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Life Story / Obituary
In everything she did, Eileen Willemstyn was a blessing to those around her. She was a woman of unwavering faith, and although she was never overbearing in her beliefs, she was an amazing example of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Eileen was deeply devoted to her family and friends, and those in need within her community. She always had a listening ear available, and there was nothing she loved more than a deep conversation. Although she will be deeply missed, Eileen leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her family and friends will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Despite the economic difficulties at that time in the nation, Tunis and Gertrude (DeGroot) Willemstyn shifted their focus to a new baby, Eileen Mae, born June 3, 1938, in Sioux Center, Iowa. She was the eighth of nine children joining her family of five sisters and three brothers. When she was three, their family, minus one sister, moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where her father found work in a local dairy.
Eileen attended Baxter Christian School. She and her family were members of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, which is where the beliefs that she held dear were engraved upon her heart. Her mother played the organ there while her father was an elder. Later on, Eileen graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High in 1955. She spent about 10 years working as a bookkeeper at Old Kent Bank. Eileen eventually moved from her parents’ home to Wyoming, Michigan. She then joined Community CRC where she was very active as she taught summer Bible school and was active in Bible study groups as well.
The bulk of Eileen’s working days were spent as a teacher. She went to Grand Rapids Junior College and then to Michigan State University, earning a teaching degree in special education. She was the only one in her family to graduate from college. With her education behind her, Eileen began working for Grand Rapids Public Schools and spent more than 20 years at Mulick Park Elementary. She then worked for Henry Elementary and Oakdale Elementary. Eileen retired in 1994.
Throughout her life, Eileen was a woman of many interests and someone who preferred to be busy. She and a friend frequently traveled during her working years, including two trips to Europe and a Caribbean cruise. Eileen especially enjoyed the history and the scenery when traveling to many Eastern states. Over the years she also made the trip back to Iowa to visit family and friends, and she especially appreciated the friendliness of the small towns. After retiring, Eileen settled down and enjoyed the simpler time of her life. One of her favorite activities was going out to dinner, but it wasn’t about the food for her as it was all about the conversation. She liked knitting hats for the homeless and kids in the inner city schools, and she was very creative. Eileen was an avid reader, interested in many topics. If she didn’t see someone around for a while, she always gave them a call just to connect. During her later years, Eileen lived with her niece, Tammy.
All who knew Eileen Willemstyn would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was empathetic and gracious with an ability to nurture meaningful relationships. Eileen lived out her love for Christ by the way she lived her everyday life. Although she will be deeply missed, she will never be forgotten.
WILLEMSTYN, Miss Eileen Mae age 80, of Wyoming, passed away on August 19, 2018. Her earthly struggles are over and she is now at peace in her Heavenly home. Eileen is survived by her siblings, William (Henrietta) Willemstyn and Thelma (Gerald) Haverhals; many nieces and nephews, special nieces and nephews, Tammy Haverhals, Jeremy Haverhals, Ken (Rose) Helmer and Linda (Keith Snedegar) Potter; many great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews. Eileen was a special education teacher for GRPS for 25 years, serving mostly at Mulick Park Elementary. The Funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Friday, August 24, 2018 at Sunset Park Church of God, 3450 Michael Ave SW, Wyoming, MI 49509. Family and friends will gather to share stories and memories from 6-8 PM on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW 49504, and for one hour prior to the service at church. Contributions in her memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice or ABVI - Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read Eileen's lifestory, submit a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.