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.
The Mary Free Bed Foundation
235 Wealth Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Don Westrate was a family man through and through. He modeled a life of strong Christian values and humbly influenced many others on their faith journey. A lover of all people, he gave so much of his time and resources selflessly to anyone in need. Although Don will be deeply missed, his loving and easy-going nature will be fondly remembered for many years to come.
The 1950s were known as the decade of the baby boomer. On October 5, 1953, Anthony “Tony” and Lena (Schol) Westrate welcomed home their son, Donald Anthony, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born sandwiched between his two brothers, Don’s birth brought much joy and happiness to his parents during a promising time in our nation’s history.
Growing up Don had many happy childhood memories. He and his brothers were known to play together in the family’s backyard. They would often be outdoors playing basketball or baseball with other neighborhood friends on Leonard Street. As a family, they worshipped each Sunday at the Netherlands Reformed Church. Don’s father was a local builder and Don learned how to build over his growing years. From a young age, Don was especially close with his cousin, Fred, who was about the same age. Like most kids growing up during his era, he had a paper route and enjoyed making his own spending money. Plymouth Christian School was where he started his educational journey. Don later attended Central High School where he ran on the track team. After graduating, Don set off for the world of work by helping out his dad at Westrate Builders. A quick learner, he was able to learn a wide variety of carpentry skills as well as mechanical skills.
Don was lucky in love the day he met Patricia Rademaker. A mutual friend introduced them, and over the course of a few years the romance developed. Wallin Congregational Church was the perfect setting for their wedding ceremony on October 9, 1976. Don and Pat enjoyed touring the Poconos Mountains and the Hershey Pennsylvania area for their honeymoon before settling back on the northwest side of the city. Once they welcomed home their first daughter Meleah, Don began building their family home on Covell Avenue SW where many lasting memories were made. A strong provider for his growing family, he continued to put in long hours at the family business, Westrate Builders, before eventually taking over. Don was blessed with remarkable skills and clients were known to hire him to work on their projects as far away as Florida, California, Chicago, Peter Island and Jordan!
As a dad, he never missed an opportunity to play in the backyard with his three children Meleah, Jacob, and Anna. As a family, they enjoyed vacationing in Florida each Spring Break. They also enjoyed trips out west and east. Without fail, Don stopped at each and every Visitor’s Center as soon as they crossed into a new state. Each and every summer they towed their boat up north to enjoy the beautiful turquoise waters of the Leland area. Fishing was their favorite pastime in Leland where Don returned several times over the years, not only with his family, but also with his grandchildren. Don was grateful to be blessed with four grandchildren, Beckett, Maya, Julian, and Asher. He loved carrying them on his shoulders, swinging them for countless hours, and spending quality time with them.
Never one to remain idle, Don lived his life to the fullest. His first love was motorcycling on his Harley. He took many, many trips with his wife and their friends Fred and Sarah VanDyke. During the summer, he rode several times a week enjoying the local scenery by bike. Don stayed active by cutting wood to burn in their wood stove and spent many of his Saturdays stacking wood. Each deer hunting season Don enjoyed heading to camp with the guys. He loved to hunt but mostly enjoyed his time bonding with his good buddies. Due to his love of good food and fresh vegetables, he and Pat enjoyed tending to a large vegetable garden every year.
Sadly, in July Don was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer. He went to heaven peacefully while at home with his family. Described as funny, a people person, and down to earth, Don will be deeply missed by his friends and family. May his many special gifts of service and acts of love for his family be fondly cherished by his loved ones for many years.
Donald A. Westrate, age 68 of Grand Rapids, entered his Heavenly home on February 15, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents, Anthony and Lena Westrate. Don is survived by his wife, Patricia; their children; Meleah (Brent) Gibson, Jacob (Leanne) Westrate, Anna (Stephen) Klaasen; grandchildren, Beckett and Julian Gibson, Maya Westrate and Asher Klaasen; brothers Tom (Karen) Westrate, Steve (Jana) Westrate; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Jane Rademaker, Kristi (Jon) DeMeester, John (Amy) Rademaker; aunt Gertrude Westrate and several nieces and nephews. His funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 19, 2022, at 10:30 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Friends are invited to visit Don’s family at the funeral home on Friday from 2-4 and 5-7 PM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Mary Free Bed are appreciated. To share a memory, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com