Friday, December 6, 2019
10:30 AM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
The service will be shown as a live stream on our Facebook page. Search Heritage Life Story Funeral Home on FB. The video will start by 10:20 AM EST.
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.
Heritage Reformed Congregation Food Pantry
540 Crescent Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Life Story / Obituary
Maria was born in Den Haag, Netherlands on June 14, 1930. She was the youngest of eight children. Her life was greatly impacted by World War II when the were forced to evacuate their home in Den Haag and relocated in Ermelo, a farming community. They had nice hosts who helped them love Ermelo where some of her family reside to this day. In 1954, she traveled to America with her mother and sister Jana. Maria had previously applied for immigration to the USA, so did not return back to the Netherlands. She stayed with family and developed a relationship with William VerWys, whom she subsequently married. Maria and William first lived in Hudsonville, where they survived a tornado while Maria was pregnant by pulling a couch over them because they had no basement. They moved to 32nd Street and had subsequent children. They moved to Leonard Street to a larger home that had a small orchard and plenty of room for a garden. They had a total of 9 children, the youngest 3 with special needs. Maria was a housewife who worked very hard raising her children, canning and freezing all the proceeds of the garden and orchard to feed her family.
Maria was known for her passion for knitting. She made many projects, which she donated to whomever had need. She knitted small little hats for the neonatal patients her daughter cared for at the hospital. She knitted blankets for all of her grandchildren. She knitted afghans and donated many to the mission where her son volunteered.
Maria was also known for her baking. She always baked butter cookies or almond bars for every family get together. She had the tradition of making pies every Thanksgiving, banket every Christmas and Oliebollen every Old Years Day. She never invited her family for Oliebollen, but it was assumed and expected that everyone would show up to eat them and exchange wishes for a Happy New Year. She taught her children and grandchildren to carry on these traditions.
Despite moving to America, Maria kept her Dutch traditions and style. Some of these traditions included decorating with Delfts Blue. She had many Dutch pictures and paintings that depicted life in the Netherlands, especially Ermelo farm life. She had numerous Delft Blue plates, vases and tiles that were scattered throughout her home. Her son-in-law even remodeled her condo kitchen to utilize these Dutch tiles. Another tradition was afternoon tea with your special china tea cup and special silver spoon because in the Netherlands, every person had their own special dishes and utensils that they used at mealtimes, coffee time and tea time. It was common to collect silver spoons from wherever you traveled. Maria and her sister Jana would always notice if each other’s silver spoons were polished properly as they were always displayed in a special spoon holder. Maria absolutely loved her Dutch psalms and organ music. She even taught herself to play notes on the organ so she could hear those psalms. In the final hours of her life, it was the Dutch psalms that soothed her. Maria was loved and will be sorely missed by her family and friends.
Maria N.VerWys, aged 89, passed away at home surrounded by her family on December 1, 2019. Maria was born in Den Haag, The Netherlands and immigrated to America in her young twenties. She was preceded in death by William VerWys and their children Julie, William, and Edward; two brothers and five sisters. She is survived by her children, Mary Beth and David Bleeker, John VerWys, Mark and Linda VerWys, Ellen and Terry Whaley, Kathleen and David Heyboer, and Sue VerWys. Her grandchildren are Lynae Bleeker, Drew and Nature Bleeker, Aaron and Melissa Bleeker, Liana and Daniel Rozeboom, Benjamin and Emily VerWys, Jonathon VerWys, Samuel VerWys, Stephanie and Ryan VanBeek, Wendy and Will Ingraham, Robert Heyboer, Maria Heyboer, Abigail Miramon, and thirteen great grandchildren. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews. One of her favorite hobbies was knitting; she lovingly donated her projects to many individuals in need. She also loved to volunteer at the church food bank and Cash For Trash.The funeral service will be held on Friday, December 6th at 10:30 am at the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, VanStrien-Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield NE with Dr. Joel R. Beeke of the Heritage Reformed Congregation officiating. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with the family at the funeral home on Thursday, December 5th from 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m. Interment will be at Fairplains Cemetery. For those who wish to make a memorial contribution, it can be made out to Heritage Reformed Congregation Food Pantry Fund.