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.
The Humane Society of the United States
1255 23rd St. NW, Suite 450
Washington, DC 20037
Life Story / Obituary
Patricia D. VanWormer, age 75 of Grand Rapids, passed away Tuesday, October 25, 2022. She was born in Hamtramck, MI on September 9, 1947, the daughter of Gerard and Helen (Przybysz) Biernacki.
Pat was a fierce, loving, and compassionate Polish Catholic who was raised in Hamtramck. She helped take care of her siblings even after she went on to attend Madonna University where she received two bachelor’s degrees to become a Nurse, all the while being part of the sisterhood as a nun. She frequently recounted that she cleaned the most floors out of any other of her sisters due to her vivid vocabulary, which she then continued to express while completing her tasks. Upon completing her degrees, she left the sisterhood and pursued her career in nursing.
She married her other half, Russell VanWormer, in 1972 and also became a step mother to his daughter Jennifer. Several years later they welcomed a brother for her, their son, Jason Russell. While Jason was small, the family decided to move to a warmer climate in Charleston, SC where they enjoyed the beach. Once he was ready to start school, they relocated back to Michigan in Northville. Pat’s profession took her from the University of Michigan Hospital to the Beaumont Transplant Team all the while doing what she loved. In 1989 they made the decision to move up to Canadian Lakes, MI where Pat began work with Munson Home Health where she inevitably retired from as a regional manager.
The VanWormer household was one of the staples for the teenage crew of Jason’s friends as Pat was known for having the best snack pantry in all of Canadian Lakes. She stocked specific items for friends when they came to visit (you know who you are), all the while, only eating a few items herself. She loved working outside in with her plants and created beautiful beds at this home, but also at Jason and Yvonne’s home in Allendale and her last personal residence in Grand Rapids. After her partner in crime, Russ, passed away in 2005, Pat made the hard decision to relocate to Allendale with her furry friend Savannah where she eventually transitioned to her home in Grand Rapids until fall of 2021.
Jason and Yvonne moved her into their home in September of 2021 along with Savannah where she was able to spend more time with them and also spoil her K9 grandchildren, Rory and Lady. Pat was ever praising the simplest of meals Yvonne made for them, when her favorite thing was a grilled cheese sandwich with horseradish sauce and ham added to it. She had to have her two cable channels at all costs; Hallmark and MSNBC. She enjoyed her cheesy love stories, but was also a seeker of knowledge and enjoyed keeping up to date on world happenings. Her loving presence will be missed by all but especially by Jason and Yvonne. Pat was an unstoppable force wrapped up in a petite woman's body.
Patricia is survived by her son, Jason (Yvonne) VanWormer of Grand Rapids, her K9 companion Savannah; step daughter Jennifer (Bill) Tayler and step grandchildren Charlotte, Billy, and Katy; her siblings Elena del Valle, Mario del Valle, and Robert del Valle.
She was preceded in death by her mother Helen, father Gerard, step father Mario del Valle, husband Russell, brothers Gerard (Mickey) Biernacki and Ricky del Valle, and sister Roxanne Woodward (Biernacki).
Cremation and care entrusted to the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home in Grand Rapids, MI.
Share a memory or leave a condolence for the family by clicking the guestbook tab at heritagelifestory.com. Per Pat’s wishes, there will be no service at this time.