Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.
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Connie Smith

May 6, 1939 - March 22, 2024
Walker, MI

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Service

Saturday, May 4, 2024
11:00 AM EDT
Northwest Gospel Hall
1350 Garfield Ave NW
Grand Rapdis, MI 49504

Contributions


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.

Northwest Gospel Hall
1350 Garfield Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site

Rest Haven Homes
1424 Union Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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With a warm, welcoming heart and genuine affection for others, Connie Smith lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. Outgoing and fun, Connie welcomed each day as a gift and every person as a friend. People were important to her, and she was happiest talking to, serving, and confidently sharing her faith with others. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, Connie's bright spirit and unwavering faith will long inspire those she so dearly loved.

Despite the obvious gloom of the growing conflict in Europe, 1939 held much to celebrate, including the end of the Great Depression, the premieres of the classic films Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, regular television began to broadcast nationwide, and The World's Fair in New York. As the US actively armed up for war, families continued to center their lives on love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in the home of Marle and Eugenia (Rice) Bowen as they welcomed their daughter Connie Diane to their family on May 6, in Spencer, Michigan, near Kalkaska.

The third of six children, Connie enjoyed close relationships with her three brothers and two sisters. The oldest daughter, she was her mother's helper, proudly tending to household duties and caring for her younger sisters. Connie began her schooling in Spencer before the family moved to Farmington Hills for a few years. Eventually, the family settled in Holland, where Connie spent most of her schooling years. Connie always remembered fondly visiting her Grandma Rice's cobblestone home on a lake near Kalkaska, a tradition she continued while her own children were growing up. When she was a teen, Connie's mother married Clarence "Perk" Perkins, and he became a significant father influence in her life.

When she was twelve years old, Connie was saved and came under the mentorship of a woman from the Grand Rapids Assembly, Hilda. Connie would sometimes travel to Grand Rapids to help Hilda at Rest Haven Home. Connie also attended young people's meetings. It was during those assembly meetings that she met James "Jim" Smith. With shared faith and common interests, a romance developed between the young couple, and the day after Connie graduated from Holland High School, the happy couple married on June 7, 1957.

Following an enjoyable two-week honeymoon at a cottage on Burt Lake, Jim left for basic training in the Navy Reserves. The couple made their first home together in a trailer Jim built. From there, they moved to an apartment on Leonard Street, then Lincoln before building their longtime home on Kenowa, where they would raise their family. For a time, Connie worked at Union Bank. However, once they welcomed four daughters over seven years, Connie focused her efforts on caring for her family. She was a loving and caring parent who graciously modeled service to others and was present in her kids' lives, volunteering at their schools and for special events. Many Sundays were also spent with both sides of their extended family in Grand Rapids and Holland.

Connie never hesitated to give of her time and talents in service of others. She was actively involved in her church family and loved the opportunity to provide a meal for someone. Whether delivering it or helping in the church basement, Connie was always happy to lend a hand. She taught Bible school at Allendale School during the lunch hour and was full of hospitality. Connie was very welcoming and used her confidence in faith to share the gospel. She always made sure to provide open chairs and an invitation for visitors to church to spend time with them. For many years, Connie and Jim were foster parents, fostering nearly thirty babies. One of Connie's special gifts was visiting others and simply taking time to talk with them. When her girls were in school, she often had a visit to make after school, bringing the girls along.

Connie also worked at Bair Lake Bible Camp in Jones, Michigan for many years during family camp helping out with the very young children at “Bunny Camp” while Jim was the Director. That camp was a very special place for her and the whole family, spending many summers there.

The family enjoyed many vacations and adventures together. They traveled to Florida regularly, visiting family during the winter months, and during the summer, Jim took a month off work so the family could travel with their trailer. Over the years, they explored many areas throughout the United States and even made a trip to Mexico. Connie loved traveling and the adventures they shared together. Once the children were grown, Connie and Jim spent many winters near Bradenton, Florida, where they made friends and regularly hosted visiting friends. They also enjoyed taking some cruises and a trip to Hawaii. Even when they didn't take a big trip, she and Jim enjoyed getting in the car and going for a ride. Each trip, whether near or far, brought special memories of its own.

Once the kids were older, Connie returned to the workforce. Having volunteered at Rest Haven Homes, she happily accepted the opportunity to work there. In time, she completed coursework to become a licensed dietitian and worked in Rest Haven's kitchen for about ten years. During that time, Jim also worked at Rest Haven Homes, so they spent a lot of time together in that special community. Through the years, she and Jim enjoyed stopping at antique shows. Connie collected Raggedy Ann dolls and then Precious Moments figurines. She also faithfully helped Jim bottle honey from his beekeeping business.

Connie treasured her role as grandma. Her grandchildren were her heart's delight, and she was engaging, full of love, and quick to help. She made sure to keep up with birthday cards, no matter where she was or how well she was feeling. As she aged, Connie grew to love sitting in her recliner, watching the birds through the back window of her home, and greeting visitors with her familiar "Yeah, come on in!"

In the last few years, Connie experienced significant health issues. With Jim's loving care and the assurance of her faith, she trusted in the Great Physician and was able to live her final days in the comforts of her home.

An inspiration to all who were blessed to know her, Connie proved a powerful role model for how to live a faith-centered life. As we celebrate Connie's beautiful life, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying her legacy of warm welcomes, sincere generosity, enduring love, and steadfast faith forward in our own lives.

Connie Diane Smith, age 84, of Walker, peacefully passed away March 22, 2024. She is survived by her husband, James Smith; their daughters and sons-in-law, Jeanne & Steven Sherman, Julie & Jon Mull, Judy & Denny Carlson, Janette & Dave Allen; grandchildren (great-grandchildren) Jessica & Andrew Ulrich (Anderson, Josselyn), Jeffrey & Chassity Sherman (Jett, Charlotte, Eleanor), Jaclyn & Chris Peck (James), Michael Mull (Jaiden, Peyton, Rowen, Zoey), Katie Mull, Bobby Mull & Ashlee Connell (Abigail, Brady), Aubrey Mull (Brielyn, Coralee), James Carlson, Nolan Carlson & fiancé Jamie Traylor, Harrison & Savannah Allen (Stella, Sonny), Matheson Allen; sisters, Cherry Vandine, Jan (Dave) Payne; her brother, Mike (Lanette) Bowen; brother-in-law, Bob Smith; sisters-in-law Joyce Bowen and Sue Smith; as well as many nieces and nephews. Connie was preceded in death by her mother, Eugenia Perkins; brothers, Ted and Gary Bowen; brother-in-law, Berton Smith; and sister-in-law, Mary Smith.

The service to remember and celebrate Connie's life will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at Northwest Gospel Hall at 11 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Rest Haven Homes or Northwest Gospel Hall are appreciated. To read more about Connie, share a memory, or sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com

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