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.
Love Your Neighbor
3300 Van Buren Street
Hudsonville, MI 49426
American Stroke Association
PO Box 840692
Dallas, TX 75284-0692
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
To know Kathy Doornbos was to know a person who brought a bright spark of light to the world around her. Optimistic and light-hearted, she modeled a genuine love for all people. A wonderful daughter, sister, and aunt, she was incredibly blessed with a beautiful family supporting her every step of the way. Sadly, she is gone too soon. Her rich collection of memories will be treasured by her special friends and family for generations to come.
Her story began in 1970, a time that was just as vibrant as she was! Music continued to make a significant impact with the Beatles still on the top of the charts and the nation on the edge of the Disco era. Amidst this exciting time, Katherine Lynn was born on November 22, 1970, in Big Rapids, Michigan. Joining her older sister, Tamila “Tammy”, and later followed by her younger brother, Rick, she lived a typical childhood of the times.
Growing up, she and her siblings attended local schools. Kathy was social from a young age and made friends easily at Crestwood Elementary. She later transferred to Baptist Academy and finished her schooling at Rockford High School. Her classmates loved her quick humor and she was known as a “Chatty Kathy”. Equally, her family found her to be hilarious around the house. Kathy was never afraid to state her opinion on a wide variety of topics and there was never a dull moment when she was around! Her natural leadership abilities were shown in her early years. Kathy enjoyed inviting friends over and from time to time hosted a group of neighborhood kids in the basement to do arts and crafts. Responsible and a good worker, she was always willing to help with dinner and clean up the kitchen afterward. Kathy truly was any parent’s dream!
As a family, they attended Calvary Church. Kathy loved taking mission trips in her early adolescent years including New York, Arizona and Haiti. She also sang in the youth choir. She made many lasting friendships during these years. She and her younger brother Rick also grew close. Kathy was studious and ambitious despite her Attention Deficit Disorder. Her diagnosis never stopped her from taking advanced math and foreign language courses. With a strong desire to work with the public, Kathy thrived in cosmetology school after graduation. She often juggled multiple jobs at a time and was very skilled at her craft. Her outgoing personality and ability to put others at ease suited her well during her ten-year career. Resourceful and determined she saved enough to purchase her own home with the intention of opening up an at-home salon. Only six months later, her dream came true! In addition to her career, Kathy loved adventure. She and her sister, Tammy backpacked throughout Europe. She also loved doting on her nieces and nephews. Kathy loved being an aunt and was always willing to spend time quality with each of them.
Sadly, her life took a drastic turn on September 19, 2002. Kathy suffered a massive brain stem stroke leaving her paralyzed from the forehead down. Just a few weeks earlier, she had been in the Emergency Room showing signs of a stroke but the doctors thought she was too young and ran some tests. Before the test results were back, her fate had changed. As a result of the stroke, she was left mute and suffered from locked-in syndrome. Unlikely to come off a ventilator, prayers went out throughout the world with connections from her church, business, and community. Hard to believe that her bubbly personality was limited to communication through blinking.
After seven weeks in the ICU, Kathy was discharged. The remaining months ahead meant countless hours of therapy to help her regain her strength. She was uplifted by her faith community and many friends and family who supported her through these tough times. The dedicated therapists and over forty volunteers worked with her getting her to the point where she could take nourishment and medication orally. Kathy’s resilience helped her learn how to communicate through devices. Through it all, she never lost her sense of humor.
With the support of remarkable staff, Kathy was able to regain some independence. She moved into into a home that was outfitted with all that she needed along with her around the clock care. Throughout the past few years of recovery, there have been many highs and lows with continued medical setbacks and struggles with communication. Kathy continued her fight and made tremendous improvements from her original prognosis. She was delighted to be able to take her first road trip in a van that was gifted to her to Chicago with staff. She later took trips to Florida, went on a cruise in the Caribbean, and visited Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, as well as her sister on a trip to Padre Island. Any trip took strategic planning and several caregivers to tag along. She was forever grateful for the opportunity to get away and look at new scenery. Kathy never took any of these trips for granted. She was also excited when she was able to navigate new technology and have the ability to go online. Soon, she found online shopping to be one of her new favorite hobbies. Thankful for her support network, Kathy was blessed to have her life return to some level of normalcy.
In 2017, Kathy moved to Florida where the warmer weather and sunshine were better suited for her health. Grateful for her family’s love and strength, she modeled for them a fierce warrior. She never let a single day go by without showing gratitude. Kathy left the world in peace at her Florida home. She leaves behind many special memories for her family to cherish. May they always remember the joy she brought into their lives and may her memories be eternal.
Katherine Lynn Doornbos entered her heavenly home on August 23, 2023. Katherine spent most of her life in Grand Rapids, Michigan before moving to Bonita Springs, Florida. She is survived by her parents, Shirley Doornbos and Carl (Bonnie) Doornbos. Sister, Tamila Plastow and her five children, Niece, Ashlyn Plastow Miller (Ryan), and their three children, Daniel, Silas, and a baby girl due in October. Nephew, Alex Plastow, Niece, Natalie Plastow, Niece, Heather Plastow, and Nephew, David Plastow. Brother, Richard (Aurelie)Doornbos, and Nephew, Caden Doornbos, and Nephew, Carson Doornbos. Aunts and Uncles, Roy (Anita) Rogers, David (Donnette) Rogers, Helen (William) Rowel, John Rogers, and Harry (Virginia) Rogers. A service to remember Katherine will be held on Friday, September 2, 2022, at 1:30 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Friends are invited to visit with her family beginning at 12 Noon. Interment to follow in Plainfield Township Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions can be made to Love Your Neighbor, Hudsonville Michigan, or the American Stroke Association.