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West Side Christian School
955 Westend Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
PO Box 141312
Grand Rapids, MI 49514
Life Story / Obituary
With a quiet reserve and a wonderful sense of humor, Everett “Ed” Windemuller, Jr. lived a life rich in family and friends. A man of few words, Ed’s life spoke volumes. Both intelligent and wise, Ed embraced each day as a gift, and each person as a friend. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend who welcomed each of his roles with integrity and honor. Ed embodied the principles of his faith, and in so doing, gave the world a living example of how to be a follower and disciple of Christ. Cherished by many, Ed will long live in the hearts of those who were blessed to know him.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1935 gave birth to many celebrated firsts. While reeling in the heartache of the times, Americans found much hope in Amelia Earhart’s first solo Pacific flight, the game of Monopoly, the first Orange Bowl, first Pacific Airmail delivery, and the first Technicolor film; Mickey Mouse. Nowhere was there more hope than in the Grand Rapids home of Everett and Sadie (Howerzyl) Windemuller as they welcomed their son Ed into their family on August 12.
Growing up on 32nd Street near Madison Street during the 30s and 40s, Ed enjoyed a childhood that centered on faith and family values. As the firstborn and only son of the Windemullers, Ed was a proud and protective big brother to his sisters, Kaye, Annette, and Wendy. Ed’s signature resourcefulness may be attributed to his hard-working parents. While his father worked for several furniture manufacturers before starting his own business Windemuller Wood Products, his mother worked as a domestic helper for a family in East GR before becoming a mother and homemaker. The family attended Faith Protestant Reformed Church, where they explored and celebrated their faith.
Ed’s childhood was filled with wonderful experiences that formed the firm foundation upon which he built the rest of his life. Some of his favorite memories included yearly family reunions held in the summer with both sides of the family. The family also traveled to Minnesota for fishing trips in the Boundary Waters and Rice Lake. Ed also enjoyed softball, participating at the Christian Reformed Recreational Center. His introduction to golf as a young man inspired a lifelong love.
After attending Seymour Christian School, Ed completed his school at Grand Rapids Christian High School, where he graduated with the class of 1953. He then took a couple of classes at GVSU in accounting and writing. Ed's first job was working for Vern Hyde Gas Station on Division Street. Called to serve his country, Ed became an Army reservist. For eight years, he attended monthly meetings and participated each year in the required two-week training. He also played the bass clarinet in both high school and with the Army Reserve Band.
One of life’s greatest blessings came to Ed in the form of a blind date set up by his sister Kaye. Recognizing a good fit, Kaye introduced Ed to Josephine Mesman, who was a Calvin College student from Minnesota. Their relationship began with a trip to Chicago to see a show at the new Cinerama. They enjoyed their experience and had ample time traveling to and from the theater to get to know one another. Ed's family took to Josie right away and pointed Ed in the direction of marriage. After dating for two years, the happy couple married on August 9, 1957, just three days before Ed's 22nd birthday. They exchanged their vows in a ceremony at Faith Protestant Reformed Church on a very hot day, followed by a reception at the church.
The newlyweds spent their wedding night in a room Ed reserved in Rogers City, where they would be close to the ferry in Mackinaw City. At 10 AM, the next morning they boarded the ferry which traveled past the newly completed, but not yet open, Mackinaw Bridge en route to the Upper Pennisula and a week in Copper Harbor.
The newlyweds returned home and lived in a small trailer on Ed's parents' property for a week until they moved into the home they purchased on 306 Maplelawn Street SW, in Wyoming where they lived for eight years. Ed worked for his dad at the woodshop. Unfortunately, he had an accident while working on a project that nearly took his left thumb clean off. Though there was a valiant attempt to save his thumb with the current medical knowledge of the times, he eventually lost the thumb and had to learn to function without. With signature determination, he did just that. In time, Ed and Josie were blessed by the births of their three daughters. Ed was a wonderful provider and protector for Debra, Sheri, and Karen. He was a strong example of hard work and dedication. The greatest gift he gave his daughters was his example of how a good man treats a good woman. Ed was a loving husband who honored and respected his wife, Josie, who stayed at home until the girls were all in school and then returned to teaching.
Ed was a man of many interests. When his girls were young, he built his own sailboat and sailed it with the girls. He loved to sing in the church choir, and he and Josie also participated in the community plays that the Jenison Christian Mothers Club produced each year. Ed and Josie were members at Ridgewood CRC and then Hillcrest CRC. Over the years, Ed faithfully served his fellowships as an elder, choir member, music secretary. During his leisure time, he loved to read Rex Stout mysteries and golf. Many wonderful memories were made on the greens where the Friday Boys called him “Straight Arrow” because he consistently hit straight shots. One of Ed’s most delicious delights was Josie’s cooking. While he enjoyed everything she made, his favorite meal was roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans. He had apple sauce with every meal and never turned down a sweet; his favorite was Cool Whip.
Ed eventually bought his father's business. For many years he owned and operated the business until selling it in 1985. Though he worked several jobs, selling woodworking machinery, his dream job was working at Wuskowhan Players Club, mowing grass and cutting the daily holes. He especially liked that as a worker he could play the closed course for free on Mondays. Ed’s woodworking business afforded many opportunities for travel. He and Josie traveled to many conventions for his woodworking machines that he sold to Atlanta and Louisville. They traveled by 5th wheel to every state except North Dakota, and also enjoyed a cruise to Alaska.
Without a doubt, Ed’s greatest treasure was his family. As his daughters became adults and had families of their own, Ed welcomed the role of grandfather with honor and pride. A perfect day was any day spent in the good company of his beloved surrounded by their loved ones.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Ed’s steadfast presence. May we find comfort in knowing his legacy lives on in the hearts of those he loved. With each putt we sink, Fricano’s thin crust pizza we enjoy, and adventure we take with our beloved, we celebrate the gift Ed was to so many. May we also find comfort in picturing Jesus lovingly welcoming Ed home with a heavenly embrace and the affirmation he so deserved, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…” Well done.
Everett “Ed” Windemuller of Grand Rapids, MI Age 84, went to live with Jesus, October 1, 2019. Ed was born August 12, 1935, in Grand Rapids to the late Everett and Sadie (Howerzyl) Windemuller, Sr. Ed is survived by his wife of 62 years, Josephine; daughters, Debra Thompson, Sheri (Bill) Evans, Karen Windemuller; grandchildren, Jonathan (Paola) Thompson, Kai Lynn (David) Hopkins, Mensah Thompson, Jessica Bustraan, Stephanie (Brent) DeKryger, Heather (Rolando) Chapa, Emily Westerhof, Jacob Westerhof; great-grandchildren, Ellie DeKryger, Lucas and Levi Thompson. Also surviving are sisters, Kaye (Hubert) DeWolf, Annette (Kenneth) Gebben, Wendy (Bill) Cannon; and several nieces and nephews. According to his wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 1 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit with family beginning at 12 PM. Memorials may be made to Mission India or West Side Christian School. Please visit Ed's web page to read more of his life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.