Saturday, November 9, 2019
11:00 AM EST
Park Congregational Church
10 E. Park Place NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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.
Volunteers Faith Hospice at Trillium Woods
8214 Pfeiffer Farms Drive SW
Byron Center, MI 49315
West Michigan Therapy Dogs
Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, Donna DeVries blessed the lives of so many around her in such a special way. When Donna loved, she loved with all of her heart. She was blessed to share much of her life with her true love and together they witnessed their family grow to include 2 grandchildren who were a great source of pride and joy. Life will never be the same without Donna here but she leaves behind a timeless legacy.
During the first half of the 1940’s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as World War 2 raged on. During that time, Bill was born in the Netherlands. Countless young men and women had answered the call to serve, and those who remained state side became familiar with rationing on common goods like sugar, rubber, paper and canned goods. It was also during this time that Jack and Naomi Cribbs were filled with great anticipation as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby. On April 15th of 1942 Donna Kay Cribbs arrived. Because Jack was drafted for the war when Donna was only 6 months old & didn’t return until she was 4, she would ask random men walking by her front porch if they were her daddy. She was one of two as she was joined by her sister Ann, four years later.
Her father was a manager at PPG in Ford City while her mother was a homemaker who was known for baking and giving away many varieties of cookies during the holidays. Donna and her sister were the only bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. She could often be found playing with her friends and one of her favorite things to do was dance & play cards on her friend Molly’s front porch. As a student, she attended Fourth Ward Elementary, Kittanning Junior High, Kittanning High School where she was a cheerleader. Donna was voted most “vivacious” by her senior class. After graduating in 1960 she went on to earn her Bachelor of Education from Indiana State Teacher’s College in 1964. She went to grad school and continued education throughout her teaching career.
Donna & Bill first met at St Bartholomew Community Club. New and exciting changes were in store after that day. Their first official date was a 3 day weekend over Labor Day when they went camping in Vermont and New Hampshire. By New Years Eve, they were engaged. They were married on March 24, 1973 at United Methodist church in Kittanning. Because she was teaching at the time, they took their honeymoon that summer on the coast of Maine. The newlyweds initially lived on 87th and Lexington in Manhattan. Their daughter, Jenna, was born in New York, New York on January 2nd, 1974. They later moved to New Jersey before moving to Kentwood.
Family was always of the greatest importance to Donna. She was a loving and devoted mother and she made every moment count. For one of the many family vacations, in 1976, they flew to Salt Lake City and rented a car then visited Montana and Oregon. For 22 years they drove from Kentwood to Kittanning to enjoy a homemade feast made by her mother. The whole family especially liked her homemade pickles, meatloaf, orange cookies, Chex mix & pumpkin Pie at Christmastime. When Jenna got married, Donna helped plan the wedding and Maurizio lovingly remembers her walking him down the aisle since his mother couldn’t make it over from Italy. Maurizio’s mother, Vittoria, still finds peace knowing that Donna was there for her son.
Throughout her life, Donna was a woman of many interests. Teaching was her passion, and she was so impactful in the lives of many of her students. Donna initially taught at a public school in New Jersey before moving to a private school, Birch Wathen in Manhattan. After moving to Kentwood, she worked at Godwin Heights before retiring. Donna enjoyed various hobbies and was very into crafts. She liked flower gardening, photoshopping & card making. She loved keeping collections of angels, pewter and her biggest collection was of pineapples. She believed in the pineapple’s meaning of hospitality and welcoming people into her home. For years she was a member of John Knox & Parkwood Presbyterian Churches and most recently at Park Congregational. Also within her community, she was part of West Michigan Therapy Dogs, a founder of Kentwood Women’s Club and part of the ladies church group. Combining both her love for serving others and animals, Donna loved bringing her 6 pound Yorkshire terrier, Barclay to hospitals and hospice. She especially made a difference at Faith Hospice at Trillium Woods. At first, her visits there were only once a month but she soon began going weekly because it was such a meaningful time for her. The service that she and Barclay provided there was spotlighted in a heart warming article in the faith hospice newsletter.
When her granddaughters, Gioia and Giada arrived, Donna could not have been happier. She was extremely proud to watch Gioia March in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2017, at many band competiions and rowing regattas. Grandma Donna made a special fuzzy blanket for Giada which Giada named Buppy. Thirteen years later, it’s still Giada’s most prized possession. Donna spent as much time with her granddaughters as she could. Her family fully appreciated her skills in the kitchen and among her specialties were sweet potatoes, chicken tetrazzini & pumpkin pie. She enjoyed eating fresh fish in Florida, listening to music from the 50’s and 60’s, Wise Potato Chips and Diet Coke.
During their retirement years she and her husband did some traveling including Indian Rocks Beach Florida, Pennsylvania, Montana, California, Glacier National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Banff in Canada.
Deeply loved, she will forever be missed.
DEVRIES, Donna C., Grand Rapids, MI, After complications concerning long-standing health challenges, Donna passed away with her loving family and friends by her side on October 30th, 2019. She was born in Kittanning, PA to Jack and Naomi Cribbs on April 15, 1942. She left behind her husband of 46 years, Bill DeVries. Also surviving are her daughter, Jenna (Maurizio) Arcidiacono and her granddaughters, Gioia & Giada, her sister, Ann (Ron) Zarenko, brother & sister- in- laws, many nieces, nephews and long time friends. Donna was passionate about teaching, volunteering with her therapy dogs and crafting. She had a talent for meeting and befriending the finest people. Her memorial will be held at Park Congregational Church on November 9th, 2019 beginning at 11 am with a luncheon following the service. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to Faith Hospice at Trillium Woods and West Michigan Therapy Dogs
Please visit Donna's personal web page to read more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.