Life Story / Obituary
In the heart of Nancy Anderson there was nothing that brought her greater joy than being surrounded by those she loved. Her strong faith and the love of family and dear friends saw her through life’s greatest accomplishments and comforted her through the darkest of her days. A fun-loving, kind and compassionate woman, Nancy was dedicated in all she said and did. Nancy lived with a passion for life and always had something to talk about. To Nancy, there were no strangers, just people she hadn’t met yet. Gone but never to be forgotten are the numerous memories she leaves behind.
The year 1940 introduced many new forms of entertainment for all to enjoy. The sounds of Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby filled the airwaves while some of the best movies made their debut. With World War II well underway, America’s involvement was inevitable, and the first peacetime draft was put into place. Amidst these changing times in the central Massachusetts city of Worcester, Lennert and Linnea Jacobson were anticipating the birth of a new life in their lives and on March 7, 1940, they welcomed the birth of their precious little girl, Nancy Linnea into their arms. Three years later, she was joined by two younger sisters, twins Susan and Sally.
Nancy and her family were active members of the local Covenant church in Worcester. She attended the area grade school where she made numerous friends. In 1953, when Nancy was just an early teen an F4 tornado touched down, leveling their home and town. Having left massive destruction in its wake, 94 people were killed, some of whom were friends. Nancy’s family was separated for a time and to the last of her days she was afraid of large storms. While attending high school, Nancy’s father took a promotion and moved their family to San Jose, California where she graduated from Willow Glen High School. Their former church in Massachusetts helped them connect to a Covenant church in California which was a blessing to the Andersons as they quickly felt accepted in the new area. With her fun-loving and social spirit, Nancy made this transition quite well and became very active in the church youth group. The fact that she practiced her California accent as a way to eliminate her New England accent helped. Nancy made many lifelong friends while living in California.
Soon after her high school graduation, Nancy made her way to attend the Swedish Covenant Nursing School and North Park College in Chicago, Illinois. Quite a feat for a young woman, she took the train from California all the way to Chicago by herself. During this time Nancy met a young man by the name of Arvin Anderson who hailed from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. After dating for a time and falling deeply in love, they were joined in marriage on June 8, 1963 at the Berean Bible Church as the Covenant church on Tremont was under construction.
The newlyweds lived at the Portage Lake Bible Camp that first summer where Arv’s parents ran the camp. They then moved to Ann Arbor so Arv could complete his master's degree where they soon welcomed their son, Jeff. With degree in hand, they packed up and returned to Grand Rapids where Arv landed a job working at Kentwood High School and Nancy in nursing at Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals. They made their home in Kentwood and added two more children to their fold, Brian and Julie. As a family they were devoted members of First Evangelical Covenant Church which was an important part of their family. As a mother, Nancy was supportive and affirming of her children. She encouraged them in their endeavors and attended all of their events.
Nancy made a good home for Arv and their children. She regularly worked the third shift, and with both of them working, she and Arv shared household duties to keep the family running smoothly. The summers were an especially exciting time for them. Every other year they traveled in their RV out west to California to visit family, and always taking a different route each time, they explored and took in all the area had to offer. Usually gone for several weeks, they also took similar trips out East to visit family. These trips made for memorable times which Nancy and her family fondly recalled. Treasured times were also shared during the holidays that Nancy so enjoyed. Never one for cooking or baking, Nancy loved Swedish foods and was always up for lobster. Although she couldn’t eat in her last days, Nancy still asked for lobster. The kids’ birthdays were always a special event for Nancy. She made them delicious, elaborate cakes and her children later learned Nancy took baking classes in order to make those cakes, even though it was something she truly wasn’t fond of, she did it for her kids.
It has been said that Nancy’s hobbies included talking and shopping! She loved her gift for gab and could easily strike up a conversation with nearly anyone. A friend of many and a stranger to none, Nancy had a way of making those around her feel welcome and appreciated. Yet when it came to hobbies, Nancy’s love of sports ranked high. She liked watching and listening to sports, and she was an avid Red Sox fan. She even skipped school once to watch Ted Williams retire! Since Arv coached football at Kentwood High School, Friday nights were spent at the football games, rain or shine. One of their greatest supporters, she followed the team wherever they played. She also liked Michigan football, and in later years, she enjoyed going to high school events for distant relatives or her friend’s family members. When it came to music, Nancy liked the sounds of The Gaithers and Sandy Patty. As always, she enjoyed listening to Jack and Paula Winn from church.
In 2006, Nancy and her family suffered the loss of her beloved Arvin after some lingering health issues. It was a tough time for Nancy, yet she clung to her faith and the love and support of family and friends. She moved to Covenant Village of the Great Lakes which was just what Nancy needed. She really bloomed and became very active in the many groups offered there. With her medical background, Nancy served as a resource for medical issues of her fellow residents which gave her a sense of validation. She joined the choir at church, became a CRC board member, and volunteered at the hospital. Nancy continued to travel driving to Florida by herself and taking other trips she enjoyed. She even babysat Pastor Swanson’s children for many years. They loved Nancy and affectionately called her, “Fake Grandma”! In 2015, Nancy’s daughter, Julie adopted a daughter, Johanna “JoJo”. Nancy stood by Julie’s side throughout the entire process. Nancy and JoJo were extremely close and spent much time together. Nancy absolutely loved being a grandmother to Erik, Luke and Johanna who blessed her with the greatest joy.
Full of life and curious by nature, Nancy added so much to the lives around her. She was fun, committed and lived her faith. Not one to sit idle, she kept herself busy and enjoyed the company and conversations of others. Nancy considered herself blessed in a multitude of ways. For these things and so much more, she will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by those who were fortunate to have known her.
Nancy L. Anderson, age 78 of Grand Rapids, went to be with her Lord at her home on June 29, 2018 after being diagnosed in the spring with a terminal illness. She was preceded in death by her husband, Arvin; and son, Jeff. Nancy is survived by her children, Brian and Donna Anderson, and Julie Anderson; daughter-in-law, Christine Anderson; grandchildren, Erik (Victoria Kallsen) Anderson, Luke Anderson, and Johanna Anderson. Also surviving are her sisters, Susan and Paul Springer and Sally Young; sisters-in-law, Rhoda and Bruce Larson, Sharon and James Oudman, Janice and Jon Kempe; many nieces and nephews. Nancy was a nurse caring for others for many years and continued that service into her retirement years. The Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at First Evangelical Covenant Church, 1933 Tremont Blvd NW. Family and friends will gather to share stories from 5-8 PM on Monday, July 2, 2018 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Contributions in her memory may be made to Safe Harbor Christian Communities. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo of Nancy and to sign her online guestbook.