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.
St Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Passionate, supportive, thoughtful, curious, kind and genuine are some words that come to mind in describing Neesha Soules. A loving wife, sister, mom, nana, and great grandmother, she cherished the time she spent with her growing family over the years. Neesha lived her life to the fullest by working hard to provide and care for the family she loved. Generous, reliable, and humble, she will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
The year 1948, Scientists at Bell labs invented the transistor, the World was still recovering from WWII and the first affordable prefab homes were being built in the U.S. to solve the growing need of the baby boomers. That same year, Richard and Nella (Jordan) Holbrook welcomed home their third child, Neesha, on March 21st in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Neesha followed two older brothers and was later joined by her younger sister completing their family. Her childhood was filled with many happy and memorable moments. At 5, she broke her leg falling off the back of brother Dick’s bike. Later as a teen, according to family folklore, she once threw a fork at brother Bill’s and it stuck in his back as he was fleeing. Neesha approached life head on.
Growing up in Wayland, Neesha learned many life values from her parents. An ambitious and studious student, she got a full scholarship to Michigan State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree. She married Gary Soules, and together they had four children. Neesha cared deeply for her children and was always ready to listen, support them and give advice. Often she would take walks late at night, even if it was down to the end of the street to talk with her children. Her children always knew they could count on her for support and unconditional love. There simply wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her children, including taking on a goat as a family pet! Even though goats were not allowed within the city limits, Neesha helped her son apply for a variance from the city. As a family, they enjoyed taking road trips and spending time at their cottage on Rainbow Lake.
When the kids were older, Neesha re-entered the world of work as a real estate agent and after her children were grown went back to school to earn her paralegal degree from Davenport College. From there, she landed a job as a paralegal and spent the rest of her career writing court decisions on medical disability cases for the Social Security Department in the State of Michigan. Neesha enjoyed and excelled in the law and medical research. A quick learner, she picked up tremendous knowledge about health care and many facets of the medical realm. It was not uncommon for Neesha to immerse herself in reading medical journals to support and give advice to clients, family and friends over the course of her career. Neesha retired in 2014.
Outside of work and family, Neesha held many interests. She loved adventure and travel, whether it was traveling to Costa Rica to catch butterflies or to look for dinosaur bones in the Utah desert. Born with a natural creative side as well as a BS degree in Horticulture from Michigan State University, Neesha was ready to learn and explore nature. She and her second husband, Thomas Vliek, made their home on a hobby farm in Allendale. Neesha enjoyed their farm and used her grandson, Cameron, as an excuse to get more animals on the farm! They cared for chickens, ducks, peacocks, and goats and they almost had a camel at one time as well! They could never leave their babies back at home. When they would travel to her winter home in Florida, many of their animals would take the trip with them! She and Tom both enjoyed traveling. A couple of times each year, they would travel to California to spend time with their grandchildren. Neesha loved spending one-on-one time with her grandchildren, getting to know them through conversations and sharing common interests. There was no doubt that she was influential in her grandchildren getting farm animals in California as well! Neesha always loved adventure!
Longing for more time outdoors and warmer weather, she and Tom moved to Florida full-time in 2019 and settled on the hobby farm she purchased in 2008. When Neesha’s arthritis began to limit her movements, Tom was always there for support. Neesha would draw up the designs she wanted for the garden and he would dig the holes and place plants and bushes where she wanted them. He even agreed to dig a pond and plant a coconut tree! Over the past couple of months, as her health declined, Neesha was grateful for the visits with her children, grandchildren, brothers, and sister. She was able to spend time with her loved ones and found peace from these special moments. She developed a strong faith and looked forward to seeing loved ones and Jesus in heaven. Neesha shared many of the wondrous gifts of her life with the family she so loved. May they always live their lives as a reflection of her steadfast compassion for others and may her warm memories live on in their hearts forever.
Neesha J. Soules, age 75, formerly of Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away on May 12, 2023, at Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, FL after a 10 week battle with Lymphoma. She is survived by her husband, Tom Vliek; children: Chad Soules, Shane & Bonnie Soules, Apel Soules, and Cherish Minney; grandchildren; Cameron Minney, Jordan (Brittany) Soules, Makena Soules, Hailey Soules, and Noah Soules; great-granddaughter, Reagan Soules; step-children; Mike & Martha Vliek; brothers and sister Dick & Lorna Holbrook, Bill & Sandy Holbrook, Debbie Bonney; as well as nieces and nephews. A service to remember and celebrate Neesha’s life will be held on Sunday, June 4th at 2 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends are invited to begin visiting with her family at 1 PM and there will be time for continued visiting following the service. For those who wish to make a memorial donation, her family encourages St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a longtime favorite charity of Neesha.