Monday, March 14, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
West Leonard Christian Reformed Church
1053 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Friends may visit with Lil's family at the church beginning at 10 AM.
Monday, March 14, 2022
2:00 PM EDT
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.
Edison Christian Living Center
1000 Edison Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A humble servant, Lydia "Lil" Adriana Tacoma lived a life rich in faith and family. Preferring to quietly work behind the scenes, Lil found great joy in supporting others. Whether opening her home to family, foster children and guests, volunteering at church, the local elementary schools and most recently at the Bibles for Missions Thrift Store, or sending her handmade cards, Lil found purpose in investing in the lives of others. Lil embodied the principles of her faith, and in doing so, proved to be a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know her. A beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend, Lil will long be remembered and very missed.
Lil was the youngest of five children to join the family of Dutch immigrants, Theodore and Jenny (Knoppert) VanDiggelen. Lil spent her childhood in Des Plaines, Illinois, which at the time was a rural area. Her children were surprised to learn that she spent the first few years of her life without indoor plumbing. Lil's father worked as a landscaper while her mother took in laundry and did some housekeeping for others in addition to raising her family. Lil remembered that her first job as a young girl was selling eggs. She was raised in the Des Plaines Christian Reformed Church and remembered aunts and uncles gathering around the kitchen table for coffee after the Sunday morning service. A time rich with memories for her was when she accompanied her mother on the long voyage to visit extended family in the Netherlands at the age of sixteen.
Lil graduated from high school in 1952. Following graduation, she was employed at a local dime store for a short while and then moved to Cutlerville, Michigan, to attend nurses training at Pine Rest Christian Hospital. Through friendships made there she was set up on a blind date and met a handsome young man. After a short courtship they were married on April 12, 1957, in Des Plaines, Illinois, and Lil became Mrs. Donald Tacoma.
The newlyweds rented their first small apartment in Cutlerville, which they shared with another couple, using a large curtain to divide the living space! Don was employed by Highland Chrysler Plymouth and Lil enjoyed her work at Pine Rest. Their faith proved to be the cornerstone of their relationship and they attended East Cutlerville Christian Reformed Church together. As members of the church, they met several other young couples who would become lifelong friends, fondly known as "The Gang."
Shortly after the birth of their first child the couple bought a two family home on Crosby Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan, living on the ground level while renting out the upstairs. Lil dedicated herself to caring for her family. Don and Lil were blessed with three more children. As the family grew they needed more room and moved to a house on Arianna Street, directly behind the duplex. The move was made easy, as many items could be boxed and carried through the back yards enlisting the children's help! Lil and Don maintained ownership of the Crosby property, rented out both units and created lasting friendships with many of their tenants.
Many wonderful memories were made with "The Gang." The families rented cottages together in the summer and celebrated holiday gatherings at John Ball Park and Zoo. Many bonds also were nurtured in the extended families as Don and Lil made regular trips with their children to spend time with relatives in Illinois and in different areas of Michigan. In 1977, Don and Lil built their A-frame cottage in Falmouth, Michigan. This quickly became a place of special memories for the family and their guests.
Lil served well in her role as a homemaker. She raised her children using her gifts of wisdom and common sense. Once her kids were in grade school Lil and Don expanded their family by opening their home to foster children. Lil welcomed these children with her whole heart, giving them the same love and support she gave her own children. Over the years nearly a dozen children found a safe harbor in her heart and home.
Faith continued to be the foundation of Lil's life. The family joined West Leonard Christian Reformed Church and gathered back at home for dinner afterward for many years as the children married and had their own children. Throughout her life Lil was very involved in her church. She enjoyed teaching Sunday School to preschoolers. She used visual aids such as flannel boards to teach the Bible stories but always referenced the open Bible on her lap so the children knew she was sharing God's Word. For many years, with the assistance of her good friend Jo, Lil also taught Biblical truths to preschoolers while their moms attended the church's Tuesday morning Bible Study.
Without a doubt, Lil's heart's delight was her family. She mindfully created a family legacy of love. Her grandchildren were a special joy, and she treasured spending time with them. Whether playing games, reading, or gathering at the A-frame, Lil ensured that everyone was well cared for. She spent hours making it easy for her children and grandchildren to escape to their "Up North" sanctuary. She made the many beds, shopped for groceries, and planned meals, enjoying every moment of having the family together. Over the years as her children grew older they discovered what a quick sense of humor their mother had. Looking at photos and hearing stories from Lil's friends, it was apparent that she always did have a very fun side.
Sadly, Don passed away in 1999. Despite the challenges of living alone and missing her life partner Lil contentedly remained in her home for many years. She had never learned to drive and walked most places even before Don's passing. Not having a driver's license turned out to actually be a blessing as people continued to seek her out, offering her rides to and from places and events , and when the weather was not good for walking. Though she didn't want to inconvenience others, she learned to welcome these kindnesses. She continued to reach out to others in her volunteer work and in sending her handmade cards. She also continued to enjoy occasional travel with the couples from "The Gang" and other friends.
Several years ago, Lil moved to Edison Christian Independent Living. While there she deepened previous friendships and also made new friends with residents and staff. She cherished visits with her family and was especially grateful to be able to develop loving relationships with her great-grandchildren. In May of 2021, as she needed some assistance after experiencing a health setback, she moved to Edison Christian Assisted Living. While she struggled with feeling like she was a bother when she needed help, she was never made to feel that way. The staff at Edison Assisted Living embraced her and tenderly cared for her there and she grew to love them. She enjoyed joking with them and often found ways to lighten the mood.
Lil's confidence and comfort came from her trust in her Savior. As we mourn our loss, we are left knowing that this same Savior is available to all of us. He comforts us with many beautiful memories of our time with Lil. We can also find comfort in carrying her legacy of loving others forward. Whenever we welcome guests into our homes, send a special card, share our faith, or use our own unique gifts and talents, we celebrate the many ways Lil made a difference in her world. In this way, we keep her servant spirit alive and inspire others as she so inspired us.
Lydia "Lil" (VanDiggelen) Tacoma, age 87, of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on February 24, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald; sister Jeanette VanDiggelen; and brothers Carl, Mitchell, and John VanDiggelen. Lil is survived by her children Darlene & Rick DeMarr, David & Laura Tacoma, Linda Gritter, Judy & John Christian; her grandchildren Erin & Adam Hiske, Kyle & Hailey DeMarr, Jacob & Hannah Tacoma, Jessica & Ted Boomgaard, Sarah & Drew Jansheski, Stephanie & Bryan Dick, Courtney & Grant Bolkema, Amber Gritter, Travis & Abby Christian, Troy Christian, Elizabeth Christian; 22 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law Eileen VanDiggelen, Marion VanDiggelen, Jean Tacoma, Dorothy & Henry Schierbeek, Ardythe Ouwinga; and many nieces and nephews.
The service to remember and celebrate Lil's life will be held on Monday, March 14 at 11 AM at West Leonard Christian Reformed Church, 1053 Leonard Street NW. Friends are invited to visit with her family on Sunday, March 13, from 2-5 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW, and at the church on Monday beginning at 10 AM. Interment to follow in Greenwood Cemetery.
For those who wish, memorial contributions to Edison Christian Living Center or Faith Hospice are appreciated. To read more about Lil, to share a memory, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com