Thursday, December 14, 2023
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Doreena Stark was a wonderful person to know and to love. She lived her life equally with a positive outlook and a feisty attitude. Strong-willed, yet kind, she was accepting of all people. Fun-loving and family-oriented, she was well-loved by her family and special friends. Her endearing personality will be deeply missed by all those who knew and loved her.
Her story begins on March 27, 1937, in Grand Ledge, Michigan, while the nation was still recovering from tough economic times. That same year, the Dust Bowl storms continued, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge opened, and America’s pilot, Amelia Earheart, went missing. Doreena Lou was born to Arnold and Fondalette Maxson.
As a child, she relocated to the Cascade area to live with her mother and stepfather, who she affectionately called, Papa, and her half sisters Almeda, Mary Ellen, and Apryl. Doreena also had a brother, Noel whom she loved very much and only recently was connected with a half brother, Doug. Doreena lived her life fully from a young age. Her love of animals was a common theme of her all her life. She loved them all, yet was especially fond of her pet pig, Louie. She brought him to school for show and tell on a leash! Her heart was always open to strays and animals throughout her growing years and she never went without owning at least one dog. Some of her favorite pets in her life were her dogs, Mitzie, Heidi, Riley, and Dorie.
Doreena thrived in the small community of Lowell and was named Homecoming Queen during her sophomore year at Lowell High School. The high school hallways were where she met the man of her dreams, James Stark. They dated for a short time and were married at Papa’s home in Cascade on December 3, 1954, with a very small and intimate ceremony. Lovers of the great outdoors, as a young couple, they enjoyed tent camping and fishing and spearing suckers together. Together they welcomed three wonderful children into their lives; James Jr., Julie, and Greg.
Doreena was blessed to stay home to raise all three children. She was the epitome of a homemaker; often making fresh baked goods from scratch and healing every ailment. As her kids grew and invited friends to the family home, she became known as Mom Stark, a name that stuck over the years. All children were made to feel welcome and never left hungry! Doreena loved to send guests home with a fresh slice of pie or two or three! Attentive and active in her children’s lives, they never doubted her love for them. For any school event or special celebration, Doreena was sure to be there supporting them along the way. As a family, they continued sharing their love of camping. Starting in tents, they eventually purchased larger campers and savored their time together. A highlight was their trip to Canada and Dean Lake. Any amount of time they were together they created lasting memories.
Once her youngest son, Greg, was out of the house, Doreena returned to the world of work at Herpolsheimer’s Department Store. She loved to shop equally to working there! Working primarily in the Housewares department, she made many lasting friends during these years. When the store eventually closed, she went to work at Herp’s in Rogers Plaza until they eventually closed and she retired from working outside the home. Retirement afforded her and James time to continue camping. Their favorite stop was Little Bay De Noc in the Upper Peninsula where they made many lasting friendships. Doreena had a very strong faith and was an active member of the United Methodist churches in both Williamston MI as well as Faith United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids.
Doreena desired to travel outside the great state of Michigan so she ventured to Los Angeles to visit their son, James, as well as their son, Greg, also in California. She enjoyed traveling to Hawaii with their daughter, Julie, son in law Chuck, their daughter Andrea, and Chuck’s mother Loay. She commonly would travel to Las Vegas. She loved the energy of the city and visiting all the sights. She and James weren’t planning on slowing down. They made the most of their days and at the end of each trip, they were already planning their next adventures together!
Active and outgoing, they were also members of several bowling leagues. She and James would even travel to different areas for tournaments. Doreena especially enjoyed her years in a bowling league with her daughter, Julie. In addition to her talents on the alleys, were her skills in the kitchen. Doreena was an excellent baker and enjoyed teaching her young daughter Julie and her grandchildren how to bake. She was always making a batch of chocolate chip cookies or working on one of her famous pies. No one could ever duplicate her famous Christmas cookies, they were the best and everyone in our family always had a full tin of them at Christmas time.
Holidays were always very special. Doreena went to work decorating her home and making large amounts of food to ensure the family was ready to celebrate together. Nothing warmed her heart more than the time she spent with her family. A wonderful mother right up until the end of her days, Doreena will be sincerely missed. Doreena wanted nothing more than the very best for her family and many special friends. May they always look back fondly on her rich collection of memories and may their lives reflect the joy and laughter she shared over the years.
Doreena Lou Stark passed away on December 8, 2023, with her family by her side. She is survived by her husband of 69 years, James Stark, Sr., as well as her children; James (Sara) Stark Jr., Julie (Charles) Dreyer, and Greg (Barb) Stark. She also leaves behind six grandchildren, Andrea (Michael) Swanson, Jessica (Chris) Stark-Flechsig, Nick (Jessica) Stark, Danielle Stark, Axel (Alex) Stark, Hannah (Caleb) Skaggs, and eight great-grandchildren. Doreena will be well remembered for her love of family and the support she provided to them.
Her family will meet with friends on Thursday, December 14, 2023, from 4-7 PM, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. The service to remember and celebrate Doreena’s life will be held on Friday, December 15, 2023, at 11:00 AM at the funeral home, with visitation one hour prior. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to Faith Hospice. To share a favorite memory or photo, or to sign the guest book, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com