Monday, October 30, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Visitation from 10 AM until the start of the service.
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Leonora Rypma (Meeter), AGE 95, went to be with her Lord on October 25, 2023. Born spring of 1928, to Peter and Grace Meeter, she grew up as a middle child in an Indiana family of nine children. Taught
early on to depend on the Bible to navigate the ups and downs of life on earth, Leonora found she
needed her faith. Part of a large and loving family struggling during the Great Depression, she was only seven when her father died in a tragic car/train accident.
Nonetheless, throughout her childhood she accumulated many happy memories, including watching her mother baking bread, visiting her grandma and grandpa, sharing a bed with two sisters, and roller skating with friends and siblings.
After leaving the Christian school in the tenth grade to help her mother financially, Leonora got her first
full-time job serving diners at a truck stop/bus depot in Lansing, Illinois. She also worked at a dry cleaner near her home in Hammond, Indiana before enrolling at Pine Rest Hospital’s nursing school in Cutlerville, Michigan.
It was in Michigan that Leonora met a young Grand Rapids man who would change her life: Edward R. Rypma, Jr. In June of 1952, the two married in Indiana but then returned to Michigan while Ed completed basic training in the Army. When Ed shipped out to Korea, Leonora lived in Battle Creek and found another waitressing job where she served people in a large dining room adjacent to Percy Jones Military Hospital.
After the war ended in 1953, Leonora and Ed bought a home in Wyoming, Michigan and joined Beverly Reformed Church. They remained married for 44 years, raising three daughters and one son. Being a homemaker (which included sewing clothing for her daughters and child-raising responsibilities) gave Leonora the full and happy life she always had dreamed of. Later Leonora took on part time jobs outside of the home. She cleaned offices at Velting Contractors and Associated Material & Supply Company for 20+ years. She also cleaned private homes, and in her 60s became a visiting Sunshine Lady to shut-ins.
In 1972, Leonora and Ed built a house in Hudsonville, Michigan, where she attended Hudsonville Reformed Church. She enjoyed decorating their new home and meeting her next-door neighbor and eventually best friend Eva Blair.
Family vacations were special for Leonora, as she spent countless hours planning for them. The family
enjoyed car trips that took them to the Appalachians, Yellowstone/Grand Canyon, Washington, DC, and many times to Indiana for family reunions. Leonora also took the train to Texas to visit her oldest daughter Judi, and twice took an extended trip to California to visit daughter Carol. After she retired, Leonora enjoyed many vacations to sunny Florida to visit her siblings.
Family holiday traditions also were happy times for Leonora. She liked “Black Friday” shopping excursions, holiday dinners with the entire family sitting around the table, and Christmas Eve candlelight services.
Leonora later moved into a condo In Grandville (where she joined Hope CRC) and lived there for 10
years, then spent another 10 years living at (Walker Meadows) a senior-living complex. Leonora always looked forward to visits from not only her children, but grandchildren and great grandchildren. She spent many years babysitting her older grandchildren, and was able to forge a strong relationship with them during the process.
In addition to her parents, Leonora was preceded in death by siblings Marion & John DenHartog, Sylvester “Bud” & Marge Meeter, Jacob & Ann Meeter, Anna Meeter, and Tunis & Peternell Kooy, as well as former husband Edward Rypma. She leaves behind her children Judith Rypma, Carol (late Kent) Spoolstra, Cathy (late George Peter) Clelland, and Dan & Christine Rypma, as well as eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She also is survived by siblings Raymond (late Edna) Meeter, Viola (late Pete) Debok, and Gladys (late John) Raymond, plus many nieces and nephews.
Special thanks to the staffs of Yorkshire Manor, Edison Christian Life Services, and Faith Hospice for taking such wonderful care of Leonora in her final years.
Visitation will take place Sunday, October 29, 2023, 5:00 to 8:00 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt Shawmut Chapel, (2120 Lake Michigan Drive, GR, MI 49504) and on Monday, October 30, 2023, beginning at 10:00 AM. The funeral service will also be held at the funeral home on Monday at 11:00 AM. Leonora will be laid to rest in Blaine Cemetery in Gaines Township.
For those that wish, in lieu of flowers, please send a memorial donation in Leonora’s name to Faith Hospice. (faithhospicecare.org at 8214 Pfeiffer Farms Dr. SW Byron Center, MI 49315)
To share a favorite memory of Leonora and to sign her online guest book, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.