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Life Story / Obituary
There is no doubt that Nicki Hermance lived her life to the fullest. Known to squeeze in every drop of energy into each day, she lived her life selflessly serving others. Nothing brought her greater joy than spending time with her extended family and showering them with attention. Nicki was a beautiful example of living a life of purpose and others were made to become better people just to be in her presence. Gone too soon, Nicki’s zest for life and her remarkable compassion for others will be her greatest legacy.
Her story begins in the year 1979. The quiz game, Trivial Pursuit, was gaining in popularity. Michael Jackson had just released his album, Off the Wall, and the Sony Walkman was a worldwide success! During a promising time in our nation’s history, Wayne and Marilyn (Jeltema) Luurtsema welcomed home their newborn baby girl, Nicole Lynn, on November 16th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joining her older brother, Greg, her birth brought them great joy.
Growing up in the Standale area, Nicki lived a typical childhood of the times. As a youngster, she had a stubborn streak but overall was a pretty easy kid to raise. Bike riding, Barbies and dolls, as well as coloring filled her time. She attended Westside Christian through the eighth grade where she enjoyed playing softball. Nicki excelled at Grandville Calvin Christian and enjoyed playing the viola before she later graduated with the Class of 1998. During high school, Nicki made a lifelong friendship with Tiffany Baarman Kamper who shares the same birthday as Nicki. During her teen years, she worked at Tract League, sorting, stuffing, and organizing. These years proved to be fruitful and supported her in her years at Calvin College where she received her bachelors degree in Nursing in 2002. Nicki never took her hard work for granted and was proud of her accomplishments.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting Matt Hermance. They both had joined an online dating site and talked for a week before they arranged their first date at Grant Depot on February 9, 2001. They shared many commonalities and married on July 13, 2002 at Westview Christian Reformed Church. The happy couple celebrated their union with a romantic honeymoon in the hills of Tennessee. As newlyweds, they settled down in the Wyoming area in a home Matt had purchased. Nicki worked as an RN for Spectrum Health Labor and Delivery and later at Holland Hospital in the ER, and then most recently as a nurse in the cardiac stress testing department. Matt continued his work with Spartan Stores and later graduated with a bachelors degree in nursing as well. Together, they raised two wonderful children, Lauren and Sam. After Lauren, they tried hard to have a second child on their own but were overjoyed to adopt Sam. They find much joy as they are able to stay connected with his birth family.
As a mother, Nicki was very active and involved. She never passed up any game, recital, or school event! A huge supporter and cheerleader for her kids, Nicki celebrated all accomplishments large and small. Despite their busy schedules, she was committed to sharing a family meal each and every night. Her favorite meal was chicken enchiladas or pepper nachos. She didn’t mind cooking but left Matt in charge of breakfast. As a family, they enjoyed traveling. Sports forced some extended trips to areas all over the state during their kids’ active years. A highlight was their trip to Texas for Spring Break as well as visiting the Tennessee mountains. The family also attended the Unity Music Festival together. Any amount of time they were together was sure to include laughter and warm memories. Lauren and Sam would describe Nicki as a kind, caring and generous person that had limitless time and love for them.
Nicki held a wide variety of special pastimes. She enjoyed many genres of music including contemporary Christian artists as well as some pop and classic rock. She enjoyed being home watching her favorite medical shows on TV. Nicki poured her energy out at work and always felt like home was her safe place to unwind. Recently, she and Matt and the kids, built a fire pit in their yard to host family around the campfire. She was known for making Smores and taking a bite before handing it off to guests! Her family enjoyed their special one-on-one moments with her. She was a big fan of Diet Mountain Dew and was not afraid to let that be known. "An ice cold diet dew would go really well with..." is something she was known for saying.
Nicki leaves an enormous nursing legacy as she celebrated many years of beside nursing. She would know exactly the right way of building up others at work and being able to teach as she poured into the lives of the many nurses and techs that she had worked with over the years, including Matt. An exceptional career in nursing fit Nicki's giving and self sacrificial personality perfectly. She dedicated her life to making sure all of her patients received the best care possible. Her coworkers will never forget her wry and sarcastic sense of humor that lightened up dark moments.
Sadly, Nicki died after the result of a tragic accident of falling down the stairs at home. She spent a week in the hospital after suffering a traumatic head injury. She was a source of love and her deep devotion to all people was not only admirable, it was the core of who she was as a person. Her unconditional love will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by the countless lives she touched over the years. Nicki continues to give back even after her passing, as she had signed up to be an organ donor, as she wanted to share the gift of life with others. May Nicki's loved ones draw on her positive approach to living as well as her ability to balance all of the rich opportunities in life.
