Life Story / Obituary
Gracious, kind, and loving, Thressa Marie Evertse lived a life rich in family and faith. Thressa embodied the principles of her faith and devoted herself to those she loved. She relished sharing time with her family and made even the simple day-to-day things special. Her unwavering faith and belief in others proved both a comfort and an inspiration. Whether sharing a piece of candy or holding her beloved’s hand, Thressa welcomed each day as a gift and lived her life to the fullest. A treasured wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, she will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace, a booming economy, rising wages for most Americans, and falling consumer prices resulted in a higher standard of living for most. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade when a person’s success was largely determined by their ability to identify their desires and then work to make them a reality. For Bessie VanDyke, this vibrant decade grew even brighter on July 1, 1924, as she welcomed her daughter Thressa at her family home on 1214 Courtney Street NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Raised by her mother, Thressa’s early years were filled with love and stability. Bessie’s brothers, John and Martin, lived in the same home and were loving influences in her life. Despite the challenges of single parenting and the Great Depression, Thressa’s mother and uncles made sure that she never went without. The family attended West Leonard Christian Reformed Church, where the roots of her faith were well established. Thressa attended West Leonard Elementary, Harrison Park Middle School, and graduated from Union High School. A naturally prim and proper girl, Thressa never really liked to be outdoors, and much preferred the comforts of being indoors. Though it typically took her some time to engage with people she didn’t know, she was quite sociable.
While skating at the Coliseum roller rink one evening, Thressa had the good fortune of meeting Peter Evertse. The pair began dating and a year later, were engaged to be married. When Peter enlisted in the Air Force during WWII, Thressa met him in South Dakota, where they married on August 14, 1943. A few weeks into their 67-year marriage, Peter was deployed to England, and Thressa returned home. While Pete was away, Thressa worked at American Seating.
Once Pete safely returned home, the happy couple were blessed to welcome their three children to their family. Mary, Pat, and Rick quickly became the centers of their lives. She and Pete built their family home on Valley Street NW. As Peter worked as a firefighter and in construction, Thressa handled many of the day-to-day responsibilities, including making sure the kids contributed to the household with chores. A bit of a perfectionist, she thoroughly enjoyed creating regular routines, which kept the home immaculate and the kitchen full of delicious baked goods. She was always baking, and her Dutch Banket was unrivaled. When kids were young, the family were members of the 7th Reformed Church and were actively engaged in the social life of the church.
While there were a few family vacations traveling along the Lake Superior shoreline and exploring Mackinac Island, they often took Sunday afternoon car rides. Many treasured memories were made in the good company of extended family. Thressa’s mother came to the house almost daily for tea. An avid reader, Thressa always had a book nearby, usually fiction, and for several years she enjoyed sewing. She loved to shop and was a skilled bargain hunter. She had good taste and wasn’t afraid to spend when she found things she liked.
In 1971, Thressa and Peter moved to a home on Windemere. Later, they would move again into a condo in English Hills. They became members of Remembrance Reformed Chruch, and as her kids grew and had families of their own, she welcomed the opportunity to be involved in her grandchildren’s lives. She jumped at the chance to watch them; whether, for a few hours or a few days, she joyfully kept them entertained. With equal enthusiasm, she relished sharing time with her great-grandchildren too. They will all long remember her well-stashed candy cupboard.
Though Peter worked much into his retirement years, the couple did enjoy some traveling together. They took many trips around the country, spending some time in Florida during the winters, and even went to Hawaii on one occasion. Since they enjoyed seeing their grandchildren, they often planned their trips around their children so they could babysit their grandchildren. They liked to go to Las Vegas, and Thressa enjoyed the opportunity to travel the California Coast and England with her daughter. They enjoyed several bus trips as well. In her 70s, she faced several health problems but thankfully made it through.
As she grew older, Thressa was more willing to strike up a conversation with anyone. After Peter passed away in 2010, she moved to Lincoln Square, where she enjoyed a rich social life, playing cards and participating in many activities. Several years later, as she needed more daily support, she moved to Edison Christian Living. During this time, her health slowly declined, as did her memory.
Thressa Marie Evertse, age 97, of Grand Rapids, passed away June 22, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband, Peter, in 2010; and by her son-in-law, Harry Hoogeboom. Thressa is survived by her children Marijane Hoogeboom, Pat & Bob Boorsma, Rick & Judy Evertse; grandchildren John (Barb) Dykema, Suzanne (Drew) LaBlonde, Bob (Judy) Boorsma, Teresa VanKleefe, Jillian (Paul) Trumbell, Jordan (Aaron) Kenyon; as well as many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. A private graveside service will be held at Rosedale Memorial Park. To read more about Thressa’s life, share a memory or sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com.