Tuesday, October 10, 2023
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
2230 Lake Michigan DR NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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.
Alzheimer's Association Greater Michigan Chapter
225 N. Michigan Avenue, Floor 17
Chicago, IL 60601
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a warm smile, persevering spirits, and unwavering faith, Regina Totoraitis lived her life devoted to her family. She possessed a quick wit and terrific sense of humor, was fun-loving, and laughed a lot. Smart, strong-willed, and firm in her opinions, Regina always remained positive and kind, confidently faced life's challenges, and fully celebrated its joys. She welcomed each day as a gift and inspired those who were blessed to know her to do the same. A cherished sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, Regina will long be remembered and so very missed.
The sixth of the ten Bouwhuis children, Regina grew up in the good company of her brothers and sisters: Joseph, Catherine, Margaret, Ann, Raymond, Theresa, Rose, William, and Frances. The family home at 1952 Cleveland, in Wyoming, Michigan, was filled with activity. Her father was a furniture maker, and her mother was a homemaker. Sadly, her mother died when Regina was ten years old. Regina attended Holy Name of Jesus Elementary and Catholic Central High School. The first in her family to graduate, Regina proudly received her diploma with the class of 1942.
Regina's first job was as a waitress at Terry's Sandwich Shop. She also worked at a Kelvinator factory. Upon meeting Gerrit (Dick) Heidema, who had just returned from serving with the Marines in WW2, Regina's life changed. The pair dated for a time, and with their hearts set on sharing the future, they married at Holy Name Church.
After beginning their married lives at Dick's parents' home, they moved to Burton St. Apartments. In time, they were blessed with four children: Regina, Rick, Cathy, and Cindy. Committed to raising their children with a firm foundation of Catholic values, Regina and Dick sent all of their children to Holy Name Elementary. However, they graduated from different high schools. While Dick worked as a house and commercial painter, Regina dedicated herself to caring for the home. In 1960, she began working third shift packaging cookies at Keebler Company. Unfortunately, Dick was diagnosed with cancer, which spread to other parts of his body. After being admitted to the VA hospital in Ann Arbor many times over a three-year period, he died on June 14, 1964.
With unwavering faith and the help of friends, cousins, aunts, and uncles, Regina held the family together. Many new and wonderful memories as an extended family were made. They would get together at Gun Lake on Sundays and travel the state to many religious shrines. Regina and her children, aunts, uncles, and cousins would pile into the blue Oldsmobile and go on vacation around the state. They commonly traveled to Charlevoix, Mackinaw Island, Lake Michigan, Silver Lake, and Holland. They always enjoyed time together. Tragically, Regina's son Rick was killed in a car accident on August 25, 1969, at 16 years old. Though the family was devastated by his loss, once again, Regina found strength in her faith and lovingly held her family together. Over the years, the family lived in many different homes in the Wyoming area, making Wyoming and the their neighbors very important to them.
In addition to her family, Regina found joy in many things. She frequently made clothing for her daughters and loved to knit slippers, hats, sweaters, blankets, and baby caps, frequently gifting her lovely creations to others. She enjoyed golfing and bowled in leagues at Lincoln Lanes until 2010. Though busy working, she still made time to be at important events for her children. Regina enjoyed visiting casinos, working crossword puzzles, playing Yahtzee, and adding to her coin and Beanie Baby collections.
While at the Log Cabin Restaurant, Regina met her second husband, widower Harry Totoraitis. They dated for a year and married in June of 1977, joyfully joining their families. Regina and Harry had an active group of friends in the Standale area who they enjoyed going snowmobiling and out to eat a lot. An avid Detroit Tigers fan, Regina especially enjoyed Kurt Gibson. She and Harry often made the trip to Detroit to attend Tigers games. Travels to Hawaii and Alaska for a two-week train tour, taking boat trips, spending time in their home in Avon Park, Florida, and their cabin up north made for many good times and sweet memories. When Harry died in 2000 from cancer, Regina once again held the family together.
The cornerstone of her entire life, Regina's faith was always an active member of a church community. She always had time to attend church no matter how busy life became. She started attending Holy Spirit in 1977 and participated in Saturday evening mass and all Holy Days. Regina also attended St. Luke’s University Parish for a short time. She enjoyed reading Faith and Spirituality and was also involved in Catholic Daughters, in order to be an influential role in her daughters’ spiritual lives.
After being diagnosed with dementia and needing more support, Regina’s family worked hard to provide her the support she needed. Fortunately, she could still engage with her family and enjoy time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who were her greatest joy.
Though the world feels less certain in the absence of Regina's steadfast love and faith, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying her beautiful legacy forward. In each moment we choose faith, love, and hope, welcome the day with gladness, meet life's challenges with confidence, and gather together with those we love, we celebrate the many ways Regina gifted our lives and made life better. In this way, we keep her indomitable spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Regina (Gene) (Heidema) Totoraitis went to be with her Lord and Savior on October 1, 2023. She was preceded in death by her husbands Gerritt (Dick) Heidema and Harry Totoraitis, her son Richard Heidema, son-in-law Pat Kruizenga, and her siblings. Regina is survived by her children Regina Johnston, Cathy Kruizenga, Cindy (Mike) Kruizenga, Cathy (Marty) Ronis, and Patty (Rick) Zandstra. Regina was blessed to be a grandmother to John "JT" (Jessica) Johnston, Christopher (Amber) Johnston, Alissa Johnston (Tom O'Hagan), Patrick Kruizenga, Nathan (Anna) Kruizenga, Kevin Kruizenga, Kurt (Danielle) Kruizenga, Kyle Kruizenga, Nik (Katie) Ronis, Erik (Lesley) Ronis, Seth Zandstra and Evan Zandstra. Regina loved to be a great-grandmother to Flannery, Grady, Ellery, Rory, Avery, Gerrit, Elise, Kellan, Connor, Skylar, Mackenzie, Hailey, Westin, Emersyn, Garett, Toryn, Asher, Lilijia, and Parker. Regina will be well known for her love for her family, her faith, and the love she poured out to others.
Regina's family will meet with friends on Monday, October 9, 2023, from 5-8 pm, with the Rosary being recited at 7:30 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Tuesday, October 10, at 11:00 am. Friends may visit with Regina's family an hour prior to this. Regina will be laid to rest at Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials in Regina's honor may be given to the Alzheimer's Association. Please visit Regina's personal memory page to leave a memory, sign the guest book at www.heritagelifestory.com