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.
401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Grand Rapids Home for Veterans
2950 Monroe Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Loving and supportive, Leatrice "Lee" May (Lemon) DeVries lived a life rich in faith and family. Lee was easygoing and had a gentle grace that helped others feel at home in her company. Never one to be bossy, Lee embodied her morals and values, inspiring others by example and always lending a hand in service where she could. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Lee was cherished by all who were blessed to know her.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1931 beheld a power of hope that undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in Pontiac, Illinois, as Oscar and Flora (Bookwalter) Lemon welcomed their youngest daughter, Lee, into their hearts and home on October 2.
The second youngest of eight, Lee's childhood was filled with activity. Along with her four sisters, Laura, Beatrice, Emma, Helen, and three brothers, Oscar, Norman, and James, she also had a lot of neighborhood friends. The family lived near four parks, where much time was spent playing games of tag, baseball, and tennis, roller skating, and sledding and skiing on the hills in winter. Lee's father worked as a night watchman and chief of police for the City of Allegan, and her mother was a homemaker.
During the second world war, Lee helped local farmers with their crops. During high school, Lee participated in choir and school play. She enjoyed school and attending basketball games. She worked at a local dime store and attended Junior and Senior Prom before proudly graduating from Allegan High School with the class of 1950.
After dating for two years, in March of 1958, Lee married Norman DeVries at German Lutheran Church. Instead of taking a honeymoon trip, the newlyweds chose to invest their savings in furnishing their home at 314 8th Street. In time, Lee and Norman were blessed to welcome three children to their family. Douglas, Jerry, and Sherry were the centers of Lee's world. While Norman worked for Monical Machinery Company, Lee concentrated on creating a loving and supportive home for her family.
Family life centered around mealtime, often dining on the garden's bounty that Lee had canned. On Sundays, she always made a baked treat, typically a pie or cookies; her cookies usually had a surprise inside. She was a "creative" cook whose pork chops, roasts, baked chicken, pizza, macaroni & cheese, and goulash were the stuff of legend.
Many wonderful family memories were made by attending different county fairs and spending time at a cottage on Indian Lake. At the lake, they enjoyed having time away from home and spent fishing, bicycling, and shopping. Lee always prioritized visits with the extended family, organizing and hosting regular large get-togethers. Sadly, Norman died on July 13, 1984, after a stroke and cancer.
Despite life's hardships, Lee faced each day with unwavering faith, gratitude, and a willingness to give of herself. For 37 years, she dedicated herself to her work with Smith Industries, where he strong work ethic shined and inspired. Lee was also a lifelong member of VFW 830 and past president of the ladies' auxiliary. She proudly participated in Memorial Day parades and was also a member of American Legion Post 179 and Moose Club #763.
Lee was gifted another chance at love and married Peter Kort on October 19, 1991, at St Anthony of Padua Church, where Lee was a longtime member. They enjoyed color tours and long drives, sharing the splendor in one another's good company. Home life was always centered on family, church, and friends. Unfortunately, Peter died of colon cancer on October 13, 2002.
A steadfast comfort to those she loved, Lee was always available to listen to, cheer on, and share time with her family. She found joy in the simple things, like listening to classical and country music, reading, and working puzzles. She collected old records and enjoyed playing them on her stereo turn table. Quieter times found her enjoying working puzzles, collecting recipes, and completing word puzzles. A book club member, she loved mysteries and enjoyed reading all kinds of things, including newspapers and magazines.
While Lee enjoyed many things, her greatest joy was her family. She especially loved spending time with her grandsons and created the tradition of hosting two at a time at the cottage. There, they spent long days fishing and having fun with the creative activities Lee provided. As with her children, Lee wanted the best for her grandchildren, and she went out of her way to ensure their good care. There was never a doubt that they were her heart's delight, and she would always cheer on their hopes and dreams.
Lee lived each day to the fullest. Whether casting a line, baking cookies, playing a game, or watching the sunset, Lee confidently met life's challenges and was grateful for its gifts. She was a woman of faith who showed each of us in every moment how to live wholehearted lives devoted to sowing faith, hope, and love. Her beautiful life and legacy will certainly be carried forward in the lives of those she so dearly loved.
Leatrice M. DeVries of Grand Rapids completed her life's journey from October 2, 1931, to final destiny on March 1, 2023. Lee was preceded in death by her parents, Oscar and Flora (Bookwalter) Lemon; husbands, Norman DeVries and Peter Kort; 4 sisters and 3 brothers. Lee is survived by her children, Douglas (Sue) DeVries, Jerry DeVries, and Sherry (Jeff) Wierzbicki; grandchildren, Alan (Berenice) Wierzbicki, Christopher (Natalie) Wierzbicki, Jonathan (Celeste) Wierzbicki, Michael Wierzbicki; great-grandchildren, Isabella, Lucas, Dominic, Declan, Tessa, Makenna, Liam, Blake; and many nieces and nephews.
According to her wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial gathering is scheduled for Monday, March 20, 2023, from 5-7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. A service will be held at 7 PM. Inurnment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Emmanuel Hospice or Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. To read more of Lee's life story or to leave a memory or condolence, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.