Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Joyce Elaine Holwerda

May 24, 1939 - July 1, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI



Saturday, July 20, 2019
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
First United Methodist Church
227 East. Fulton St.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 451-2879
Web Site


Saturday, July 20, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
First United Methodist Church
227 East Fulton St.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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.

ALS of Michigan
24359 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 100
Southfield, MI 48075
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


It was a blessing to know and love Joyce Holwerda. To all she encountered, Joyce’s positive nature, happy spirit and welcoming smile shown bright. Ever nurturing and loving, she filled the lives of those around her with unending joy from her earliest beginnings. Born in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 24, 1939, Joyce Elaine’s story began at a time when Americans were beginning to hope again as the U.S. started to slowly emerge from the Great Depression. The younger of two children, Joyce was the daughter of Russell and Marion (Long) Anderberg. She grew up with Marilyn, her older sister, in their family home on Pleasant Street NE.

Although World War II was news of the day during Joyce’s youth, she enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation. As a young girl she enjoyed spending the summer with her many friends visiting Grand Haven. So many fond memories filled Joyce’s heart of these carefree days over the years. Her father was a chemical engineer and worked for an insurance company, and her mother was a busy homemaker and school teacher.

Joyce attended the local elementary school and graduated from Creston High School in 1957 where she was a friend of many. She went on to further her education by attending Western Michigan University for a year. While in high school, Joyce met Donald Groters. They soon became high school sweethearts and were married on October 28, 1959 at First United Methodist Church where Joyce came to be a longtime member. They made their home in Comstock Park at 4716 Foxcroft Ct. where they began a family of their own. In 1961 they welcomed the birth of Charles, followed by Donald in 1963. Daughter, Karen completed their family in 1965. To support their growing household, Joyce’s husband worked for Sennett Steel. As a family they made wonderful memories camping in Michigan and at one point they even embarked on a hiking expedition at Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Although their marriage ended in divorce in 1976, they spent 17 years together raising their wonderful children.

Joyce enjoyed to sew and was a talented quilt maker. She was also active at church, and loved making prayer quilts. She enjoyed social activities such as bridge club, and even tried her hand at selling Tupperware and makeup. She eventually began working at National Cash Register (NCR). It was there where Joyce met a co-worker and the gentleman who would soon sweep her off her feet, Matthew Holwerda. Before long the two began dating, fell deeply in love and were happily joined in marriage on June 27, 1986.

Joyce loved nothing more than having her family over for the holidays and for Sunday dinners. Joyce loved her grandchildren and loved the time spent with them. In 1995, Joyce sold her home and together she and Matt purchased a motor home. For the next two years they traveled across the country and for 20 years they wintered in New Port Richey, Florida. They enjoyed many friendships in Florida where they were very active in a kazoo club and her love for water aerobics. It didn’t take much to make Joyce happy. She loved listening to the radio and loved watching Tigers Baseball and home improvement shows.

Eventually, Joyce and her husband bought a condo in Sparta, Michigan, remaining there until May 2018 when they moved to Covenant Living of the Great Lakes. Having already known many who lived there, Joyce made many new friends. Soon after their move to Covenant, Joyce’s husband was moved into the Memory Care Center as Joyce’s health was having its own challenges. Sadly, following a two year battle, Joyce’s fight with ALS was over when on Monday, July 1, 2019, Joyce passed away very unexpectedly in her sleep.

Described as a loving, caring, and positive, woman, Joyce Holwerda found no greater joy than being surrounded by those she loved and adored. Although deeply missed, she will be lovingly remembered as a treasure in the hearts of all.

Joyce Elaine Holwerda, aged 80 of Grand Rapids, passed away unexpectedly at her home on July 1, 2019. She is survived by her husband of 33 years, Matthew Holwerda; children, Charles (Rhena) Groters, Donald (Becky) Groters, Karen (Greg) Colon; seven grand-children and one great-grandchild; sister, Marilyn Moore; many in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends. Joyce was a loving and caring, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and a friend to all who knew her. Cremation has taken place. A service to celebrate her life will be held Saturday, July 20th at 11:00 am at First United Methodist Church 227 E. Fulton St. Grand Rapids. Entombment in Rosedale Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the church on Saturday, July 20, from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. Contributions in her memory may be made to the ALS Foundation. To read more about Joyce’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, please visit her web page at heritage@lifestory.com.