Thursday, April 13, 2023
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Vigil service at 6:30
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.
401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Florence Lesiewicz was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. A caring nurturer, she would do anything for others in need. Her remarkable loving ways will be deeply cherished by all who knew and loved her.
The 1930s were significantly impacted by the effects of the Great Depression. Florence Stella was the fifth child born at home on April 10, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born to immigrants from Poland, her birth brought much joy into the family home.
Growing up in a large family of ten children, Florence’s childhood was filled with many happy memories. She was especially close to her sisters, Bernice and Ruth. They made their family home at 1249 Fourth Street NW where nine of the children were born and the last one was at a local hospital. As a child, she passed her time dancing, going to movies, and visiting the John Ball Zoo. A strong student, Florence attended kindergarten at Stocking School before transferring to grade school at St. Adalbert’s. She left Union High School to enter the world of work at Stickley Furniture Company.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting with the love of her life, John Lesiewicz. Both of them were working at Stickley and were interested from the start. Florence was seventeen and her mother didn’t make it easy for John! She often would chase him from their neighborhood, even with a broom in her hand! After two years of dating, John formally became a part of the family by marrying Florence at Saint Adalbert’s Catholic Church. The happy couple settled into their first apartment on First Street NW. John worked at a bowling alley and then spent time putting in sidewalks, trimming trees, and putting up street lighting for the city of Grand Rapids. Florence sold Tupperware until she and John welcomed home their seven children; John Jr., Charles, Edward, Michael, Laura, Steven, and Julie. Later, when the kids were older she worked in the cafeteria at Bissell where she would later retire.
As a mother, Florence was always involved with her children’s lives. She enjoyed volunteering as a PTA member and a hall monitor at St. James when the kids were young. She found great joy in celebrating all the holidays and worked hard to ensure that each and every one of them had special gifts to open at Christmas that were both thoughtful and meaningful. Florence loved to decorate the largest tree they could purchase every year! The bigger the tree the better the Christmas in her eyes! A favorite place to shop during the season was at Herpolsheimer’s Department Store and taking the kids to see Rudolph and ride the train. They also often attended the Holiday Parade downtown as a family. These moments built many memories for their family over their developing years. At Easter, Florence always prepared the traditional dishes with ham as well as her Polish dishes with kielbasa. Florence loved large gatherings and took careful time in her menu planning as well as her preparation to host extended family and friends. A talent in the kitchen, she thrived when the house was full and everyone was well-fed!
As a family, they enjoyed taking special trips. They took their pop-up camper to Brower Park and enjoyed a trip to Virginia when one of their sons was in the service. Many summers were spent at the family cottage on Muskegon River. Any time they could, they ventured to local parks such as Richmond and Garfield to picnic. Special places they enjoyed included Half Moon Lake and the annual Ionia Free Fair. They also instilled in their children the value of a strong foundation in faith by attending St. James Catholic Church and later St. Mary’s Catholic Church over the years.
When the children were grown, Florence found time to immerse herself in her special hobbies. For many years, she took ceramics as well as played Bingo at the slots at the casino. She also enjoyed reading and watching Soap Operas, baseball, and golf on television. Her favorite activity, however, was gardening. She had a real knack for flowers, as well as growing fruits and vegetables to can. She enjoyed decorating her home and loved to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Social and outgoing, Florence also enjoyed playing cards with the neighbors and having them over for a meal. She always loved making her favorite Polish dishes of pierogi, Kieszka, Golumpki, beet soup, and Chrusciki. Her family can attest that she made the best potato salad ever! Traveling to Las Vegas several times with her sisters as well as visiting Branson, Missouri; Venice, Florida, Atlantic City, Sault Ste. Marie and Niagara Falls were some of her favorite trips. Heading to Sweden and Poland however, filled her heart with many cherished memories. Through the years, Florence lived her life to the fullest.
Above all else, however, Florence was most content any time she was surrounded by her loved ones. A loving, generous, and gentle person, she leaves behind a great legacy of loving unconditionally. Florence modeled a lifetime of sharing her Christian values and treating everyone with grace and kindness. May the memories she shared stay forever in the hearts of her loved ones and may they find great comfort in knowing they were loved beyond measure.
Florence Stella Lesiewicz, of Grand Rapids, MI, passed away with her family by her side on Saturday, April 8, 2023, just two days shy of her 92nd birthday. She was born in the Spring of 1931 in Grand Rapids, MI to the late Frank and Veronica Mroz. Along with her parents, Florence is preceded in death by her brothers, Ted and Stanley, and her sisters, Eleanor Pachulski, Lottie Parmer, and Bernice Smith. She is survived by her husband of 72 years, John Lesiewicz Sr., and their children, John Jr. (Dee Dee) Lesiewicz, Charles (Paulette) Lesiewicz, Edward (Sally) Lesiewicz, Michael (Judy) Lesiewicz, Laurie Lesiewicz, Steve Lesiewicz, and Julie Vandyke; 17 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; brother Edward (Pat) Mroz; sisters, Betty Kuhn, Ruth Hineline, and Mary Ann Bieszka; brother-in-law, Ted Lipski; as well as by many nieces, nephews and other family members. She was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to everyone who knew her.
Florence will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. She had been a lifetime member of Saint James Catholic Church. A service to celebrate Florence’s life will be held on Friday, April 14, 2023, at 11:00 AM at Basilica of St. Adalbert, (654 Davis Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504). Visitation has been scheduled for Thursday, April 13, 2023, from 5-8 PM, with a Vigil at 6:30 PM, at the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, (2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504), and at church prior to the funeral service beginning at 10 AM. Florence will be laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI. Please consider making a memorial contribution in Florence’s memory to either Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, (2161 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504) or to Emmanuel Hospice (401 Hall St SW #263, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). To leave a memory or condolence, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com