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Shriners Hospitals for Children
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St Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Charity Of Donors Choice
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Garrett Holleman would agree that he had a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. He worked hard in everything he did, and the teachable moments he shared with his loved ones were endless. The sort of person who never met a stranger, Garrett was approachable and made people feel at ease. He told the best stories, and he always wore a smile, even when times weren’t always easy. Life will never be the same without Garrett here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s were some of the darkest days we’ve faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, but the American spirit was resilient. Although the challenges were all around, there was much to celebrate in the lives of Peter and Gertrude (Ringelberg) Holleman as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Garrett Donald on January 10, 1934, in Berlin, Michigan. During WWII, the town of Berlin officially became Marne. The youngest of five, he was raised on a small farm alongside his older siblings, Marion, Peter, Margaret, and Dorothy. Garrett’s father worked for Clipper Belt and Laser Company while his mother focused her time and attention at home. He and his family attended Walker Christian Reformed Church.
During his earliest years, Garrett attended Berlin School. After they moved to a home on Myrtle on the West Side of Grand Rapids, he attended West Side Christian School. Later, he moved on to Grand Rapids Christian High School, graduating in 1952. From there Garrett joined the National Guard in 1952 and was honorably discharged in 1960.
Not to be forgotten during Garrett’s years as a young man was his introduction to the young woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Marcia, and they met when he joined his cousin at Grand Haven beach. Marcia was one of the two young ladies there with his cousin, and the rest is history as they say. Garrett and Marcia began dating, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together they were married on October 1, 1954, at Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church. After a reception in the church basement, the couple was off to a honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula.
Eager to begin their new life together, the newlyweds settled into an apartment on Tamarack Avenue, NW. After three years, they were delighted with the birth of their daughter, Brenda, and she was later joined by their son, Brian, in 1960. They later bought a home on Widdicomb Avenue, NW, and after 15 years they moved to a house on four acres in Marne. They remained there for seven years before moving to a condo in Grandville.
There was no greater gift in Garrett’s life than his family. As a father he was always there for his kids, and he involved them in nearly everything he did. Garret loved teaching and always took his kids to help others with projects. What he didn’t know he learned by observing those who did so the next time around he’d be able to do it on his own. Every summer they would travel for three to four weeks, tent camping to what became every corner of the United States. They would see many of the common sights, but they also veered off the beaten path much of the time. Garrett was usually the one who did the planning, and some of their most treasured memories were made on these trips. Later in life Garrett was thrilled to become a grandfather, and he spent endless amounts of hours filled with quality time with his grandchildren. He was there to watch them and even drove them places when needed. Just like with his own children, Garrett seized every teachable moment - even picking blackberries was among them.
To support his family, Garrett worked hard throughout the majority of his life. He was a pattern maker at Keeler Brass, and he later went to work for D & M Metal Products, where he mastered many job responsibilities. Garrett was even asked to fabricate some panels for a race car. His work later expanded to include both fabrication and wiring for race cars. One of his cars even won a championship in Nashville, Tennessee. Sadly, Garrett suffered a work accident unloading sheets of steel, severing and then losing his left ring finger. During his retirement years he worked as a security guard until he was 84. Garrett also volunteered at Blandford Nature Center, fixing and repairing things. He also picked up trash at Millennium Park.
There were so many things that kept Garrett busy over the years. Although he was raised in a conservative family where dancing wasn’t allowed, he decided he would learn ballroom dancing as an adult. Garrett was quite an accomplished dancer, and he and Marcia enjoyed nights out dancing and were great dance partners at weddings, too. He was an avid fisherman, and for more than 30 years he traveled with friends and in later years with Marcia to Canada to go walleye fishing. These were fly-in trips where Garrett would be flown in to obscure lake locations. During their retirement years they traveled more, taking cruises to Trinidad, Jamaica, and Tahiti among others. Garrett and his wife also spent six weeks driving to Alaska. Social and outgoing, he loved meeting friends for coffee at Peppermill each morning. They even had a cup for him that read “Gabby Garrett.” Garrett walked two to four miles every day, and when relaxing he enjoyed reading books from Zane Grey as he was especially fond of the descriptive narratives.
Described as busy, creative, and even a hardheaded Dutchman, Garrett Holleman touched the lives of so many others in a special way. He was sensible when it came to finances, and he was also a man of his word. There was nothing of greater importance to Garrett than his family, and he was happiest when surrounded by their love. He will never be forgotten.
HOLLEMAN, Garrett D.
Grand Rapids, MI
Age 88, ended his journey on earth Sunday, September 4, 2022. Garrett was born January 10, 1934 in Berlin (Marne), MI to the late Peter and Gertrude (Ringelberg) Holleman. He was also preceded in death by his daughter, Brenda Karcis and his 4 siblings. Garrett served in the National Guard, and was a pattern maker for Keeler Brass and wore many hats for D & M Metal Products before working security until age 84. He loved to fish, hunt and build race cars. Garrett is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marcia; their son, Brian Holleman; grandchildren, John, Victoria, Joseph, Charles, Elizabeth, Daniel, Meg and Kristin; 11 great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. According to his wishes cremation has taken place. Friends may visit with family, Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 2-4 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel. 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Interment will be in Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or charity of donor’s choice. To read more of Garrett’s life story, leave a memory or condolence please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.