Saturday, March 6, 2021
2:00 PM EST
Highland Hills Baptist Church
1415 Northrup Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
With a grace all her own, Angela Loper delighted all with her caring and generous heart. Family was at the center of Angela’s life and she loved nothing more than spending time with those she loved and adored. With faith as her guide, Angela lived a life of example. She was an unending helpmate to her husband, and a loving and attentive mother and grandmother. To everyone who came in contact with her, Angela’s giving and faith-filled spirit shown bright. For all that she was and more, her memory will always be close at heart.
1930 was the first year of the Great Depression and as the television was just starting to gain momentum, the high unemployment of 8.9% caused problems in every area of life. Prohibition was also law of the land, and despite these challenging times, people found solace in entertainment. It was also the year of 1930 when Charles Leo and Carrie Luann (Lillie) Barker welcomed the birth of their little girl, Angela Beryl Barker on January 19, 1930, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Angela’s upbringing was one of faith, good Christian values and family. She was raised alongside her brother, Irving and grew up on their family beef farm on Pettis Road in Cannonsburg, Michigan. A younger baby brother, Arthur sadly passed away soon after birth. Angela had the benefit of having her extended family nearby who lived all around them. Along with the family cattle farm, Angela’s father supported their family as owner of a local hardware store and he also worked for the former Old Kent Bank for a time. Her mother remained at home as a homemaker.
Affectionately known as Angie, childhood friends included her many cousins. Angie grew up enjoying time spent with them where she shared countless adventures. As a youngster she learned to play the piano and for a time even played the accordion. She also had the opportunity to get to know her aunts and uncles, as well. A young girl of her generation, the Great Depression cast a shadow of hardship on all yet despite these difficult times, her family remained close and looked out for one another which extended well into her later years. Angie held fond memories of family gatherings and holidays together.
While in elementary school, Angie came home one day to find her family home on fire. Her family banded together and for a time she and her immediate family took up residence in a chicken coop while their home was being rebuilt. During her high school years she and her family relocated to the northwest side of Grand Rapids. Having attended and eventually graduating from Creston High School, Angie began working at Bell Telephone. For her high school graduation trip, she and a friend took a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Cuba before she furthered her education at Moody Bible Institute.
With a heart for missions, Angie continued her studies at Moody where she came to know and love her future husband, Thomas Edwin Loper. They met at a picnic and for their first date they enjoyed coffee together. Tom also had a heart for Christian service and together they planned a future together. On August 22, 1952, they shared vows of marriage at Trinity English Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan before a congregation of family and friends. As newlyweds, the Rev. and Mrs. Thomas Loper set out across the country for Lindsay, California pulling a travel trailer to work with migrant workers there. During their time in California, Tom earned his teaching degree and took a job as a teacher in addition to continuing to work in migrant missions.
Always devoted and a true helpmate to her husband, Angie was always Tom’s “Angel”. As they dedicated their life work to the Lord and church planting, Angie often served as the church pianist while Tom pastored. Their strong bond was evident as they raised their three daughters. While Beth was born in California, Tom and Angie packed up their belongings and returned to Michigan to the Battle Creek area where they planted a local church and welcomed daughters, Cheryl and Kimberly. As a couple, Angie and Tom demonstrated a godly, loving marriage to their daughters. They were affectionate and playful, and their daughter’s grew up knowing of their deep love not only one another, but for the Lord. They were true soulmates in every sense.
Angie was usually the disciplinarian in the family but her girls will remember her as always being there for them. There wasn’t anything Angie wouldn’t do for her family. She was steadfast, kind and caring to her family as well as those around her. With her gift of hospitality, Angie welcomed anyone at her table. Her daughter’s friends were always over where great times were shared by all. A fabulous cook, Angie’s cooking and baking made for numerous family favorites, especially her Sunday pot roast dinners and lasagna. Even until recently, Angie baked for her Sunday school class and never hesitated in signing up to share meals with others which was likened to as her love language. She was adventurous in her cooking and absolutely loved trying new recipes.
In her free time, Angie enjoyed reading and especially loved the Booth Brothers and the Gaithers. In fact, for several years, Angie and Tom attended gospel quartet conferences in Indiana which they dearly loved. Together they also enjoyed several cruises throughout the years and they loved time together at Shipshewana every year for a little shopping, a dinner and a show. While their girls were growing up they spent two weeks each year at Pickeral Lake in Newaygo with Angie’s brother and his family of six children. It was always a time of respite for Angie as she and her sister-in-law would relax and watch the children play and indulge in games of Rook in the evenings with the fellas. These were truly special times as were holidays and other get-togethers shared by the two families.
Angie relished the love of family. She sewed just enough to make clothing for her granddaughters and also made American Girl doll clothes for them at Christmastime. As her grandchildren were growing up, Angie knew well the importance of a strong marriage bond. She would stay at her daughter’s homes periodically so they could get away with their spouses to build and strengthen their relationships. In later years, Angie held “Grandma Camp” with her two youngest granddaughters which made for treasured times of sleepovers, tea parties and other special adventures together. “Gigi” to her great-grandchildren, it brought Angie great joy to be surrounded by those she loved.
Angie Loper counted her faith, family and church family as her most cherished treasure. Ever giving, loving and welcoming, she lived a well loved life, and her warmth and generosity will never be forgotten. A dear and sweet blessing to others, she considered herself truly blessed.
LOPER, Angela B., Grand Rapids, MI, age 91, entered her heavenly home March 6, 2021. Angie was born January 19, 1930 in Grand Rapids to the late Charles and Carrie (Lillie) Barker. She was also preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Pastor Thomas Loper; and brother, Irving and Marilyn Barker. Angie is survived by her daughters, Beth (Will) DeLand of Jacksonville, FL, Cheryl (Mark) Schut of Jenison, Kimberly (Darwin) Baker of Lisle, IL; 10 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. A funeral service was held at Highland Hills Baptist Church. Interment is in Plainfield Township Cemetery. To read more of Angie's life story, to leave a memory or sign the guest book please visit www.heritagelifestory.com