Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Joan Sturrus

March 26, 1932 - January 31, 2018
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, February 2, 2018
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Westview Christian Reformed Church


Saturday, February 3, 2018
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
Westview Christian Reformed Church


Saturday, February 3, 2018
11:00 AM EST
Westview Christian Reformed Church
2929 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


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.

West Side Christian School Foundation
955 Westend Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Grandville Calvin Christian Schools Foundation
3750 Ivanrest Ave SW
Grandville, MI 49418


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


When reflecting on the life of Joan Sturrus, it is easy to see that her love for her Lord and Savior was first and foremost in her life. She lived to care for and serve others, and as a member of the community she loved throughout her entire life the lives she touched were many. Joan was deeply devoted to her family, and she considered being a wife and mother to be both her highest calling and her greatest blessing. Hardworking and diligent, she gave everything she did her full effort. Life wasn’t without times of trial for Joan, but she faced whatever came her way with a quiet strength and a graceful courage that were truly inspirational. Deeply cherished, she will be forever missed.

Daily life during the 1930s was a struggle for the majority of Americans as the Great Depression covered our nation without reprieve throughout the entire decade. There were few jobs and a soaring unemployment rate that left people unable to keep their homes all across our great land. Despite the challenges around them, Henry and Grace( Loosenort) VandenBrink were able to focus on a time of great joy in their lives as they welcomed the birth of the baby girl they named Joan Arlene on March 26, 1932, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Raised in the family home on Arianna Street on the West side, she was joined in her family by her brother, Don, and her sister, Carol. As a family they attended Seventh Reformed Church, imprinting the Christian faith on Joan’s heart as a young girl.

In many ways Joan was a young girl of her generation. She and her siblings attended West Side Christian School, just like their father had. Joan enjoyed fishing with her father, and she loved the outdoors - even snakes! She liked things like sledding in the cow pasture and camping up North, especially when they picked extra berries to make jam with while camping. Joan participated in a church youth group called Christian Endeavors and graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School.

New and exciting changes were in store for Joan when she met the man of her dreams while at a hymnsing at Immanuel Reformed Church. His name was William "Bill" Sturrus, and he couldn’t help but notice young Joan. The two began talking, and since he was able to give her a ride home that night the rest is history. They went bowling on their first official date, and due to her competitive nature Joan wound up with the higher score. The couple began courting, and after about nine months Bill proposed as he was leaving for the Army. While he was serving, Joan wrote him letters in her beautiful penmanship, and after two years he returned. Reunited, the couple was married after just a few months in June of 1953. The newlyweds then honeymooned in Niagara Falls and then Montreal, Quebec. It was also during this time that Joan worked at Yellow Pages and then also for her father's company, VandenBrink Meats.

The young couple eagerly settled into their new life together. They soon built a house on the WestSide, and this is where the family grew to include four children including Janice, Julie, Dave, and Todd over the next eight years. Joan stayed home and focused her time and attention on her family. She worked hard to keep things in order, and it was just in her genes to keep busy. At the same time, Joan also gave the kids chores so that they would know how to work hard as well. She was also a spiritual leader in the home, instilling her faith within her children. Some of their favorite family memories were made while camping including a few longer trips out West. A beach lover, they also had a home in Grand Haven where they could frequently be found during the summers. Later in life Joan loved entertaining the grandchildren there as she often hosted them overnight. Of course their stay was filed with many fun and special activities. For many years she and Bill also took trips to Aruba where they enjoyed soaking up sun and perhaps trying their luck with the slot machines.

Throughout her life Joan lived to serve. Shortly after getting married they helped establish Remembrance Reformed Church where she played the piano during service and helped out in Sunday School. A few years later, Joan and her husband joined Westview Christian Reformed Church where they were active members for over 50 years. Many of their friends and social gatherings involved church friends over the years. As a baby lover, Joan regularly gave of her time by helping in the church nursery or by holding babies in the neonatal unit at the hospital for 23 years. She also volunteered at the NW Food Pantry and with Volunteers in Service during more recent years. Someone who always wanted to grow in her faith, Joan also participated in several Bible studies.

As her family and friends can attest, Joan was genuine in her love and concern for others. She made sure to keep track of all the birthdays and special occasions, and she faithfully attended every event that her children and grandchildren were a part of. In addition, Joan went to most church functions. With various gifts and talents, she also knitted and crocheted and kept busy making caps for infants in the hospital as well as afghans for each family member. Although Joan needed some medical accommodations through the last years, she kept herself busy as she didn’t want to be bored.

Truly beautiful on the inside and out, Joan Sturrus touched the hearts and lives of numerous others. Outgoing and friendly, she had a way of drawing others near with ease. When she faced trials, Joan chose to focus on gratitude with her unwavering faith giving her the strength to weather the storms. A loving and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, she created a priceless collection of memories with her loved ones that they will forever cherish.

Joan A. Sturrus, age 85 of Grand Rapids, was carried to heaven by the angels on January 31, 2018. Joan is survived by her husband of 64 years, Bill; their children Janice & Paul Braman, Julie & Bob Gingrich; Dave & Nancy Sturrus; Todd & Jane Sturrus; grandchildren Derek (Melissa) Braman, Joel (Becky) Braman, Kristen Braman, Bob (Amber) Gingrich, Jessalyn Gingrich, Mandy (Mike) Hollebeek, Amy Sturrus, Luke (Abby) Sturrus, Eric (Kristin) Sturrus, Kelly (Josh) George, Brad Sturrus; 12 great grandchildren; sister Carol Heuvelman; sisters-in-law Shirley VandenBrink and Barb Sturrus; and many nieces and nephews. Joan was preceded in death by her brother, Don VandenBrink. The service to remember and celebrate her life will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 11 AM at Westview Christian Reformed Church where friends are invited to visit with her family on Friday from 6-8 PM and on Saturday from 10 AM until 10:50 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either West Side Christian School Foundation or Calvin Christian School Foundation are appreciated. To read more about Joan's life, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com