Life Story / Obituary
Martha Jean VanderKamp was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 5, 1924. Her father, John Dooge, was a grocer. Her mother, Jean, was a nurse who loved to bake and entertain. Martha loved working in the grocery store filling candy bins and making grocery deliveries. During these depression years her father gave away a great deal of food to those in need, and Martha learned generosity at an early age.
She was an outgoing child and as a high school student became Homecoming Queen. After graduation she worked for a short time as a telephone operator for Michigan Bell Telephone.
Martha met Douglas VanderKamp on a blind date after his return from a tour of duty with the Army in Burma during World War II. They were married on June 18, 1946, and soon had two children, Steve and Jane. Doug worked at General Motors as a tool and dye maker while Martha was a stay-at-home mom. They were both involved with their church and brought their children up to know the Lord.
After Doug took early retirement from GM, they enjoyed growing vegetables in their home garden. Martha kept busy weeding, canning and freezing the produce. Like her mother she was an excellent cook and baker. Doug and Martha loved to travel and made many trips with Elder Hostel. They also volunteered much time to the Christian Reformed World Relief helping those with misfortune due to natural disasters.
A favorite travel destination was Mexico where their daughter Jane, her husband Ben, and six children lived. They also made many two-hour trips to Midland, Michigan where their son Steve, his wife Joyce and four children lived. They spent many hours watching soccer games there and later on at Hope College in Holland, Michigan when the four grandchildren were students. Martha doted on all her grandchildren and loved to have them visit and take part in games and activities she organized for them.
When Doug died in 2017, Steve and Joyce decided to move to Penney Retirement Community and talked Martha into moving with them. In June of 2018 she became a resident of Penmor where she lived for three wonderful years. On her first day there she met Zella Corbett and they became close friends. Martha moved to the Pavilion in April of 2021 and died there on July 8, 2022.
Martha was predeceased by her husband Douglas and daughter Jane. She leaves behind her son, Steve and his wife Joyce, son-in-law Ben Escalante, 10 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, her sister-in-law, Marilyn Dooge, and several nieces and nephews.