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.
Emerald Meadows Assisted Living
6117 Charlevoix Woods Ct SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49456
625 Kenmoor Ave SE #115
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Henrietta “Midge” Wiersma, it is easy to see that her faith was interwoven into everything she did. She was gracious, compassionate, and lived to love and care for others whether her family or the patients in her care. Midge took her roles as a wife and mother to heart, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. She experienced so many things and saw so many amazing places, but what made these experiences so extraordinary was sharing them with the ones she loved. Midge always liked to look her best and it has been said that she didn't shy way from buying things she liked. She will be deeply missed, but her memory will live on in the hearts and lives of all who are blessed to know her.
Life during the 1930s was largely defined by the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce the unemployment rate soared, and countless American families felt the stress and strain of the times. To make matters worse, a crippling drought covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. Despite the trials around them, there was much to celebrate as Henrietta was born into a bustling family on April 27, 1932. Joining her older siblings, Simon, Sarah, and Babe, she was raised in the family home primarily in the Cutlerville area.
In many ways, Midge was a young girl of her generation. She always spoke fondly of her childhood, yet she also talked of how she had been picked on by her siblings since she was the youngest. Midge never let it bother her too much though, and she always laughed when she told of these stories. Even as a young girl she had a great sense of humor, and her sassier side was also something that developed while she was growing up. Midge enjoyed being with her family and also helped her father in the garden. While growing up she developed a deep faith, and it was this faith that was a cornerstone in her life until she drew her last breath.
Midge was a good student, and she attended schools locally including Christian High School.
After graduating from high school, Midge was eager for all that life has in store. She attended Wayne State University for a time, and then she returned back to the Grand Rapids area to attend Butterworth School of Nursing, following in the footsteps of her mother who had also been a nurse. Midge became an RN and set off on a career she loved. She spent some time working at Pine Rest, where her mother had worked. Midge really enjoyed all aspects of her job including making relationships with her co-workers, caring for patients, and the work she did as well. Much of her life was spent working as a nurse, and after working at Pine Rest she worked various shifts at Butterworth Hospital including working with babies and as a surgical nurse. Midge also worked at Porter Hills Retirement Community, and then at Kent Community Hospital before retiring. As someone who was social and outgoing, she could always fit in anywhere.
Not to be forgotten was Midge's introduction to the man of her dreams. His name was Robert Gingrich, and he was a friend of a nursing school classmate's boyfriend. Upon their introduction, Midge and Bob began dating and quickly found themselves deeply in love. With the desire to spend the rest of their lives together they were married on March 8, 1957, at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church. They complimented each other well and enjoyed just being together, and remained lifelong friends with the other couple that married as well.
After living a few places, the couple eventually built their longtime home on Lanco Drive, NW. There, Midge and Bob raised their three children, Bob, Bill and Missy. At home, Midge kept everything in order with various systems, schedules, and routines. Although she didn’t really like to cook, Midge was pretty good at it, and she was a great baker as well. Among her family’s favorites were her red velvet cake and her German potato salad. They had a swimming pool, and Midge loved sitting in the sun by the pool. As a family they took some vacations, but some of their most precious family memories were made when their children were older and they rented a cottage in Pentwater. They often treated their grandchildren to spending some time with them there. Later life, Midge and Bob often traveled to Europe for three weeks.
A woman of many interests, Midge was always on the go. When not working or traveling, she liked to shop – and she wasn’t afraid to buy things! Midge always looked put together as her hair and nails were always done, her jeans were crisp, and everything always worked together. They were active members of Faith United Methodist Church, and for years she sang in the choir there, practicing on Wednesday nights. Midge and Bob kept a boat in Grand Haven for several years. She really enjoyed her time there until she fell in the boat. Later in life Midge was filled with great joy to become a grandmother. She was very involved in the lives of her grandchildren and was there to support them in all their sports and 4-H events.
As she grew older Midge, experienced both peaks and valleys in her journey. Her mind began to cloud with dementia, but they were able to remain in their home on Tall Meadow for several years as she and Bob worked together. They made many adjustments over the years, but Midge faced the challenges she faced with grace and without complaint. It was her faith that primarily carried her through the hard times, which was such an inspiration to others. When Bob’s health began to fail, they moved to Vista Springs. A short time later, he passed away on October 25, 2017. Midge eventually moved to Emerald Meadows where she passed away exactly one year later, on October 25, 2018.
With unending love for those around her, Midge Gingrich was such a blessing to many. She was guided by her unwavering faith, and her highest calling was to share with as many as should could of the reason for the joy in her heart. Midge was never one to let life get the best of her, and she counted it all as joy. Although she will be deeply missed, her family finds comfort in knowing that she is enjoying perfect peace in her eternal home.
Midge Gingrich, age 86 of Grand Rapids, passed away Thursday, October 25, 2018. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert. Midge is survived by her children Bob (Julie) Gingrich Jr., Bill (Margaret) Gingrich, Missy (Steve) Bailey; grandchildren, Bob (Amber), Jessalyn, Jon, Allison, Ashley and Courtney; great grandchildren Alaya, Keegan and Ty James; her sister-in-law, Jackie (Bill) Bylenga; as well as several nieces, nephews and friends. She was a longtime member of Faith United Methodist Church. The service to celebrate Midge’s life will be held on Monday, October 29, 2018 at 11 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Entombment in Rosedale Cemetery. Relatives and friends may visit her family at the funeral home on Monday morning from 10:00 am until the service begins. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Kindred Hospice or Emerald Meadows Assisted Living are appreciated. To read more about Midge’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.