Life Story / Obituary
Progressive and spunky beyond her generation, Lorraine Ann (Dent) Vandenbergh believed in family and service, God and baseball. She knew what was important such as acting like a fool, indulging in sweets, and milking the most out of life. She showed strength through gentle touch, and guidance often through silence. Tireless, hard-working, and a frequent volunteer, her wit and spark, determination and kindness, and devotion to family will live on in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for as long as green Jello exists.
Lorraine was born on April 4, 1930, during the depression. Growing up in West Michigan during the 30s and 40s, Lorraine enjoyed the comforts of a close-knit family. While her father provided for the family through his work as a mail carrier, Lorraine’s mother was a homemaker. The youngest of the Dents’ three daughters, Lorraine was very close to her older sisters Vivian and Phyllis. From her earliest years, Lorraine’s love of the outdoors and dancing were abundantly clear. Many wonderful memories were made dancing with friends and hiking her favorite trails at Ludington State Park. She also loved bicycling, playing cards, and ice/roller skating. During her teen years, she was a competitive diver for Creston High School. Active members of the Plainfield Avenue Methodist Church, the family’s faith was always the center of their home.
Naturally creative, Lorraine was also a gifted pianist and symphonic singer. Her faith was the firm foundation upon which she lived each of her days, and she loved expressing her love for God by singing in church choirs. She also performed for ten years with the Grand Rapids Symphonic Choir. While she enjoyed country painting, sewing, and crocheting, she was a voracious knitter. Many family members, babies, and friends were gifted her lovingly created afghans and sweaters.
With a servant’s heart, Lorraine was always quick to volunteer her energies and talents. She was a Girl Scout leader for many years, providing a wonderful role model for many young girls in the community. She was a 20-year volunteer at Blandford Nature Center and also poured her heart into the work of Love INC.
On April 29, 1948, Lorraine married the love of her life, Arthur Vandenbergh. Together the couple created a loving home in Grand Rapids where they were blessed to raise their four children; Cindy, Keith, Wayne, and Valerie. Lorraine relished in motherhood and embraced her role as a vocation. The foundation of her parenting was supporting her children’s faith and encouraging each of their endeavors. While Arthur worked in the lumber business, Lorraine poured her heart into the home where hard work and vigorous play were valued equally. Though she worked several jobs outside the home over the years, her true passion and favorite job was Motherhood.
Lorraine easily found wonder and satisfaction in the simple joys of life. Camping with her family at Morgan Mills and traveling in the U.P. afforded many wonderful memories, just as every hike at Ludington State Park continued to fill her soul. She enjoyed Classical music and curling up with the lengthy, fictional family sagas of James A. Michener and other authors. Her spoon collection held many sweet stories, and she loved puzzling. A master of the kitchen, Lorraine excelled at comfort foods. Her roasts were unrivaled, and her pies and cookies were infused with love.
Without a doubt, family was Lorraine’s greatest joy. Though she and her sisters lived far apart as adults, their close bond remained, and they got together as often as possible. For 46 years, she enjoyed the gift of her life journey with Art. Whether navigating parenting, exploring their faith, taking a cruise, becoming grandparents, or walking the shores of Lake Michigan, every day was better for sharing it in one another’s good company. Lorraine lovingly cared for Art and afforded him deep comfort during his cancer journey; she was unwaveringly at his side until his final breath on June 7, 1994.
After Art’s death, Lorraine traveled several times to Europe with her children. Her greatest adventure was traveling to Coventry, England with her two sisters to visit their distant cousin. With the comfort of her children, grandchildren, friends, and church community, Lorraine moved through her grief with grace and dignity. With signature passion for life, she found much happiness in sharing time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, playing cards or puzzling.
A woman who always naturally embodied the principles of her faith, Lorraine was heart-centered, gracious, open-minded, forgiving, joyful, and loving. She embraced each moment as a gift and each person as a treasure. In so being, she was a powerful role model of how to live a full and happy life. While it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Lorraine’s bright light, may it afford deep comfort to know that her legacy lives on in the hearts and lives of those she loved. With each hike we take, moment we wrap up in one of her afghans, warm welcome we extend to another, sweet we indulge in, and belly laugh we share, we celebrate the many gifts Lorraine so generously shared with us. In so doing, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Lorraine Ann (Dent) Vandenbergh age 89, formerly of Grand Rapids, entered heaven, and the arms of her beloved Art, from Ludington, the land she loved to visit as a child, on June 1, 2019.
Lorraine was preceded in death by her husband of forty-six years, Arthur Vandenbergh. She is survived by her two sisters, Vivian Niblick and Phyllis Schultz; her children, Cindy (LaVail) Hull, Keith (Elane), Wayne (Janet), and Valerie Neumann; her grandchildren, Sarah Mulder, Nathan and David Hull, Orien Vandenbergh, Teresa Kovas, Jacob Vandenbergh, and Heaven Marculis; and eight great-grandchildren.
The funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW Grand Rapids, MI. Visitation will be held from 9:00 AM until the time of the service at 11:00 am. Interment in Fairplains Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Blandford Nature Center. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Lorraine’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook online.