Friday, January 15, 2021
10:00 AM EST
7th Reformed Church
950 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
A Live Stream Link will be provided on this site as we approach the service day.
Those attending in person will be required to wear masks. There will be no visitation with the family prior to or following the service.
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.
Right to Life of Michigan
PO Box 901
Grand Rapids, MI 49509-0901
Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned nearly a century, Diane Oomkes was such a blessing in the lives of so many around her. She loved flowers and other beautiful things. But those who knew Diane would also say that “beautiful” was perhaps the best word to describe her. A more devoted wife and mother would be hard to find, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother later in life. Deeply loved, Diane will be forever missed.
The 1930s were largely defined by the Great Depression, and the effects were felt worldwide. While the unemployment rate soared in the United States, the Netherlands saw much unrest and even rioting. It was when the effects finally began to decline that Luitje and Anje (Swierenga) Huisman were able to shift their focus to a time of great joy. They announced the birth of the baby girl they named Dina in February 21, 1935, in Thesinge, the Netherlands. She was the fifth of eight, and she was the older of only two girls in the family. Their house was very small, and since her mother was frequently ill Dina learned at a very young age how to care for a home, as she had numerous responsibilities. While WWII was unfolding all around them, the Huisman family was able to remain quite stable as they lived in a rural area, and her father worked as a carpenter. Food was limited, but available to them. As a student Dina attended a small school.
In her early twenties, Dina visited two of her brothers, who had moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was during that visit that Dina met John “Jan” Oomkes, who had grown up in the Netherlands in a town near her home. He was about 12 years her senior, but their families knew one another. After dating for about a year, Dina and John were married on July 3, 1959, at Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church. Although she had to return to the Netherlands for a short time, Dina was able to return to her new husband after a few months. The newlyweds rented space in a few homes for a few years before settling into their longtime home on Franklin Street. After being married for about a year, they welcomed their first of five children into their home. All of their children including Anita, LouAnn, Robert, Jane, and Dan, were raised in their Franklin Street home.
As well as caring for her home and family, Dina also worked for additional income whether in or outside of the home. Over the years she took in laundry and ironing to earn money - cleaning houses and offices as well. While in her forties, Dina began taking classes, eventually earning her high school diploma. Also of great significance during this time was Dina becoming a United States citizen. This was also the time when she began to formalize a name change from Dina to Diane. Although John was the more talkative of the two, she managed the household. The kids were required to help, too. And she had a job jar for them to use. Diane also took them to some of her other jobs as they got older.
Around the home, it seems as though there was next to nothing that Diane couldn’t do. She kept a clean and well-maintained home, but she was also quite handy as she took care of the painting, wall papering, and fixing. Diane mended clothing and welcomed the challenge of removing any stain from clothing. She was always busy, taking the kids on adventures to Blandford Nature Center and swimming lessons, as well as sharing canning and projects around the house. Diane loved flowers throughout her life, and although the house on Franklin didn’t have the space for a garden, she spent more time tending gardens once they moved to Burke Street and then Falcon Pointe in their later years. Diane also always enjoyed going to places or exhibits that displayed flowers.
All who knew Diane would agree that she was the heartbeat of wherever she went. Because she had grown up in a family full of light-hearted teasing and joking, this was something she carried into her own family through her great sense of humor and fun, sassy attitude. As a family they spent a lot of time with her brothers’ families including trips to the lakeshore, picnics, and most birthdays and holidays. A tradition from her family was that on birthdays they would give the birthday person flowers, and also wrote poems about them. Diane and her husband made many sacrifices without complaint so their kids could attend Christian schools. As a proficient seamstress, she also taught in 4-H while her kids were in school.
Diane was thrilled to become a grandmother, and she would probably have said each one was her favorite as she had a unique relationship with each. For those in Grand Rapids, she attended all their activities, and when they were young they visited her house on Sundays when Diane rewarded them with a treat for a recited memory verse.
In addition to her family, there were many other things that kept Diane busy. They were longtime members of Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church, and she was part of the Joy Circle for many years. Diane and John also had many friends, several who were from their church or the Dutch Immigrant Society. They hosted a memorable gathering each year on New Year's Eve. Later on, she and John became members at 7th Reformed Church, and while there they also supported the Friendship Church. In addition, Diane volunteered with their jail ministry and visiting others as she always had a heart for the lost. Once her children were older, Diane started working at Holland Home Fulton Manor where she took great interest in the residents. At times she even took some to her home to show them her flowers. Diane had a heart for those who didn’t know her Savior, and while she was never overbearing, she stepped forward in her faith to minister to others whenever the opportunity arose.
In 2012, life began to change for Diane. She began to have some health problems, and for the rest of her life she had dialysis treatments. In 2013, they moved to Holland Home, and a short time later her beloved husband passed away. The move to the Holland Home was a good one as she knew many people there, and was quick to make friends with others. Diane also had the care she would eventually need.
All who knew Diane Oomkes would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was the rock of her family who consistently modeled a humble spirit and unwavering faith, no matter the storms around her. Diane exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved, and she sought the Lord’s guidance in her life until she drew her last breath. She leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Diane Oomkes, age 85 of Grand Rapids, received the Lord’s call to bring her home and joined Him in eternal glory on January 9, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband, John “Jan”, in 2013; her brothers Pieter, Jan Hendrik and Bart Huisman; sister-in-law Jettie Huisman and brother-in-law Klass Bos. Diane is survived by her children Anita Oomkes, LouAnn & Richard Bishop, Robert Oomkes, Jane & Tim Bouwkamp and Dan & Lois Oomkes; grandchildren Robin (Logan) Cardwell, Grant (Audrey) Bishop, Rachel Bishop, Carter (Brisa) Bishop. Eric (Anna) Bouwkamp, Shannon (Rex) Dickerman, Drew Bouwkamp. Katie Oomkes, Matthew Oomkes and Jacob Oomkes; great grandchildren Finley, Elliott and Calvin Cardwell, Sadie and Wade Bishop, Levi Bouwkamp; brothers, sister and sisters-in-law Dick (Coby) Huisman, Harry (Iieje) Huisman, Janny Bos, Kor (Cieka) Huisman, Fran Huisman, Jettie Huisman, Letie Huisman, Thea Huisman and many nieces and nephews.
The service to remember and celebrate Diane’s life will be held on Friday, January 15, 2021 at 10 AM at Seventh Reformed Church, 950 Leonard Street NW (Masks will be required). The service will also be live streamed for those unable to attend in person (Please see funeral home website for link). A private interment will follow in Blain Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Mel Trotter Ministries or Right to Life of Michigan are appreciated. To read more about Diane’s life, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com