Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Johanna Burgenmeyer

September 1, 1937 - February 15, 2024
Grand Rapids, MI



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.

March of Dimes
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Life Story / Obituary


A grateful and loving soul, Johanna Mae (De Kam) Burgenmeyer lived a life rich in faith and family. Johanna led with her heart and was patient, humble, gentle, and kind. She embodied her faith and modeled faithful acceptance and unconditional love for all who were blessed to know her. Whether tending to her family, patients, or friends, Johanna always proved to be a safe haven for others to simply be. A devoted wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, Johanna will long be remembered and so very missed.

Despite the obvious gloom of the growing conflict in Europe, 1937 held much to celebrate, including the continued decrease in unemployment. As the Golden Gate Bridge opening gave Americans great pride, Walt Disney premiered "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," and J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel "The Hobbit" was published. When the first blood bank opened, it revolutionized medicine and helped advance modern surgery, as doctors no longer needed donors to be present at the time of transfusion. Nowhere was there more to celebrate than in the home of Andrew and Elizabeth (Vander Lught) De Kam as they welcomed their daughter Johanna to their family on September 1 in Sanborn, Iowa.

The third of the De Kams' twelve children, Johanna was the oldest daughter. The siblings formed close bonds as children, which only grew stronger as they aged. Along with Peter, Alvin, Andrew, Nellie, Willis, Marilyn, Glenda, Ivan, Judith, Nancy, and Shirlene, Johanna enjoyed large holiday get-togethers and vacations at various lakes around Michigan. While Johanna's mother tended the home, her father was a farmer in Sanborn, Iowa, and Leota, Minnesota, for a time. In 1955, the family moved to Holland, Michigan, and Johanna's father became a custodian at Holland Christian High School. The family attended and were active members of the Christian Reformed Churches where they lived.

Johanna attended Edgerton High School through the eleventh grade. Then, at the age of 16, she began her training as a psychiatric nurse at Pine Rest Nursing School. Intelligent and independent, Johanna lived in the dorms at Pine Rest and devoted herself to her studies. After graduating, Johanna worked as the head nurse at Pine Rest Children Retreat Center and at Christian Nursing Home in Standale in the late 80's.

On May 18, 1967, Johanna married Charles Burgenmeyer at Sunshine Chapel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After taking a honeymoon in Ozark Mountain, the couple made their home in Standale, Michigan. Charles worked as a pattern maker at a local furniture factory and was a father of five sons. Johanna welcomed his boys, Ralph, Charles, Albert, Lloyd, and Michael, into her heart and was honored to be their stepmother. In time, the couple welcomed two more sons to their family, Gregory and Mark. Over the years, the family moved to Grandville and Walker, Michigan, and enjoyed vacationing out west and in Mississippi.

Johanna found joy in the simple things in life, especially her family. She loved to read, garden, cook, and play music. Danielle Steel, Kristin Hannah, and Nicholas Sparks were a few of her favorite authors. She amassed a large collection of recipes and enjoyed making goulash, Salisbury steak, sausage and rice casserole, and pork steak. Breakfast for dinner was a favorite, as was pizza and peanut butter. Her homemade apple sauce, peach cobbler, and cookies were delicious, too.

As we celebrate Johanna's life, may we find comfort in our many wonderful memories and in the honor of carrying her legacy forward. In each moment we greet the day with grace and gratitude, lean into our faith, give of ourselves in service of others, enjoy a good book, or gather with loved ones for a homecooked meal, we keep Johanna's patience, kindness, and steadfast love alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.

Johanna Mae Burgenmeyer, age 86, passed away February 15, 2024, at Butterworth Hospital. Johanna was born September 1, 1937, in Sanborn, IA, to the late Andrew and Elizabeth (Vander Lught) De Kam. Johanna was also preceded in death by her husband, Charles Burgenmeyer; her son, Michael Burgenmeyer; and her siblings, Alvin, Andrew, Nellie, and Nancy. Johanna is survived by her sons, Gregory Burgenmeyer and Mark Burgenmeyer; her stepsons, Ralph (Karen) Burgenmeyer, Charles Burgenmeyer Jr, Albert (Celeste) Burgenmeyer, Lloyd Burgenmeyer; daughter-in-law, Chris Burgenmeyer; and 5 grandchildren. She is also survived by her siblings, Peter De Kam, Willis De Kam, Marilyn Bush, Glenda Brouwer, Ivan De Kam, Judith DeBoer, Shirlene Sterk; and many nieces and nephews. According to her wishes, cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will be announced in the spring. Memorials may be made to the March of Dimes.