Visitation for one hour prior to the service.
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.
Wycliffe Bible Translators
P.O. Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Elizabeth Goudzwaard, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She poured her heart and soul into all that she did, and she dedicated herself to serving those around her in any way she could. Nothing brought Betty greater joy than spending time with her loved ones. She was well known for her spirit of generosity and her faith, which formed the unshakeable foundation of her life. Forever loved, Betty will be deeply missed by those who knew her best.
Although the 1930s were some of the most trying days our nation has seen due to the unrelenting grip of the Great Depression, there were moments of great joy as well. Such was the case in the lives of Clifford Charles and Anne Elizabeth (Hayes) Reed as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Elizabeth Ann on January 19, 1936, in Kent City, Michigan.
Growing up, Betty was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home alongside her two siblings, Donna and Shirley. Betty’s father supported the Reed family by working as a bookkeeper, while Betty’s mother was a homemaker. Throughout Betty’s childhood, the family moved all over the Grand Rapids area. They once took a memorable trip to Niagara Falls. When she was sixteen, her parents divorced and began separate lives, a devastation that she never fully healed from.
Betty attended local schools including Dickinson Elementary, South Middle School, Ottawa Hills High School, and Creston High School. She had a busy social life and had friends wherever she went, and she enjoyed going to dances as well. Though she did not graduate due to an accident, Betty would get her GED later in life. She balanced her education with a job, working first at McDonald’s and then as an operator at the telephone company.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Betty as she met the man who would soon become the love of her life. His name was Chuck Goudzwaard, and he was an employee at Kew Pees, where Betty would often go for lunch while working downtown. She took notice of Chuck, and when conversation failed to lead to a date she left her wallet at the restaurant so that he would have to call her. Betty’s plan worked like a charm, and the two began dating. Their relationship was tested on March 17, 1954, when Chuck and his brother, Jerry, drove by Betty’s house in a yellow Ford convertible. Betty and her friend, Bev, asked to go for a ride, but in a tragic accident the car crashed into a tree. Betty ended up with a broken pelvis, and Bev tragically passed away. Betty spent three months recovering in the hospital, and Chuck visited every day. It didn’t take the two long to realize that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
Ready to begin a joyous chapter in their lives, Betty and Chuck were married on October 15, 1954, in the presence of family and friends. They couldn’t afford a honeymoon at the time, but over their years together they took many romantic trips to Hawaii, Mexico, and various other locations. Betty and Chuck moved around for a couple of years, living first on Darwin Avenue, and later moved to 3 other states: Wyoming (Gillette), New Mexico (Nogales) and Colorado (Castle Rock).
All who knew Betty can surely agree that she treasured her family above all else. She and Chuck were overjoyed to welcome their beloved children, Lenny, Laurie, LuAnn, Larry, and Lance, into their hearts and home. Betty thrived in her role as a mother, and she devoted herself to caring for her children. The Goudzwaard family suffered a terrible loss when Lenny passed away in 1968, and this loss made a lasting impact in Betty’s life, but there were great joys, too. Later in life, she was thrilled to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother. She always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Betty truly dedicated her life to the service of others. She was an active volunteer at her church, Trinity Reformed, where she led Young Life, as well as various Bible studies, snuggled babies in the nursery, helped with youth groups, and interpreted sign language during worship. Betty also volunteered in her children’s schools. For many years, she taught at Marabel Morgan’s The Total Woman seminar. Betty was always willing to go above and beyond to serve her loved ones and her community.
Throughout her life, Betty loved to travel and see the world. One memorable trip was to the Upper Peninsula with the Hall family in August of 1967, where one highlight was when they went to see the bears at the dump. Betty was elected as a member of the Gillette's Hospital Board and she saw many parts of the United States and had many visits to Washington D.C. She also took various cruises and ski trips. Near their retirement years, Betty and Chuck visited the Capitan Mountains in New Mexico and fell in love with the area. They built a cabin and wood shop, but after losing everything in the “Little Bear” fire of 2012, they decided to move closer to their son, Lance, and settled down in Castle Rock, Colorado. Betty and Chuck spent countless hours in the car, driving around Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, and Texas for the winter, where they kept their 5th wheel. Though Betty was devastated to lose her husband in 2014, she looked forward to being reunited with him in heaven one day. She eventually made her final move to Covenant Village in Grand Rapids.
Never one to sit still for long, Betty pursued many hobbies in her free time. She was known for her green thumb and her African violets. While in Wyoming, Betty was very physically active. She got on a horse and helped during round-up and branding cattle at a nearby ranch for 9 years! She loved cross-country skiing and tended a huge perennial and vegetable garden. Betty loved listening to Christian artists, especially the Bill Gaither Trio, Imperials, Sandi Patti, and loved when Chuck sang ANYTHING with is wonderful tenor voice. While dating Don, she danced each evening with to Anne Murray's "Can I Have This Dance." She read her Bible faithfully and made many notations over the years, and Bible studies were a core part of her life. Betty wasn’t particularly skilled in the kitchen, so Chuck did most of the cooking. Chinese food and popcorn with jelly beans were among her favorites. Betty was a fan of movies, and she enjoyed watching mysteries or crime, such as Law & Order or CSI. She treasured the handmade quilt given to her by her daughter, LuAnn, for her 40th anniversary, every Christmas card, and her red Honda prelude.
As her family and friends can certainly attest, Elizabeth Goudzwaard truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength for all those around her. A loving wife, mother, and grandmother, Betty worked tirelessly to care for her family. Her smile brought a spark to every room, and her primary focus in life was forming deep and personal relationships with others in her community. Though she will be dearly missed, Betty leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Elizabeth “Betty” Goudzwaard, age 87 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on July 31, 2023. Betty was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years Charles “Chuck” Goudzwaard in 2014, her son Leonard “Lenny” Goudzwaard in 1968, her sister Shirley Elder in 1985,and by her love in the twilight of her life, Claude “Don” Chrysler in 2021. . She is survived by her children: Laurie Pena, LuAnn & Dave Horstman, Larry & Kimberly Goudzwaard, and Lance & Corrin Goudzwaard. She is also survived by her sister Donna & Babe Pereira. She has 9 wonderful grandchildren: Adam, Jesse, Audrey, Eli, Valerie, Tony, Kyra, Kalli, and Chelsea, 10 special great grandchildren, along with many great nieces, nephews, cousins, as well as a wide circle of dear friends. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, August 5 at 3 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Friends are invited to visit with his family beginning at 2 pm. Since this is a celebration of Betty’s life please honor her wishes and wear bright colors in her memory. Because she loved sharing about her Lord, Betty’s family suggests that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Wycliffe Bible Translators. To read more about Betty, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com