Life Story / Obituary
A humble person to know and love, Bev Schaaf lived her life with great appreciation for her family. A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to many, she wanted nothing more than the very best for the family she loved. She had a deep love of the outdoors and enjoyed traveling. There is no doubt that Bev will be dearly missed by her many special friends and loved ones.
The year 1932 held many special marks in history. It was the year of the tragic kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s infant son, a winter so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid, and the opening of Radio City Music Hall in New York City. With the promise of a new election year waiting and banks still closing as a result of the Great Depression, Fred and Clara (Fate) Abel were eager to welcome home their newborn baby girl, Beverly Ann, on November 4, 1932, in Remus, Michigan. Joining her older siblings; Gordon and Delores, her birth brought great joy and happiness into their lives during an era of tough economic times.
Growing up Bev lived a typical childhood of the times. Money was scarce so the family lived with her uncle in his farmhouse for a time and her dad helped out on the farm. He also worked as a local automobile body shop mechanic who specialized in Volkswagen body repairs and her mother was a homemaker. By the time Bev was five years old, they relocated to their family home at 1042 Rathbone Street in Wyoming, Michigan. From a young age, she had a strong interest in the outdoors. She enjoyed hunting and helping her father with chores. They attended Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church where Bev also attended school and loved to take Sunday drives in the family car. A fierce survivor, Bev fought back and fully recovered when her appendix burst in her early teen years. Studious as well as ambitious, school came easy to her. She rarely needed to study and was still able to maintain good grades. She was active in the glee club before graduating with the Class of 1950 from Catholic Central High School.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of her sweetheart, Albert Schaaf. When she and her family accompanied her older brother, Gordon to the bus station before he was sent off for basic training for the U.S. Army, another young man who was also enlisting spotted Bev in the crowd. Al pestered Gordon for his sister’s address, and the rest was history! They began corresponding by mail almost immediately and then were known to visit one another on furloughs. Eager to spend their lives together, they joined in marriage at her family church on May 3, 1953. Before setting off on their long honeymoon road trip in Al’s 1946 Ford Coupe to Kentucky, he thought to pack an extra fuel pump which came in handy when his fuel pump gave out! Bev was very impressed with his skills of repairing the pump on the spot as she grew up around her father’s talent. For the remainder of their honeymoon they spent time staying in motels, hiking, boating, and exploring the area.
They settled at 1646 Godwin Avenue in Grand Rapids and Al went to work as a self employed carpenter. A short time later, they welcomed their son, Richard, home in 1954. Bev chose to stay home and raise Richard while they worked to save up for the home that Al built just five years later at 7th Street NW in Grand Rapids where they remained for many wonderful years. Bev was active as a mother and enjoyed doting on Richard and participating in his various activities. They remained active in their faith life and enjoyed spending time together at Al’s cabin on Walkup Lake in Newaygo County. When Richard was more independent, Bev took up archery and over the course of her younger years, she managed to earn the title of West Michigan Instinctive Archery Champion! She had a strong skill set and loved to meet area competitors. Above all else, Bev found great satisfaction as a wonderful homemaker and always wanted the very best for her family.
Bev and Al spent many wonderful years together. They were especially delighted when they were able to build a larger cottage on Walkup Lake and enjoyed entertaining family and friends for many years. Many family memories were made out at the lake in the environment where Bev was most content. They were equally thrilled when their lives included grandchildren. Bev loved to share the cottage and keep up with their many activities with the same zest she had when Richard was young. In retirement, she and Al enjoyed sharing wonderful meals together. She enjoyed cooking him his favorites; steak, macaroni and cheese, chicken casseroles, and always included a salad to keep the meal healthy! They saved Sunday’s for dinners out to her favorite restaurants Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille and Logan’s Roadhouse.
She and Al also shared a love of travel over their years together and as retirees were able to take a trip of a lifetime to Alaska! They drove their motor home more than ten thousand miles to spend three remarkable weeks in Alaska! They also enjoyed several trips to the southwest as well as the northwest areas of the United States. For many years, they wintered in Florida together. Bev enjoyed seeing the sights as well as reading. A generous person who was selfless throughout her life, Beverly modeled a beautiful life of putting others first. Her warm personality and rich collection of memories will surely be treasured by her many special friends and family for generations to come.
Beverly Ann Schaaf, age 87, passed away in the comfort of her cottage on Walkup Lake on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Along with her parents, she is preceded in death by her sister, Delores Phelps. Bev is survived by her husband of 67 years, Albert; son Richard (Debbie) Schaaf; two grandsons; Brandon and Jeff Schaaf, two great-grandchildren; Hayden and Hunter Schaaf and her brother, Gordon (Mary) Abel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 11 AM at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, (2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Grand Rapids MI 49504). Friends may visit with family at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt-Shawmut Chapel on Wednesday, July 22nd from 5-7 PM as well as prior to the Funeral Mass at church on Thursday beginning at 10 AM. Recitation of the Rosary will take place at 6:30 PM on Wednesday at the conclusion of the visitation. Interment will be in Resurrection Cemetery. To leave a memory or condolence visit www.heritagelifestory.com