Thursday, December 2, 2021
10:00 AM EST
4575 Remembrance Rd. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Life Story / Obituary
With a bright smile and unwavering faith, Mary Faye (DeGroot) Bruggema lived a life rich in family and friends. Mary lived from her heart and her selfless love and unfailing support was evident in everything she did. She was a peaceable person who embodied her faith and embraced each moment as a gift to be cherished. Never one to be angry, Mary possessed a naturally cheerful personality that inspired much joy for those who were lucky to spend time with her. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Mary valued nothing more than the relationships she so mindfully tended. A gift for all who were blessed to know her, Mary will long be remembered and so very missed.
1958 proved an exciting year. The year the microchip was invented, NASA was formed, gas was only .25 cents a gallon, and unemployment was less than 2%. While the Packard ended production, National Airlines began the first passenger flights with the Boeing 707; Billie Holiday and Elvis Presley dominated the radio, and Candid Camera brought laughter to our homes each week. It was truly a time of hope and prosperity. Nowhere did hope reign more clearly than in the hearts and home of Robert and Marylin (Sweers) DeGroot as they welcomed their daughter Mary on December 7.
Growing up in West Michigan during the 60s and 70s, Mary's early years were rooted in family values. The oldest of the four DeGroot children, Mary was a proud big sister to her younger sister and two brothers. While her father worked as an appliance parts manager, her mother worked as a church secretary at Remembrance Reformed Church. Annual trips to CranHill Ranch family and church camp and gathering together for holidays were always special for Mary. As a teen, Mary held a couple of jobs in retail, was involved in youth group, and sang in both her school and church choirs. She attended Grandville public schools and proudly graduated from Grandville High School.
In 1982, while participating in a church bowling league, Mary formed a friendship with fellow bowler Marc Bruggema. After six months of getting to know one another, Marc decided to officially ask her out. The pair quickly became a couple and set their hearts on sharing their lives. On December 3, 1983, Mary and Marc exchanged their marriage vows in a wedding ceremony at Remembrance Church. The day was filled with good weather, friends and family, and much celebration of their love at a reception at Ramona Terrace.
After honeymooning in Orlando and Tampa, Florida, the newlyweds settled in an apartment on Scott Street. Five years later, they bought their family home on Leonard Street. In 1988, Mary and Marc welcomed their twin sons to their family. Tom and David quickly became the center of Mary's world, and she joyfully devoted herself to creating a loving and supportive home for her family. Family dinners were a priority for Mary, and she nourished her boys with great cooking and baking. Her sons loved her cooking and the many fabulous comfort foods like lasagna, steak and potatoes, and beef roast that she lovingly prepared for them. She encouraged her boys' endeavors and was very involved in their activities. Every summer, the family took a trip, and they spent a lot of time at CranHill Ranch.
For over 30 years, Mary worked as a medical billing specialist with Insurance Data Services. A lifelong member of Remembrance Church, she was also very active in her church community. Over the years, she taught Sunday school and sang with the choir. Mary loved to sing. In addition to singing with the church choir, since 2008, Mary also participated in the community choir, Hark Up. Whether attending practice, joining her voice in church services, or singing in concerts, Mary's joyful voice was a gift for all.
In her quiet time, Mary loved to read and spending time at Sand Lake. The Bruggema family lake place became an important gathering place for everyone. As with her home, Mary ensured that all were welcome and cared for while enjoying the quieter pace at the lake. Without a doubt, Mary's greatest joy was her family. Mary gained two daughters when her sons married, and when her grandchildren arrived, she welcomed her new role as a grandmother with great enthusiasm. She treasured every moment she shared with her grandchildren and was always available to them.
Clearly, life feels less certain in the face of Mary's sudden absence. While we mourn the loss of the beautiful woman we were so blessed to know, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying Mary's legacy of love and faith forward. With each song we sing with a joyful heart, holiday we gather to celebrate, quiet time at the lake we enjoy, and warm smile we freely give, we celebrate the many ways Mary gifted each of us. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
BRUGGEMA, Mary F. Bruggema of Grand Rapids, MI, age 62, passed away unexpectedly on November 26, 2021. Mary was born December 7, 1958, in Grand Rapids to Robert and Marylin (Sweers) DeGroot. She was preceded in death by her father. Mary loved and adored her family, especially her grandchildren. On December 3, 1983, she married Marc Bruggema; he survives, as do their sons, Tom (Alisha) Bruggema of Grandville, David (Megan) Bruggema of Grand Rapids; grandchildren, Brendon, Carter, Makenna, Emmett, and Ryker. She is also survived by her mother, Marylin DeGroot of Grand Rapids, siblings, Edward (Mary) DeGroot of Grand Rapids, Carol (Paul) DeVries of Holland, Robert (Jill) DeGroot of Grand Rapids; sisters-in-law, Pam (Mike) DeGroot of Dorr, Joy Bruggema of Grand Rapids; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. A funeral service will be held Thursday, December 2, 2021, at 11 AM at Remembrance Church, 4575 Remembrance Rd. NW. Friends may visit with family, Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW, and beginning at 10 AM at the church. Interment will be in Rosedale Memorial Park. Please visit Mary's memory page to read more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.