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Life Story / Obituary
As his family and friends can surely attest, Lee Olivier lived a simple life. Though Lee was not a man of many words, he was consistent in his thoughts and actions. He treasured his family members and worked tirelessly to provide for them. Deeply loved, Lee will be forever missed.
The 1930s are often remembered as trying days in our nation as the Great Depression blanketed our great land and much of the world throughout this entire decade. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and a drought covered much of the nation. It was on November 3, 1934, that Morris and Marie (DeYoung) Olivier were pleased to announce the birth of their baby boy, whom they named Morris Lee in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Growing up, Lee was a typical young man of his generation in many ways. He was raised in the family home as the youngest of five children, a full 10 years younger than his closest older sibling. Lee grew up on the West side of Grand Rapids on Morgan Street and attended local schools, including West Side Christian School. It was around this time that he dropped his given first name, Morris, which was often associated with Morris the cat. From that point forward, he began going by Lee. Instead of continuing to pursue his education, Lee left high school to enter the workforce, forming the foundation of his solid work ethic. In his earlier days, Lee had a paper route and worked for the Printing Arts Company. He then worked at Byslma’s Dairy. Lee went on to work at Standard Gas Station on Lexington and Bridge Street before finding work at the Marathon station on 6th Street and Stocking.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Lee as he met the woman who would soon become his beloved wife. Her name was Marguerite DeVriendt “Maggie,” and the two first met while Lee was working at the Standard Gas Station. Lee and Maggie struck up a conversation, and they clicked instantly. He asked her out, and over the next couple of years their relationship continued to blossom. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Lee and Maggie were married in the presence of family and friends on August 8, 1964. The newlyweds then enjoyed a honeymoon to Mackinac Island before settling into an apartment for a brief period of time.
All who knew Lee can certainly agree that he treasured his family above all else. After moving from the apartment to a house on Veto NW, which would go on to become their longtime home, he and Maggie were overjoyed to welcome five beloved children into their hearts. Lee took his role as a father very seriously, and he truly stepped up to be a provider for his children, David, Michael, Jodie, Jennifer, and Kristy. He was a strict parent who knew just how he wanted things to run in the family. Later in life, Lee was thrilled to become a grandfather to Emily, Meaghan, Gavin, Jack, and Marie. He always considered himself blessed to watch his family tree grow to include so many members.
In order to provide for himself and his loved ones, Lee was always willing to work hard and truly thrived in caring for others. Just before his marriage to Maggie, he began working with the City of Grand Rapids. Over the years, Lee would work in the Forestry Department, caring for trees along the streets. He then moved to the street department, where he mostly did snowplowing and street maintenance. However, Lee’s favorite job was working as a refuse collector. He drove a small truck that allowed him to collect in alleys that big trucks couldn’t manage. Lee would also go out of his way to collect from the seniors who couldn’t get their bag all the way to the curb. He enjoyed serving others through his work. Later on, Lee worked in the Sign Shop before retiring and leaving a long and fulfilling career of service behind him.
Never one to sit still for long, Lee liked to stay busy in his free time. In his younger years, he was a volunteer firefighter for the City of Walker. When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed tinkering and puttering around in the garage or the yard. Lee spent a lot of his time tending to the yard, and he took good care of everything that he owned. After their children were grown, he and Maggie moved to a new home on Woodcrest. She was battling many health problems at the time. Lee would care for her and drive her around, and together they enjoyed spending as much time as they could with family and grandchildren. Maggie was the social one, and he would tag along. Lee was known for his sweet tooth, and he enjoyed eating ice cream each night. If the grandchildren were there, he would always make sure they had a treat of their own before sending them home. Lee and Maggie also liked to go out to eat, especially at the Depot in Marne, Pops, or Lannings. He never warmed up to new technology and didn’t usually engage with it unless he had to, much preferring a rotary dial on a microwave. Lee enjoyed listening to country music and watching late night television shows. He was also a frequent reader of The Grand Rapids Press. Lee often found jobs to keep himself occupied, including using his “grabber” to pick up litter around the block.
When Maggie’s care became too much for Lee to manage on his own, she moved to Edison Christian. He would spend every day with his wife until she passed away in 2014, truly testing his resilience and strength. Lee moved to Villa Maria apartments to start a new life, where he made many new friends. In recent months, he made another move to Lincoln Square.
When reflecting on the life of Lee Olivier, it is easy to see his unwavering strength and unconditional love for his family. He was known for his acts of service and willingness to provide for those he treasured. He will be dearly missed.
Lee Olivier, age 87 of Grand Rapids, passed away July 12, 2022. He was preceded in death by his wife, Maggie, in 2014. Lee is survived by their children David Olivier, Michael Olivier, Jodie (Lynn) Kingsbury, Jennifer (Ray) Cameron, Kristy Olivier; grandchildren Emily Olivier, Meaghan (Dan) Huff, Gavin Kingsbury and fiancé Avery Boyce, Jack Cameron and Marie Cameron; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law Arlene Olivier and Terry (Kathy) DeVriendt as well as nieces and nephews.
The service to remember and celebrate Lee’s life will be held on Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends are invited to visit with his family beginning at 5 PM. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers or a memorial donation, please pay it forward at an ice cream shop or Biggby. To read more about Lee, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com