Life Story / Obituary
Arlene Cooper lived her life to the fullest. She modeled being genuine and compassionate to everyone she met. Arlene held many special gifts and talents yet her greatest source of pride and joy came from spending time with her precious family. The wonderful memories she leaves behind will forever be etched on the hearts of her many special friends and loved ones.
Arlene Ann arrived on October 9, 1934, on the brink of what would later be recognized as the turning point in the Great Depression in America. As unemployment rates began to decline, her loving parents, Peter and Nelli (Vroegindewey) VandenBerg welcomed her into their loving home in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Joining her older brother, Peter, her birth was a blessing to her family.
Growing up, Arlene lived a typical childhood of the times. She had a happy childhood and attended Kalamazoo Christian. After she graduated from school, she entered the world of work with a job at Woolworth’s downtown Kalamazoo. Within a short time, she married Victor Bogema, a gentleman she knew from school. Together they raised three wonderful daughters; Pat, Cheryl, and Debra.
During their twenty-four married years together, Arlene cherished her years as a homemaker. As a mother, she was strict and kept her girls in a steady routine. She thrived with order and a spotless home. To help supplement the family income and support the girl’s school tuition, she enjoyed a side job of cleaning houses. As a family, they worshipped at Prairie Edge Christian Reformed Church in Kalamazoo. They enjoyed making memories together on road trips to the Wisconsin Dells, Silver Lake Dunes, and to Sandusky, Ohio to visit Cedar Point. Arlene was known to keep up with the kids and enjoyed going on the roller coasters at the park. She was a good cook and loved to prepare her family’s favorite goulash recipe a day in advance as it was always best on the second day! Most of her other family meals included meat and potatoes. Later, her marriage ended in divorce and she began working in the housewares department at Hoekstra Hardware. She was a real asset to the company as she knew all about various household products and was also very helpful to customers.
Many years later, she was introduced to Roy Cooper through a mutual friend. Sharing many common interests, they married on November 2, 1985, at Sunshine Church in Grand Rapids and made their home on Benjamin Street. Arlene was about ten years younger than Roy and since he was retired, they had a wealth of time to spend together. Active and on the go, Roy opened her eyes to many different activities in the community. They enjoyed spending their years camping, mushroom hunting, and traveling to Florida. She and Roy were members of Mayfair Christian Reformed Church for many years where they had a close group of friends. She and Roy were a perfect match. He was a blessing to her and Arlene loved doting on him. She especially made sure that he had the best of care including a healthy diet. Throughout her later years, she kept herself in good shape as well by riding her exercise bike and going on walks. Each night, she and Roy enjoyed playing games together and shared these special times with their growing grandchildren.
Arlene felt blessed in her years as a grandmother. She took some of her grandchildren camping and enjoyed sharing special moments with them. Whenever they were together, Arlene liked talking with each of them and preparing their favorite foods. They treasured their visits as well and told stories of her taking them for fast rides in her Chevy to get the carbon buildup out of the engine! An avid baker, she treated them to her homemade breads and baked goods. Each year, she grew tomatoes and spent time canning them to share with her loved ones. Sadly, Roy passed away in 2009. Arlene remained content at home for many years until her symptoms of Alzheimer's required additional care. Later, she left her home and moved into Raybrook Manor where she received the best of care. Described as a faithful person with a wonderful sense of humor, she leaves behind many wonderful memories shared with her family and friends. Arlene was eager to be united with her Lord and Savior and He peacefully called her to her Heavenly home. May her loved ones never doubt her love for them and may her memories be eternal.
Arlene Cooper, age 89 of Grand Rapids, passed away on February 10, 2024. She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy Cooper; and her brother, Peter Vandenberg. Arlene is survived by her children; Pat VanderBie, Cheryl (Dave) Nieuwenhuis, and Debra Cook; step-children; Ed (Debbie) Cooper, Sue (Dan) Falk, Kathy (Dave) Levandoski, and Steve (Nora) Cooper; as well as many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Her funeral service will be held on Tuesday, February 13, at 1 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE in Grand Rapids where friends may visit with her family beginning at Noon. For those who wish, memorial donations to Faith Hospice are appreciated. To share a memory or to sign her guestbook, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com