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.
GBS CIDP Foundation International
375 East Elm St Suite 101
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Although she was taken from her loved ones too soon, Renee Heikkila touched the lives of so many in such a special way. She was so giving and thoughtful and was the sort of person who was always on the lookout for ways she could help others in ways both great and small. Blessed to share the best years of her life with her true love, Renee experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer. Life wasn’t always easy for her, but she faced whatever came her way with grace, resilience, and unwavering strength. Deeply loved, Renee will be forever missed.
The 1980s were exciting days in America. Car phones, VCRs, and home computers were among the many advancements while Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, and Tom Hanks were big names in Hollywood. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great celebration in the lives of Kennth and Carol (Keisic) Lewandowski as they welcomed the baby girl they named Renee Ann into their hearts and home on September 12, 1987, in Detroit, Michigan. She was one of four as she was joined in her family by her brothers, David and Kenny, and sister Lynette. Renee’s father worked at General Dynamics while her mother was a homemaker.
In many ways Renee was a young girl of her generation. She was a happy baby and started taking dance including jazz when she was only three. Renee loved playing with several kids in the neighborhood and with her social nature had several friends. When she fell in love with soccer she made the decision to stop dancing, and she was a natural scorer and so fast. This brought her to travel soccer, and she played both soccer and basketball in high school. Renee also excelled in her studies and attended Fillmore Elementary, Cartlton, Middle School in Sterling Heights, and Cousino High School in Warren.
After graduating from high school Renee was eager for all that life had in store. She attended Central Michigan University where she studied business and was a member of Alpha Kappa Pi Business Fraternity. Renee was active in that organization even after she graduated with her degree in business management with hospitality specialty in 2009. It was during her junior year that she met the young man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Mitchell Heikkila, and although he was a year younger they both hung around with the same big group of friends. The pair enjoyed hanging out, watching movies, and socializing with friends. Renee and Mitchell were engaged for three years, and she needed all that time to plan her wedding. On June 21, 2014, on the first day of summer, they were married on the golf course at Grand Traverse Resort overlooking Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City. The newlyweds took a honeymoon in Northern Michigan as they particularly loved the Petoskey area. Renee and Mitchell enjoyed camping together as it gave him a chance to fish and her a chance to lay in the sun. They also liked touring wineries together.
Renee and Mitchell lived many places over the years. Right out of college she began her career as a property manager for apartments and condos. They often lived on property, becoming part of the community - not just the property manager. This truly speaks of her loving and social spirit. In 2017, they purchased their first home on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids.
There were many things that kept Renee busy over the years. She liked to read novels, usually romance novels, and she also liked romantic comedy movies. Renee enjoyed decorating and crafting, and she also used her creative talents to make scrapbooks for friends to celebrate big moments in their lives. She was a country music fan, especially when it came to Kenny Chesney. Renee’s favorite foods were pierogi and glumpki, and she also loved tropical Skittles and a sprite. Her dogs, Riley and Ranger, were treasured companions.
In 2018 Renee was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. For her this meant intense nerve pain and difficulty walking at times. Renee was also diagnosed with liver failure in the last six months and was working toward a transplant. Although she was in the hospital a couple of times over the past year, they were always able to stabilize things. Last week Renee’s health took a dramatic turn for the worse, but thankfully her last days were spent in the comfort of her home surrounded by the love of her family.
All who knew Renee Heikkila would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was straightforward and could even be a bit stubborn at times, but she was also someone who was passionate about the things she believed in. The heartbeat of wherever she went, Renee was energetic and had a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.
Renee Ann Heikkila age 34, of Grand Rapids and formerly of Metro Detroit, passed away on December 9, 2021 surrounded by her family. She was preceded in death by her father, Kenneth Lewandowski. Renee is survived by her husband, Mitchell; mother, Carol (Jim) Ledin; brothers, David Lewandowski and Kenny (Laura) Lewandowski; and sister, Lynette Hogness. Also surviving is her mother-in-law, Kim (Shannon) Thayer; father-in-law, Michael (Marianne) Heikkila; sisters-in-law, Sahara (Jacob) Basye and Brooke (Douglas) Lindeman; brothers-in-law, Eric Heikkila and Hunter Thayer; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. The funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM on Monday, December 13, 2021 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Visitation will take place from 12-2 and 4-6PM on Sunday at the funeral home. Contributions in her memory may be made to GBS CIDP Foundation International. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Renee’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook online.