Wednesday, July 8, 2020
4:00 PM to 5:30 PM EDT
700 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
5:30 PM EDT
700 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
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.
Youth for Christ program at Union High School c/o WMYFC
PO Box 2121
Holland, MI 49422
If giving online, under the donation amount, select from the pulldown menu "Union HS (Jon Blahnik)
Checks can be payable to WMYFC and include "Union" on the memo line. "Address envelope to West Michigan Youth for Christ" using the PO Box mailing address above
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can attest, Kay Groendyke understood how to live life to the fullest. She was a hard worker and was never afraid of a challenge. Family was very important to Kay, and becoming a mother as well as a grandmother were among her proudest moments. Dearly loved, Kay will be deeply missed.
Kay, being born the week of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, was welcomed into the world by her parents, Bert and Sadie Groenleer, on December 1, 1941.Growing up alongside her siblings, David and Phyllis, in the family home in Walker, Kay learned many valuable lessons that would serve her well throughout her life. Kay and David often got into mischief, but she also learned how to be tough and strong. She treasured her younger sister Phyllis and counted her among her greatest blessings throughout their adult years. She loved the outdoors, and in the winter, she liked to ice skate on nearby Gleason’s Pond. Kay enjoyed watching over her father’s shoulder as he fixed anything and everything. She developed an excellent mechanical mindset as a result of working with her dad. Kay also learned how to sew from her mother, and she was involved in 4-H sewing. As a student, Kay attended local schools, including Walker Station Elementary and Union High School. It was during her education years that she began to build her strong work ethic, as she balanced school with her first job at Lincoln Dairy. The Groenleer’s were members of Calvary Church. Kay’s life-long faith in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, began as a young girl, while attending Calvary.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Kay when she found the love of her life. His name was James Groendyke, and they met at church. While they knew each other for several years, it took some time for their relationship to grow. In 1962, Kay and Jim were married at Highland Hills Baptist Church. The newlyweds celebrated their honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the Apache trailer they purchased with the pennies they had collected while dating. Kay and Jim lived on Alger Street for seven years, but in June of 1970, they moved into their new house on Brownwood Ave NW, which their family would call home for the rest of Kay’s life. The Groendyke family also expanded to include their two daughters, Keri and Kristi.
Kay graduated from Grand Rapids Junior College Nursing Program. She worked at Butterworth Hospital for most of her career, first in men’s surgical, then med-surg. As a mother to her young children, she worked part time. Kay was valued and respected at work for her caring ways, her extensive knowledge, and her rock-solid work ethic.
Her family was always Kay’s greatest calling, and she was intentionally supportive of her children in all ways including education, sporting activities, school projects, church involvement and everything in between. She was very organized and liked to keep everything in its place. Kay’s use of creative and mechanical skills was inventive. She also enjoyed baking, and her homemade rolls were always a prized treat and often fought over by family on holidays. The Groendyke family loved to travel and go camping, and they took many trips outside of Michigan that combined nature and the outdoors with history. For decades, they spent each summer at Oxbow Park on the Muskegon River with their extended family. Kay loved to be behind the wheel of her boat, and often spent the entire day teaching beginners and pulling anyone who wanted to ski, kneeboard, or tube. Best days of her life!!!
Never one to sit still, Kay spent her free time on many different hobbies. She thrived outside through all four seasons by working in the yard, fixing things up, or shoveling snow in the winter. She was passionate about both downhill and cross-country skiing. Kay had an incredible knowledge of cars, and she could identify almost any vehicle and its engine specs. Her 1972 Grand Torino Sport and her Mazda RX7 were among her favorites. Kay kept a tool box in her vehicles and was often called upon to fix things for others, including bikes for her grandchildren. She also designed and built an entire deck in her backyard for their hot tub, and it lasted for 38 years because she did it right.
Becoming a grandmother brought her so much joy, and she was very involved in her grandchildren’s lives. Kay invested in each of them, and enjoyed supporting them in their music and sports and even attended several elementary field trips. As her grandchildren began to date and even marry, she fully embraced their spouses and deeply loved and cherished each addition to her family. Kay focused on the best in all of us and didn’t hesitate to share compliments on the special gifts and talents she saw. She and Jim were also involved in ministry at their church where they served as youth sponsors for middle schoolers for many years. Kay has held a special place in her heart for several of these students into their adult years.
Kay was a woman of many values. She could be characterized by her deep abiding faith and was a fervent prayer warrior. She was quietly generous and humble. Kay encouraged her family and friends whenever she could and she always put the needs of others above her own. Despite multiple diagnoses, she refused to let them slow her down, and she continued to live a full life for over thirty years after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1988. Cancer followed only a few years ago, but Kay fought it with the same determination that she applied in every area of her life. Even until the end, she remained independent and strong, and she liked to be surrounded with those she loved. Kay leaves behind a priceless legacy of love and strength that will be remembered by all who knew her.
Kay Ellen Groendyke, age 78, of Grand Rapids, was welcomed into the outstretched arms of Jesus, her Savior, on June 23, 2020. Throughout her six-year battle with multiple cancers, Kay remained encouraging, selfless, and gracious to all those around her. Kay is survived by her husband of nearly 58 years, James L.; their children Keri & Brian Spangenberg, Kristi & Ronald Mercer; grandchildren Nathan & Courtney Spangenberg, Chad & Megan Spangenberg, Luke Spangenberg, Bryce Mercer, Amy & Tyden Ferris; brother David & Judith Groenleer; sister Phyllis & Douglas VanderMoore; sister-in-law Kay DeVries; as well as several very special nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Bert and Sadie Groenleer. A private graveside service was held at Grandville Cemetery. A service to remember and celebrate Kay’s life will be held on Wednesday, July 8 at 5:30pm at Calvary Church, 700 East Beltline NE where friends are invited to visit with her family from 4:00 - 5:30. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to West Michigan Youth for Christ – Union High School are appreciated. To read more about Kay, to share a favorite memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com