Obit written by cousin, Ryan Jeltema
Nicole Lynn Hermance, age 43 of Hudsonville, received her warm and eternal welcome into Heaven on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. She lived her life in service to others and part of her lives on in others after she donated her organs as her final gift here on Earth.
Nicki was born Nov. 16, 1979, in Grand Rapids. She was raised in a humble and cozy home in Standale by her mother, Marilyn, with her older brother, Greg. Nicki attended West Side Christian School and Calvin Christian High School before studying to be a nurse at Calvin University. When she was a young girl, Nicki spent countless afternoons and evenings at her grandparents’ house on Crystal Lake in Jenison. She enjoyed swimming, playing in the sand, ice skating and sledding down the big hill that stretched from the front yard all the way to the water. Her cousins treasure memories of playing with Nicki and the way she always looked out for them with a mothering spirit.
Nicki met the love of her life, Matt Hermance, on a website, back before online dating was a thing. They went on their first date in February 2001. They married on July 13, 2002, at Westview Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. Together, they enjoyed 21 years of marriage. Nicki and Matt raised their children, Lauren and Sam, in a loving home focused on serving Christ. Nicki was humble, gave of herself freely and always put her family first just like her beloved Grandma Helen. Nicki was very active and involved in her children’s lives. She celebrated their many accomplishments and always made time for a family meal every day.
Nicki leaves a legacy of building up others at home, at work and around the world. A long career in nursing fit Nicki’s giving and self-sacrificial personality perfectly. She poured herself into her patients and colleagues for 21 years in the Labor and Delivery Department at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital and in the Emergency Department at Holland Hospital. She dedicated her life to ensuring that her patients received the best care possible. Her coworkers will never forget her funny and sarcastic sense of humor and how it brightened the day for others – almost always clutching a bottle of her favorite Diet Mountain Dew.
Jesus Christ had a plan for her life and held her close as his child. His gift of salvation and her deep faith in God provide her eternity in Heaven. Her family is confident that the Lord greeted her with those sweet words found in Matthew 25:21 -- “Well done my good and faithful servant.” They are clinging to the hope of seeing her again someday with her body whole, no more pain and no more suffering.
Poetically, Nicki died on the same date as her Grandma Helen did 19 years earlier. Nicki’s last act in this world was among her most significant – donating her organs so that others may live. Hundreds of family, friends, caregivers and people she never met lined the halls on the fourth floor of the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center during her Honor Walk. The immense show of support was a testament to how much she was loved and admired. Nicki provided the gift of life to people who she never met thanks to her family’s courageous decision.
Nicki was welcomed in Heaven by her grandparents, Jacob and Helen Jeltema, and her father-in-law, Ronald Hermance.
Nicki is lovingly remembered by her devoted husband, Matthew Hermance of Hudsonville; her daughter, Lauren Hermance; her son, Sam Hermance; her mother, Marilyn Luurtsema of Standale; her brother and sister-in-law, Greg and Desiree Luurtsema of Colleyville, Texas; her nephews, Justin and Dylan Luurtsema; her mother-in-law, Sharon Hermance of Muskegon; her aunts and uncles, Gordon and Judy Jeltema of Grand Rapids, Robert and Sandra Jeltema of Hudsonville, Paul and Sandra Jeltema of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.; her cousins, Scott and Malinda Jeltema of Hudsonville, Ryan and Katie Jeltema of Grand Blanc, Amy and John Friesema of Franksville, Wis., Sara and Aaron Haveman of Allendale, Eric and Erin Jeltema of Suamico, Wis., and Kara Marker of North Carolina; her brothers-in-law, Dan Hermance of Muskegon and Jonathan and Dianne Hermance of Muskegon; her sister-in-law, Tracy and Dwight Elders of Whitehall; her “adopted” sister in law Brad and Brandi Charles of Newaygo and the countless members of her nursing family.
A memorial service/celebration of life to honor Nicki’s exceptional life will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, at Chapel Pointe Church, 3350 Baldwin St. in Hudsonville with Pastor Robert Holland officiating.
There will be a time for visitation and refreshments after the memorial/celebration of life. Something Nicki would always look forward to if going to an event was cake, and if she knew you were going, a slice brought back would be an “expectation.” In hopes of reflecting her love for sweets, cake will be provided after the service.
Contributions in Nicki’s memory can be made to Adoption Associates, 1338 Baldwin St., Jenison, MI 49428