Private Family Funeral
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
1:00 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.
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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Margaretha Johanna deWit, it easy to see her unwavering faith and her unconditional love for her family. She worked hard in all things, but even in the midst of that hard work she fully embraced the beauty that every day brought. Margaretha loved nothing more than being surrounded by the family she treasured, and she was so proud to witness her family tree blossom to include so many branches. Although she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, she did so with grace and compassion. Deeply loved, Margaretha will be forever missed.
As the Great Depression held the United States firmly in its grip throughout the 1930s, it was in 1931 that the mass unemployment began in the Netherlands. Despite the challenges they faced, Hendrik and Adrianna Katya van Luyk deKort couldn’t contain their joy as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Margaretha Johanna on April 14, 1931, in Hazerswoude, Netherlands. Joined by her younger brother, Cornelius, her father supported their family as a grocery store owner in their village and also as a fireman, Her mother helped in the grocery store as well. Margaretha’s father was a courier for the underground during WWII. When his name appeared on the Nazi watchlist, his children took over this mission delivering documents hidden in their clothes. Margaretha attended local schools in Hazerswoude, and her best friend was Tiny deKort Marchand. In addition, her family were members of Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk in Hazerswoude.
Life was forever changed for Margaretha when she met the man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Aart deWit, and they met at a celebration when the Netherland was liberated. He worked for his family nursery in Boskoop in the Netherlands. In 1949, Aart immigrated to Ohio, and a year later Margaretha, along with her family, joined Aart there. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Margaretha and Aart were married on September 6, 1952. They spent two years in Ohio, and they also welcomed their first two children, Bernie and Nancy, there. They then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, when Aart had the opportunity to purchase some land West of the city with hopes of starting his own nursery and the possibility of his children attending a Christian school. Their family also grew to include seven more children, Shirley, Bruce, Bryan, Wendy, Holly, Ivy and Melody.
Aart and Margaretha made sure their children learned responsibility and the value of hard work as they all worked in the nursery. Aart would often bring work home with him – that is “clippings” that everyone sat on the floor making into cuttings and starters that could be planted to grow bushes and trees. Aart was so proud to follow in his family’s footsteps and have his children by his side as a part of the family business, which went on to be known as Lincoln Nurseries. Margaretha was first the homemaker of her very busy family, but she also worked at the nursery as well. There, she did everything from bookkeeping to keeping the field weed-free.
In her free time, there was nothing Margaretha loved more than helping others. She was a very talented knitter, and she used those skills to knit shawls for cancer patients, caps for newborn babies at area hospitals, and gloves, hats, scarves, mittens, and slippers for all. Margaretha’s greatest joy was her family, and she was thrilled to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother later in life. She treasured her time with these younger one, always attending as many soccer games, hockey games, and band or choir concerts as much as possible. Margaretha would often measure herself against the children to see if they were taller than she was back to back, having been short her entire life. She loved having tea parties and special pizza days with Margie. Margaretha was always hanging around the nursery, even after retirement. She enjoyed going to parades with her family, and she was honored to see Mike Pence at the recent Grandville parade. Margaretha’s faith remained an important influence on her life. She and her family attended Walker Christian Reformed Church, then Little Farms Chapel.
Throughout her life, Margaretha was one to keep busy, During their retirement years, Aart and Margaretha loved traveling around the world. Their trips took them all over the globe, including China, Russia, Japan, Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and several locations within the United States. When at home, Margaretha loved playing Dutch bingo. Her humorous methods of dealing with telephone solicitors and junk mail were the source of several laughing fits among the family. Backyard picnics, Sunday rides, and canoe trips down the Muskegon remain favorite memories of family and friends. Margaretha treasured her father’s medal of honor for his work with the underground during WWII, and it was her most cherished possession.
The rock of her family, Margaretha also made life so much more for her family. In later years, Aart’s health began to fail, eventually leading to dialysis treatments. Margaretha was his gentle caretaker at home for as long as possible. Aart was admitted to St. Ann’s Home, where he passed away on June 20, 2013. Margaretha remained in her home across the street from the nursery for several years before moving to Edison Assisted Living.
As her family and friends can attest, Margaretha Johanna deWit truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She treasured her family and friends above all else, and she never took a single moment with them for granted. Whether Margaretha was doing puzzles with her beloved great-grandchildren at the nursery or simply going on walks, she always considered time with her loved ones as time well spent. She worked tirelessly to serve others, and her family was honored to do the same for her when she could no longer care for herself on her own. Though she will be deeply missed, Margaretha leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
deWit (deKort) – Mrs. Margaretha Johanna deWit age 89, of Grand Rapids, went to be with her Lord and Savior on March 19, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband, Aart; son, Bryan deWit; grandson, Benjamin Ballast; and brother, Cornelius deKort; Margaretha is survived by her children, Bernie and Margie deWit, Nancy and George Werkema, Shirley and Bruce Bruin, Bruce and Denise deWit, Wendy and Jack Klunder, Holly and Marvin Ballast, Ivy and Doug Kuipers and Melody and Jody Flipse; daughter-in-law, Karyn deWit; 46 grandchildren; and 39 great grandchildren. Also surviving is her sisters-in-law, Joan deKort and Mary Mathias; and many nieces and nephews. Margaretha was the co-founder along with her husband of Lincoln Nurseries. She was also a member of Little Farms Chapel and active volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Ann’s Home. Contributions in her memory may be made to West Side Christian School. Private family service will be held with Rev. Bob VanManen officiating. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Margaretha’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the online guestbook.