Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

John Monks

September 18, 1931 - February 17, 2020
Portage, MI



Friday, February 21, 2020
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions


Saturday, February 22, 2020
10:30 AM EST
St. Thomas the Apostle
1449 Wilcox Park Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Web Site


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.

Queen of the Miraculous Medal Church
1111 Carlton Blvd
Jackson, MI 49203
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


John Monks was a terrific husband, father, and grandfather. He delighted in making every day count with the family he loved. Kind and caring, he saw to it that his family was always well cared for and loved beyond measure. Devoted to his faith as well as the community he loved, John will be sincerely missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved him.

His story begins on September 18, 1931, in Lansing, Michigan where he was welcomed home by his loving parents, Claude and Carmen (Fox) Monks. This was a tough period in our nation’s history as banks were still closing as a result of the Great Depression. Despite its challenges, it was also a promising time as there was a new election year awaiting. Later, John was joined by his younger brother, Patrick, who helped him gain a sense of independence as well as share adventure and mischief over the years.

Growing up in Burton Heights, John lived a typical childhood of the times. His father worked as a salesman while his mother stayed home as a homemaker. The family also regularly attended St. Francis Catholic Church. As a young teen, John excelled in football as a center. During his high school years, he played during the city championship in 1947, a moment he was proud to reflect upon. An avid sports fan, he and his buddies were known to skip school each year to hitchhike to Detroit to watch the Tiger's opening day game. This tradition led to many years of attending the opening games throughout the course of his lifetime! In addition to his studies, he also drove a truck to deliver ice for extra income. Ambitious and driven, John was always able to accomplish what he set his mind to doing.

Graduating with the Class of 1949 from Catholic Central High School, he was eager to step out in the world! Soon after graduation, however, John was drafted into the United States Army and proudly served two years during the Korean war. Skilled as well as trustworthy, John served as a tank commander with the rank first sergeant. After being discharged, he went to work for the US Post Office while earning his degree in business administration from Aquinas College. Around this same time, he met Dorothy Ford on a blind date and the rest was history! Not wasting any time, after a short stint of dating, they joined in marriage on January 28, 1956, at St. James Catholic Church during a memorable ice storm. After their romantic honeymoon to Chicago, the happy couple returned to their apartment on Bridge Street above a local barbershop. John continued his studies and graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in 1959. Luckily, right after graduating he set off to work with the Social Security Administration. They also bought their first home at 4153 Colby Street SW. Together they welcomed home and raised four wonderful children; David, Susan, Linda, and Sara.

John was a strong provider for his family. He relocated the family to the Detroit area during the riots in 1967. They made their home at 17178 Mansfield. By 1972, John and his family moved into their home in Jackson at 3009 West Morrell Street where they remained for the next forty-six years. A supportive husband and father, John made sure that in between his long work weeks, they always took time to vacation each summer for a week at a cottage on Little Traverse Lake. They also took several family trips out west in their station wagon! No matter where they ended up many of their fondest memories came from John’s wonderful sense of humor and storytelling! He loved to joke with his kids and taught them never to take life too seriously! By 1993, he finished his remarkable thirty-five-year career with the federal government and looked forward to his retirement.

Retirement afforded John many wonderful years of enjoying his greatest life pleasures. He loved to play golf and was actively involved in a number of leagues over the years. He also loved to travel. When it came time for socializing, he never passed up a game of Bridge or time with his ROMEO (retired old men eating out) group that met once a month for lunch in Grand Rapids and with another group of friends once a week for lunch in Jackson. He continued his passion for Detroit baseball and also enjoyed the Kentucky Derby. Above all else, his many grandchildren were his greatest treasure! John loved to attend their many special events over the years. Each and every one of them were special in his eyes. There is no doubt that John’s quiet presence and unconditional love will be deeply missed. He modeled a lifetime of giving selflessly of himself and creating the very best of memories to be shared for generations to come.

John M. Monks, age 88, of Portage, Michigan passed away February 17, 2020. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Dorothy and his brother, Patrick Monks. John served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He is survived by his children, David (Laine) Monks of South Haven, Susan Day of Portage, Linda (Shane Vandenberg) Thomas of Wayland, Sara (Ryan) McDonald of Surprise, AZ; grandchildren, Devin (Elizabeth) Doran, Andrew Monks, Kelsey Monks, Kegan Thomas, Aaron Day, Kevin Day; and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Karen Monks, Chandler, AZ, Barbara (Rodger) Anderson, Kathleen Ford, Marcia Ford all of Grand Rapids; and many nieces and nephews. Friends may visit with the family Friday, February 21, 2020, from 4-7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 10:30 AM at St. Thomas the Apostle, 1449 Wilcox Park Dr. SE. Interment will be in Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Queen of the Miraculous Medal Church, Jackson, MI. To leave a memory or condolence please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.