, words such as selfless, loving, and funny come to mind, yet the word that is the most fitting word to describe her is gregarious! She lived her life to the fullest, taking nothing for granted, and looking for the good in others. Her commitment to her family will be the legacy she leaves behind to her many special friends and loved ones.
Marlene Kay was born the youngest of three children to Marvin and Kathryn (VanWingen) Overbeek on May 25, 1949, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The era of the late forties brought much-needed prosperity. Televisions and cars were getting bigger and gaining in popularity in a growing consumer society. Her birth was a highlight for her family during this great period in our nation’s history.
Growing up on the northwest side of town, Marlene lived a typical childhood of the times. From a very young age, she had an interest in becoming a nurse. An excellent student, Marlene paved a pathway of success throughout her educational career. She attended Stocking Elementary before heading to middle school and eventually graduated with the Class of 1967 from Union High School. Her dream came true when she earned her LPN degree from Grand Rapids Community College. Ambitious and outgoing, it was no surprise she landed her first job straight out of college at Butterworth Hospital in the critical care unit. An exceptional caregiver, she remained in the profession for over forty-five years at Spectrum Health before retiring in 2015.
Marlene enjoyed many special pastimes. She loved to travel and frequented Florida to visit her parents over the years. Once retired, she enjoyed more trips to Europe and back to Florida with her travel companion, Marcia. Her favorite place to be was along the seashore. She loved to collect shells and take in the sunshine. Her love of the beach continued back home at Grand Haven beach in the warm Michigan summer months. Later in life, she had health issues that kept her indoors more than she wanted yet was never one to complain.
In addition to travel and the beach, Marlene enjoyed simple pleasures in life. She had an extensive collection of Precious Moments Figures. She was always on the hunt to find one she didn’t have yet! She also liked to hunt for local missing animals and pets and get them back to their owners. Marlene always loved listening to Christian music. The community of the Barkwood Condo Association was grateful for her active involvement with their activities and events. She enjoyed supporting the many perks of living in a close-knit community. When it came to eating out, she loved fish frys during the season of Lent and never passed up an ice cream drumstick or a Diet Vernor’s! Generous with her time and resources, she loved being active in charitable organizations. She was a longtime supporter of the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association. Above all else, Marlene loved spending quality time with her family.
Goofy, as well as even-keeled, Marlene had a special knack for always looking out for everyone and keeping things easy going. She loved to share her humor using her Donald Duck voice and surprising her relatives with her famous White Elephant gifts at the holidays. Her positive outlook often lifted the spirits of others when they needed it most. A true friend with a heart of gold, Marlene will indeed be missed. May her memories live on eternally in the hearts of the many close friends and family she leaves behind.
Marlene Kay Overbeek, age 74, passed away at home on October 20, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents, Marvin (Kathryn) Overbeek; and brothers, Robert and Ronald Overbeek. Marlene is survived by her sister-in-law, Judy Overbeek; nieces and nephew, Teri (Lou) Herdon, Jodi (Brett) Kooistra and Christopher (Heather) Overbeek; grandnieces and nephews, Mitchel Herdon, Brittani Herdon, Jared Kooistra, Andrew Kooistra, Leila Overbeek, Livi Overbeek and Lanie Overbeek; and great-grandnephew, Grayson Herdon. Also surviving are her Aunt Lois Ruiter; good pal, Dave Boes; her dog, Candie; and several cousins. Marlene worked as an LPN in the critical care unit at Butterworth for 45 years and was a member of Westview Christian Reformed Church.
The funeral service will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, November 4 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. The family will receive visitors from 11 AM until the start of the service. Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory or photo or to sign the guestbook.