Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Frances Johanna Worst (Vander Male)

July 7, 1915 - October 15, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI



Sunday, October 18, 2020
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613

Masks and Social Distancing Required

Driving Directions


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.

Edison Christian Health Center
1000 Edison NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-2475
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


In as much as she gave, Frances Worst was loved abundantly and cherished in the hearts of many. With a grace all her own, she was a woman of faith who was filled with loving kindness. Always encouraging with a good, genuine and positive nature, she was indeed a blessing as she shared her compassionate heart without judgment. Fran never said an unkind word and her concern for others was unmatched. Most importantly, she touched many throughout her long life and to those she leaves behind, her memory will never fade.

Although the year 1915 found the U.S. merely two years away from its involvement in World War I, America was attempting to bounce back from a recession that caused nearly ten percent unemployment across the nation. Even so, strides were being made as the U.S. Coast Guard was established, and the first transcontinental telephone call was made. It was common for three generations of families to live under one roof and for many walking or taking the streetcar was the usual mode of transportation. It was during this time of transition in America, nestled in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan when Cornelius and Wilhelmina “Minnie” (Boot) Vander Male welcomed the birth of their little girl, Frances Johanna into their hearts and home.

Frances began her life journey on July 7, 1915. A lifelong resident of Grand Rapids, she grew up alongside her three siblings, Arie “Bud”, Casey and Josephine on the city’s northeast side where the Vander Male family made their home. Sadly, at the age of 12, Frances and her family experienced the death of her father. Despite these challenging days, Frances enjoyed a childhood typical of the times and enjoyed going to church with her grandma as a child. Having attended the local schools, Frances graduated from Creston High School where a highlight of her time there included participating in the play, “Tiger House” for which she was cast primarily due to her small stature. Frances went on to further her education by attending Davis Tech Business School and then worked as a medical secretary at Ferguson-Droste-Ferguson Hospital.

With deep, abiding love, Fran came to know love in the heart of William Worst. She had known Bill since their grade school days and during their fourth grade year there was even a photo of the two youngsters standing next to one another. Who would ever have guessed they would marry one day! The newlyweds soon began a family of their own which came to include John, James, Stephen, and Mary. Their son, William died as an infant.

Fran made a good, loving home for her family and was always there for her family making delicious meals and tasty treats. Fortunate were they who were served her famous scalloped potatoes, cabbage rolls not to mention her blueberry pies and sinfully delicious sticky buns. Fran loved baking sweet rolls for the sick and shut-ins from church in addition to her neighbors and friends. In fact, people almost didn’t mind being sick if that meant getting some of her sweet rolls! For Fran, any type of dessert and ice cream were among her personal favorites. Gracious and giving pretty much summed up the heart of Fran. Sunday dinners after church were very important to Fran and Bill. They always had people over whether it was family, new members from church or anyone who didn’t have a place to go for a Sunday meal. Her table was always open for those less fortunate.

Over the years numerous memories were shared and enjoyed during the holidays and other special occasions. As a family they enjoyed several vacations and time spent with their grandchildren at their family cabin up north on the Pine River. It never bothered Fran that there was no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing at the cabin because Fran always knew how to make do. She loved being outdoors and spending time with her grandkids at every opportunity.

For as long as she could remember, Fran loved playing the piano and did so well into her 90s. While she never placed her hope or treasure in “things”, she did cherish her piano. Fran loved music in general, sang in her church choir and for many years she accompanied the Westminster Meadows Glee Club. When her children were young she encouraged them to play instruments. Fran loved keeping in touch with people near and far and was a prolific letter writer. She lost a lot of card games and was never able to disguise her delight in being dealt a good hand.

A longtime member of Creston Christian Reformed Church, Fran always found a way to use her time and talents. She was very active in the life of her church, especially worship. Always a leader, she could easily pray aloud and lead studies when at the time, women generally remained in the background, unseen and not heard. She actively served with the ladies’ aid society and never missed an opportunity for door to door evangelism. For a time she taught three different bible studies, volunteered for many years at Eastern Orthopedic School and helped in the library at Creston Christian School.

An encouragement to everyone she encountered, a defining characteristic of Fran was her compassion and concern for others. She placed importance on these things rather than the task at hand or the situation. Genuine to the core, she could always look people straight in the eye with a smile that was all her own. Always a very hospitable and welcoming woman, Fran was accepting of everyone and was never critical or judgmental. To the last of her days she remained positive and only saw the bright side of everything. For over the last ten years, Frances resided at Edison Christian Health Center where she made numerous friendships. She was known for being very friendly and greeted everyone there with a smile. In fact, everyone who came to know Frances came to love her there!

Frances Worst counted her blessings and then some. She counted the day she married her beloved, Bill as the greatest day of her life, and in all ways her family brought her the greatest joy. She leaves behind her good nature, her store of clever quips, her contagious laughter, and her unflappable Christian faith. Friendly, hospitable, and warm, she found compassion for the least of society. When it came to finding peace and tranquility, she loved nature and her gardens offered solitude from a busy and changing world.

On Thursday, October 15, 2020, Frances Johanna Vander Male Worst, age 105, entered glory and joyfully joined in “that number as the saints go marching in”, no doubt lagging behind greeting everyone with a “How are ya, hon?” She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; infant son, William; her parents, Minnie and Cornelius Vander Male; brothers, Arie “Bud” Vander Male and Casey (Betty) Vander Male; sister, Josephine (Jay) Hoeksema; daughters-in-law, Ruth Worst, Myra Kraker-Worst and Darlene Worst. Fran is survived by her four children, John (Ruth Tucker) Worst, James Worst, Stephen Worst and Mary Worst; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Jane Vander Male. She will be fondly remembered by her family and her many friends, including those at Edison Christian Health Center. Without the safety net of Medicaid, the exceptional care our mother received at Edison Christian Health Center would not have been available. We extend our deepest thanks to the wonderful staff for their loving care and concern for her during the final decade of her life.

Visitation will be held (masks and social distancing required) from 5-7 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2020 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. A private family committal service will take place at Fairplains Cemetery. Contributions in her memory may be made to Edison Christian Health Center. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read her life story, submit a favorite memory, photo, or to sign her online guestbook.