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Life Story / Obituary
Joyce Holtrop was a beautiful person to know and to love. An exceptional wife, mother, and grandmother, she relished in bringing joy to the hearts of the ones she loved. A lover of all people, she treated each and every person she met with kindness. Joyce lived her life to the fullest. Although she will be deeply missed, she leaves behind a wonderful legacy. She will forever be known for her optimistic outlook on life and her compassion for all people.
Reflecting on the 1920s, radio stations were growing in popularity throughout the United States, and the media was focused on jazz music and celebrities. On November 5, 1927, John and Delia (Kuieck) Niewyk welcomed home their own special star, their newborn daughter, Joyce Clarice, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born an only child, her birth brought great joy into their hearts and home.
Growing up on the northwest side of town, Joyce lived a typical childhood of the times. Her father worked for General Motors and her mother was a homemaker. Family trips were often road trips by car traveling to many states throughout the United States including special highlights to the Smoky Mountains and the state of Oregon. Holidays were celebrated with their large extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins where there was plenty of food and fun! As a young child she enjoyed roller skating and spending time at the family cottage on Lake Michigan. Joyce was studious and enjoyed taking piano lessons and learning how to bake during her developing years. Raised with a strong foundation of faith, she attended Calvary Church with her family regularly and was a proud graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of Carlyle (Casey) Holtrop. The two of them attended the youth group at Seventh Reformed Church where they became friends. Once while Joyce was waiting for the bus at the intersection of Leonard and Fremont, Casey spotted her and pulled over to ask if she needed a ride. At the end of the ride, he then asked her to come to church with him and she accepted. After dating for two years, they joined in marriage on September 29, 1950 at the Seventh Reformed Church. They eventually settled into a home that Casey had built for them on Walker Avenue and welcomed home two loving children; Heidi and Carrie.
As a mother, Joyce was very devoted to her children. She stayed home with them when they were young and instilled in them strong values. Each and every summer, they enjoyed a week-long vacation as a family making the best of memories. She worked alongside her husband Casey who was an avid builder. With every home he built, Joyce would pick out the finishing touches and get it ready for the market. This role was a perfect balance for her between raising the children and supporting the family income. They partnered well together and were successful. When the children were grown, Joyce returned to the workforce as a receptionist at the Radiology Department at Butterworth Hospital. Despite their busy lives, she and Casey raised their daughters in the church which was especially important to them. They worked hard to provide the very best for their daughters and were immensely proud of them.
Joyce held a wide variety of special interests. A faithful servant, she loved volunteering at the church with Sunday school and many of the special church events. An excellent cook, Joyce enjoyed many years hosting during the holidays and making special meals for her family. When it came to dinners out, she preferred her favorite places such as Mr. Burger, Russ’, and Van’s Pastry. After retirement, she and Casey fulfilled their dreams of travel. They enjoyed taking the motorhome to different campgrounds but especially loved the state park in Pentwater. After getting their feet wet exploring Nova Scotia, they planned their dream vacation to Hawaii. Joyce and Casey talked of this trip for many years later. When their health began to decline, they decided to sell their retirement home and settle into Covenant Village of the Great Lakes. Social and outgoing, Joyce made many dear friendships there.
When Casey passed in 2008, Joyce dearly missed her sweetheart. She continued on leaning on her faith and many close friends and family to see her through. Described her as loving, God-fearing, and generous beyond measure, Joyce will be deeply missed by her special friends and loved ones. May they always remember her loving personality and may they feel her warm presence surrounding them and bringing them comfort in the years ahead.
Joyce Clarice Holtrop, age 93, of Grand Rapids, departed this life on May 3, 2021 to be with her Lord Jesus Christ. She was born in Grand Rapids in November of 1927 to the late John and Delia Niewyk. Along with her parents she was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 58 years, Carlyle (Casey) Holtrop who passed away in 2008 and by her great-grandson Isaiah Patterson. Surviving are her two daughters, Heidi (Charles Hughes) May, Carrie Griffin, four grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Joyce was a resident at Covenant Village where she enjoyed fellowship with many friends. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 12 PM at the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt-Shawmut Chapel (2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504). Friends may visit with family prior to the service beginning at 11:00 AM. Joyce will be laid to rest next to Casey in Rosedale Memorial Park Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions to the Covenant Village of the Great Lakes Benevolent Fund would be appreciated. To to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com