Tuesday, December 21, 2021
11:00 AM EST
Heritage Reformed Congregation
540 Crescent Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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.
To assist with funeral expenses
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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, Nancy Van Ree made the most of each and every moment she was given while holding her loved ones near. She told the best stories, even if they never seemed to end, and her zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Nancy delighted in her family, and she was happiest when surrounded by their love. She was there to support her loved ones, even if she didn’t necessarily agree, and her devotion to her children was unmatched. With faith as a cornerstone in her life, Nancy touched the lives of so many in such a special way. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
The 1950s were an exciting time in America. Marilyn Monroe and James Dean were big names in Hollywood while Elvis Presley took the music world by storm. This was the decade when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus, and by the dawn of the 1960s we had welcomed both Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Also during this time was a time of great excitement in the lives of Daniel and Elizabeth (De Maagd) Van Ree as they announced the births of their identical twin girls, Nancy Lynne and Laurie Lou on July 5, 1956, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They also had two older siblings and five younger siblings in the bustling Van Ree clan. Nancy and her twin sister were close throughout her life, and they also had similar personalities and dressed alike as well. The sisters would team up when rivaling their siblings as they were well aware that two is better than one. It has been said that Nancy found herself in a bit of mischief at times and has even been called a little naughty, however, she didn’t hesitate to tattle on her siblings when beneficial.
Raised on the family farm on Eastern Avenue on the Southeast side of Grand Rapids, Nancy was a typical young girl of her generation. She had her fair share of chores during the vegetable growing season and also helped can and freeze much of their yield. In addition, Nancy helped at their roadside stand. She and her family were members of First Netherlands Reformed Church, which is where the seeds of her faith took root. Nancy took both piano and organ lessons, and she often played by ear. Throughout her life, she enjoyed playing. As a family they enjoyed some getaways, especially when she was young. For a week during the summer Nancy’s family commonly spent a week at Intermediate Lake or on Silver Lake. As a student she attended Plymouth Christian School and then went on to Ken-O-Sha for middle school and finally graduated from Ottawa Hills High School. While in school she was involved in Junior Achievement. Both Nancy and her twin, Laurie, became certified nursing aides who worked at Allendale Nursing Home.
There was never anything of greater importance to Nancy than her family. She was blessed with two children, Carey and Chad, and most of her life was spent raising them and making sure they were provided for. Like in the home she was raised in, Nancy did her best to make sure that her kids did the right things. However, if they didn’t always get it right she was there to support them in spite of it and to cover them with unconditional love. Nancy loved going to the beach with her kids including frequent visits to Tunnel Park, and when they were young she was able to go to Florida to visit her sisters a couple of times. No matter what, Nancy was always ready to have fun and be actively engaged rather than just hanging out on the sidelines.
Throughout her life Nancy had a strong work ethic and was driven to do her best. She worked a few odd jobs including at Steelcase for a time and also doing clerical with ENI. Nancy then moved on to the maintenance staff at Hampton Lakes, which started her in the cleaning business. While there, she enjoyed some of the perks like using the activity hall for family gatherings and taking her kids swimming. For much of her life Nancy and Laurie would shadow one another – living nearby, doing the same type of work, and going to many of the same places. They even had several common friends. Nancy then started cleaning houses and built her own cleaning business. This was a great fit for her as she loved talking with people and many of her clients were like family to her. She genuinely enjoyed getting to know her clients over the years. As her daughter got older Nancy began cleaning with her, providing a good time for them both. Everyone always knew when she was out of work for the day since she would comment on every photo posted on social media or respond to every message. Over the last few years Nancy did some cleaning, but she also enjoyed providing personal care for a family.
As her family and friends can attest, there were so many things to love about Nancy. Both she and her sister were able to tell stories in intricate detail, being sure to leave nothing out. Sometimes it could be difficult to bring a phone call or text message with Nancy to an end! Needless to say, despite her soft spoken voice, Nancy loved to talk. She would get so excited about any event, especially when it involved any of her family. Nancy was thrilled to be a grandma, often affectionately called “Meema,” or in more recent days “Glama” because of her love for jewelry. Nancy loved being with her grandchildren no matter what they were doing. She regularly babysat them and was there to support them in all their events and activities as she was one of their more vocal cheerleaders. Nancy loved watching Hallmark movies on Saturday nights, often with her sister, and this past summer she and Laurie took the trip of a lifetime up to Mackinac Island. It was just like old times for the sisters as they shared clothes and jewelry and felt footloose and fancy free. Nancy was so grateful for this time and was devastated with Laurie’s death this past September.
All who knew Nancy Van Ree would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was a lover of people who would enter a room and promptly give everyone a hug to greet them. Nancy loved her family deeply, and there was no greater joy than being surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Nancy Lynne Van Ree, age 65 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on December 15, 2021. Nancy is survived by her children Carey (Chuck) VanderBoon and Chad (Andrea) VanRee; grandchildren Vanessa and Tevin; brothers and sisters Janice (Alan) Supran, Tom (Mary) Van Ree, Susan (Brian) Ring, Priscilla Staal, Bob (Lesa) Van Ree; sisters-in-law Sally Van Ree and Candace Van Ree; brother-in-law, Bill Thomas; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Nancy was preceded in death in September by her twin sister, Laurie; by her parents Daniel and Elizabeth Van Ree, brothers, Dan and Tim Van Ree; brother-in-law Don Staal; and nephew Eric Van Ree. Her funeral service will be held on Tuesday, December 21 at 11 AM at Heritage Reformed Congregation, 540 Crescent Street NE. Friends are invited to visit with her family on Monday from 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home- Van Strien Creston Chapel. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to to assist with funeral expenses. To read more about Nancy’s life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com