Life Story / Obituary
As family and friends can surely attest, Dianne Teunis truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength for those around her, even in the most difficult of times, and she always had an encouraging word to say. Nothing brought Dianne greater joy than surrounding herself with her loved ones, and she was so proud to see her family tree grow new branches over the years. She was well known for her unshakeable faith and for her strong work ethic, her life an inspiration to others. Deeply loved, Dianne will be forever missed by those who knew her best.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young men and women had answered the call to serve, and those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods such as paper, coffee, rubber, and canned goods. It was just prior to the end of the fighting that Joseph and Elsie Kessel were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Dianne Elise on June 13, 1945, in Irons, Michigan.
Growing up, Dianne was a typical girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home as the fourth of five children alongside her siblings, Georgianna, David, Rosalind, and Barbara. Dianne’s father worked as a farmer who managed 160 acres, and her mother was a homemaker. As was typical of the time, all of the Kessel children helped with the chores around the farm. It has been said that Dianne was always an easygoing and helpful child who was eager to please. She attended elementary school in Irons and Luther, then went on to graduate from Baldwin High School in 1963, ready to move on to bigger and better things.
Following high school, Dianne settled down in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She supported herself by working at Michigan National Bank, Ethan Allen, and Meijer. Dianne was also a secretary at Rosedale Memorial Park for almost 30 years. She enjoyed pouring into her community, and she was never afraid to work hard in order to provide for herself and her loved ones.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Dianne as she met the man who would soon become her husband. His name was Keith Teunis, and the two first met through Dianne’s work at Rosedale Memorial Park. Kieth often visited the cemetery because his previous wife had passed away. One of the staff members encouraged him to ask Dianne out — so he did. Over the next year and a half of dating, their relationship blossomed into something truly wonderful. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Dianne and Keith were married in Grand Rapids on October 19, 2002, then enjoyed a honeymoon in Northern Michigan where they took in the sights of the Mackinac Bridge and Traverse City among others.
All who knew Dianne can surely agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. Dianne always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by her loved ones. her niece and god-daughter, Bonita, was a special part of Dianne's life from the day she was born adding years of sunshine to her life. She was a second mother to her through the years. When Bonita married Corey, they gave Dianne three great reasons to again bring joy to her life. Faith, Grace and Destiney loved her dearly. Destiney is Dianne's namesake as they share the same middle name Elise. When they came to visit from Tennessee, they would visit Dianne every day.
Never one to sit still for long, Dianne pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. She enjoyed knitting, sewing, and crocheting. Dianne was always most comfortable at home, but she and Keith did like to meet family and friends for dinner on Friday nights. She stayed active by participating in bowling leagues, and she was involved in Bible studies as well. Dianne loved watching television shows, such as Andy Griffith.
Over the years, Dianne battled her way through several health struggles. In 2020, she suffered a stroke at home. Thankfully, the family dog was able to alert her husband, Keith. Dianne recovered but suffered another stroke not long after. In order to receive the care she needed, she moved to Mission Point in Grandville. No matter what she was going through, Dianne kept her head high and never lost her zest for life.
When reflecting on the life of Dianne Teunis, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was a shining example of kindness and charity, and she was always willing to go above and beyond to help others. Her serving spirit allowed her to touch the hearts of countless others. Though she will be dearly missed, Dianne leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps. She was greatly loved and will be terribly missed.
TEUNIS – Dianne Elise (Kessel) Teunis age 77, of Grand Rapids, passed away on December 5, 2022. She was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Elsie Kessel; sister, Georgianna and John Siekirk; and brother, David Kessel. Dianne is survived by her husband, Keith; daughter, Brenda and Fred Bilski; granddaughters, Halie and Hannah Bilski; and great grandson, Eli. Also surviving are her siblings, Rosalind and Bill Burke and Barbara and Miguel Campos; sisters-in-law, Sally Kessel, Barbara Thompson and Judy DeGeest; special niece and god-daughter, Bonita and Corey Wieseler and their daughters, Faith, Grace and Destiney; and several nieces and nephews. Private family services will be held. Inurnment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Contributions in her memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.