Sunday, October 22, 2023
2:00 PM EDT
Westend Christian Refomed Church
1015 Westend Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Friends may visit with her family at church beginning at 1 PM.
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.
West Side Christian School
955 Westend Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Generous and kind, Marlyn "Mame" Katsma lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. Though reserved and serious, Mame never hesitated to give what she could to others and had a wonderful laugh. Talkative and engaging, Mame enjoyed good conversation. Whether with adults, friends, children, or grandchildren, she listened with great care, readily sharing life's joys as well as its sorrows. With a faithful heart, in Mame's good company, there was always compassion, comfort, and hope. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Mame will long be remembered and so dearly missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the home of Martin and Cora (DeWitt) Van Oeveren as they welcomed their daughter, Marlyn Anne, to their family on November 16, 1937, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Growing up on the east side of Grand Rapids, Mame was ten years older than her brother Fred and lived in an adult world. Her grandmother, Mattie, lived with Mame's family; even her cousin was older. A strong woman, Mattie proved a powerful influence. Mame began her life on Silver Avenue before the family moved to Elliot Street S.E., and the seeds of her faith were sown at Oakdale Reformed Church. Her schooling at Oakdale Christian School and Grand Rapids Christian School nourished those seeds, helping them grow into sturdy roots.
While in elementary school, she formed close bonds with a group of girlfriends known as "the club." The group stayed in touch for the rest of their lives and shared a lot of experiences and many good times together. At an early age, Mame learned to play the organ and the piano. She took lessons when she was young and played at church for many years. She started by playing for services at 12th Street CRC and later played for funerals.
During her teen years, while working at Varsity Grill, Mame became friends a young lady coworker named Marilyn Katsma. As they grew to know one another better, Marilyn was pleased to introduce Mame to her brother, Robert "Bob," on a blind date. Instantly smitten with one another, it wasn't long before Mame and Bob's love grew, and they set their hearts on building a future together. Mame began working in the office at Furniture City Capital, a job that fit her detail-oriented nature. The happy couple married on October 29, 1959, at the Oakdale Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.
The newlyweds settled into married life in an apartment on Fremont Street, N.W., before moving a year later into a house that Bob built for his bride on Maplerow, N.W. There, Mame and Bob would raise their three children, Bob Jr., Steve, and Mary, and share many wonderful memories as a family. While Bob worked in the construction trade, Mame dedicated herself to tending the home and caring for her family. She cooked, baked, cleaned, and enforced the rules. She also played the piano in her home. The family enjoyed camping in the summer at Grand Haven during the Coast Guard Festival and many Memorial Day weekend trips at the KOA in Saugatuck. Mame loved the beach and supporting her children's endeavors. She even coached her daughter Mary's softball team with help from Bob. Her kids' biggest fan, she made it to every game she could through the years.
The family attended 12th Street Christian Reformed Church, where Mame played the organ. They later became members of Westend Christian Reformed Church. When her youngest child, Mary, was finishing her schooling, Mame started working for Heritage Funeral Service. She had became acquainted with the staff while playing the organ for funerals. She worked for the funeral home for about 15 years, again thriving in managing many details and working with people.
Mame and Bob were a social couple and enjoyed lots of fun and laughter with friends. For many years, they enjoyed traveling all over the U.S. with their good friends, Buss and Betty Kunst. They even celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii together. Many winters, Bob and Mame traveled to Florida to visit friends at Boynton Beach, and Florida quickly became Bob's favorite vacation destination. After he retired in 1993, Mame and Bob began spending about four months a year in their fifth wheel at Nettles Island, Florida. Even after Bob died in 2010, Mame continued wintering in Nettles until 2019.
In her quiet time, Mame enjoyed some reading, sewing, and crafting. She was also a prayer warrior for the family, praying for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. After Bob suffered a tragic fall and died in 2010, Mame was grateful to be able to continue to live in her home. With her children's help she stayed in the comforts of the home she so lovingly created, and that held so many cherished memories. She also found comfort and happiness in sharing time with her family. A loving, caring, and supportive grandmother, every moment with her grandchildren proved a treasured gift.
A woman of faith, Mame was always willing to give her time and talents in service of others. She decorated lunch bags for Kids' Food Basket and volunteered with Kids Hope as a mentor for a student and a prayer partner with another mentor. She also volunteered at Nice Twice Resale Shop and Helping Hands Mission Store on Leonard. She loved to shop and was always looking for a sale. Sadly, Mame was hospitalized after suffering a brain aneurysm about two weeks ago.
Though life feels uncertain in the absence of Mame's steadfast love and support, we find much comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in knowing she has reunited with her beloved Bob. As we celebrate Mame's beautiful life, may we embrace the honor of carrying her legacy of faith and generosity forward. In each moment we choose faith and hope over fear, welcome a stranger as a friend, confidently face life's challenges, serve others, walk along the beach, and share a heartfelt laugh, we keep Mame's spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Marlyn Anne Katsma, "Mame," age 85, of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on October 18, 2023. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert "Bob" Katsma Sr., in 2010.
Surviving are her children: Bob Jr. and Becky Katsma, Steve and Terri Katsma, Mary and Greg Jordan; grandchildren: Kara, Kloe, Kurt, Sabrina, Zach, Travis, Gabe, and Noah; great-grandkids Bentley, Luke, Ava, Stella, Charlotte; brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Carol Van Oeveren; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Phyllis Snip, Joyce and Bob Bergsma, Marilyn and Ralph VanderKlok; as well as nieces and nephews.
Her funeral service will be held on Sunday, October 22, at 2 PM at Westend Christian Reformed Church, 1015 Westend N.W. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Mame's family on Saturday from 2-5 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, and visiting will begin at 1 PM on Sunday at church. Mame's family suggests that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to West Side Christian School. To read more about Mame's life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com