Tuesday, February 15, 2022
1:00 PM EST
Oakdale Park Church
961 Temple SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Visitation will be held at church beginning at 12 Noon.
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.
Wedgwood Christian Services
3300 36th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
1260 Kalamazoo SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Devi Fongers was an exceptionally loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Born with an adventurous spirit, she lived her life to the fullest. She loved her family most of all and wanted nothing more than the very best for each and every one of them. Although she will be deeply missed, her warm memories will be fondly remembered.
Her story begins in the mid-1950s when James Dean was all the rage, Elvis Presley introduced the world to his Rock ’n Roll music, and the I Love Lucy show changed the way we viewed the American family. Robert and Helen (VanderWerp) Daining welcomed home their newborn daughter, Devi Lynn, on April 10, 1955, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth brought great joy and happiness into the family home.
Growing up on Kalamazoo Avenue before later moving to Chamberlain SE by the time she was in fourth grade, Devi lived a childhood filled with rich memories. Her parents both owned and operated their local lamp store business, The Lighthouse, and raised her and her brothers, Doug and Dave with a strong foundation in faith. From an early age, Devi liked to be active and was athletic enough to keep up with her brothers. They attended Oakdale Christian, then Seymour Christian, and East GR Christian. Devi later graduated with the Class of 1973 from Central Christian. She met the love of her life, Jim Fongers, during her senior year. Their memorable first date was to see the debut of Robert Redford in the movie Jeremiah Johnson. The two of them knew they were meant for one another. Devi set off for Calvin College to major in sociology. She later went on to receive her Master’s degree in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
On the beautiful summer day of June 25, 1977, Devi and Jim joined in marriage at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. The happy couple honeymooned in northern Michigan. Their camping trip was less than desirable as it rained the whole time which increased the havoc of the mosquitos yet their love burned brightly back at home! They both enjoyed working at Wedgwood Christian Services as Youth Care Specialists. During their newly married years, they became house parents for ten struggling teens at Honeycreek Christian Homes. The experience was challenging yet strengthened the bond between her and Jim. Devi went on to work for Wedgewood, then as a supervisor at Maple Lodge for Pine Rest Hospital. A gifted therapist, she worked for Arbor Circle before accepting a position as a social worker with Grand Rapids Christian Schools. She was well-liked by the staff and the countless students whose lives she touched. Devi also enjoyed working at Centennial Counseling where she was well respected in her community of therapists. Devi left others feeling lifted and supported on their journey. Her warm smile and sincere compassion gave others hope during their times of struggle.
Devi’s strong love for art was a theme that was woven into every fabric of her life. She loved to remodel their home as well as old campers. Whenever they were on a special camping trip or exploring new places, Devi often pulled out her sketchbook and did charcoal drawings or packed along her watercolors. She immersed herself into sketching and drawing back at home as well. Over the years her collections included oil paintings, watercolors, and several masterpieces. Her extension of art also included her love of live performances. Devi enjoyed visiting art museums, theaters, and concerts. She played the piano and dabbled in the mastery of several instruments. Her heart was always full whenever she was surrounded by art, music, or the discussion of both!
Her passion for social justice was sparked by her love of people. On a trip to India, she was taken aback by the struggles she witnessed from those living in poverty. From that moment, she worked to support many various community outreach programs and lived her life supporting others in need. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights, gay rights, and racial equality and a staunch supporter of inclusion for all members of society. Each and every life touched by her presence was made to feel important and special. Devi lived her life as a model of accepting others and offering grace to everyone she met. Her work and involvement in her faith life continued at Oakdale Park Church where she was an elder. She saw Jesus as a healer and believed He was working through her in many ways.
Always active and on the go, Devi loved playing tennis, kayaking, as well as biking. She planned a trip to the Netherlands where she and Jim were able to explore the area on bicycles. Devi lived by the philosophy that food, sleep, and exercise were enough to keep her happy and healthy. When it came to food, she loved to create dishes much like she would an art piece. Never following a recipe, she was fond of adding ingredients and experimenting along the way! Her favorite creations were usually stews and soups with flavorful spices. Her dog, Luna, was her special furry companion. The two of them enjoyed many walks together outdoors. An avid reader, Devi often enjoyed biographies as well as books by C.S. Lewis. She leaves a beautiful example of never taking a single day for granted. Devi’s strong convictions and her genuine love of others are the treasured gifts that will remain in the hearts of all those that knew and loved her.
Devi Fongers, age 66, of Grand Rapids, Michigan has gone to be with Jesus on February 10, 2022. She has joined those who have gone ahead of her including her father, Robert Daining, brother-in-law, John Fongers; and in-laws, Bud and Ger Fongers. The dear ones she left behind include, her faithful husband, Jim; precious children, Ben Fongers and partner Angie Jurgensen, Anna Gretz, Thomas Fongers and partner Brittany Bonkowski, Liza and Mark VanWoerkom; grandchildren, Eli, Fiona and Ezra Gretz and Addison VanWoerkom; brothers Doug and Jan Daining, David and Jane Daining; mother, Helen Daining, sisters-in-law Esther Zylstra and Liz O’Meara, Annie and Van Schenck, Penelope Fongers; and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Devi will be held on Tuesday, February 15 at 1 PM at Oakdale Park Church. Friends are invited to visit with Devi’s family on Monday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Memorial contributions to either Wedgwood Christian Services or Oakdale Neighbors are appreciated. To share a memory or sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com
I say to you…Remember that I am alive and well – much more than I ever could be on earth. I am finally home. So don’t grieve for me as if you have no hope. Instead, look forward to the day when we will meet again and Jesus will wipe away every tear. Together we’ll sing
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing and joyful be
And through all eternity
I will sing on.