Family will receive visitors for one hour prior to Mass
Friday, June 4, 2021
2:30 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Lunch will be served under the tent
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.
SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church
520 Myrtle NW
Grand Rapids, MI
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Regina Waldon was an exceptional wife, mother, and grandmother. She relished in bringing joy to the hearts of the ones she loved. Regina lived a blessed life and treated each and every person she met with kindness. Deeply missed, she will forever be known for her positive outlook on life and her compassion for all people.
Reflecting on the 1920s, radio stations were growing in popularity throughout the US, and the media was focused on jazz music and celebrities. By 1927, Boleslavas Sakalauskas and Ursula Minkstimas welcomed their newborn daughter, Regina, into their hearts and home on July 21, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born the third of four children, her birth brought great joy to her loving parents.
Growing up at 725 Crosby NW, Regina knew the value of hard work from a young age. Neither of her parents could read or write in English. Her father was a carpenter and her mother worked as a housekeeper who cleaned and did laundry. They had no running water in their home. Strengthened by their faith, all of the children attended SS Peter and Paul Elementary. They walked to school and came home for lunch. Regina was a good student and graduated from Mt. Mercy Academy as the Salutatorian of the Class of 1945. Common of many girls of her time, her focus was secretarial skills. Her high scores opened many doors for her including a four year scholarship to the University of Detroit Mercy. Her parents did see the value in education, yet Regina knew her parents needed her. Consequently, she chose not to accept the scholarship.
Her life would change for the better while attending worship one Sunday. She spotted Al Gregels walking into church dressed in his military uniform and from that moment had her mind set on marrying him. After a few years of dating they married on June 6, 1948 at SS Peter and Paul Church. The happy couple spent their two week honeymoon on a road trip to Yellowstone. They settled into an upstairs apartment above her mother’s home and started their family. Within eight years, they welcomed home their five children; Mike, Bernadette, Rosanne, Gerard, and Mary.
Later she and Al moved their growing family to 1322 Covell Ave NW where they remained for many years. Much like she was raised, she and Al brought their children up as strong Catholics. They were members of SS Peter and Paul. Regina felt fortunate to raise her children and learned to sew their clothes, make her own drapery, and crochet. Saturday nights were her sacred time for taking a bath and getting some alone time to prepare her for the busy week ahead.
For many years, she was active in the ladies guild at church and enjoyed attending the dances at the local hall. On Sundays, the family enjoyed long road trips to Muskegon or Irons. Sadly, the youngest Mary, suffered from bacterial meningitis at the tender age of two years old. For six years, Regina tended to her every need. She also learned that Al had brain cancer during this time and he passed away in 1967 just one year after Mary had died. It was a devastating time for Regina, yet she found her strength in her faith.
Determined to support her family on her own, Regina chose to enter the world of work. She applied and was accepted for a job at the City Engineer Office. Her strong skills returned quickly and she moved her way up to become secretary of the City Manager. Her work with the city lasted a remarkable twenty-seven years. Not to be forgotten was the meeting of her second husband, John Waldon. She knew him through his work with Michigan Bell as they serviced the phones in City Hall. They had been friends for many years and later when John’s wife died he called Regina for a date in 1974. He was always supportive and encouraged her to work for her associate’s degree in business.
Later, Regina followed his advice and attended Davenport College. John was also studying to be a deacon and when they realized they had a deep love for one another, they married before he was ordained. They shared many wonderful years together and enjoyed their time at their cottage on Camp Lake. They held countless family gatherings with boat rides on their pontoon. Each Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July, and Labor Day were spent at the cottage with large numbers of their extended family. She loved Lithuanian food and was sure to make a favorite dish or two for any gathering. Before they had a chance to share their ten year anniversary, John died from a heart attack in 1983. Regina again relied on her special friends and close-knit family to see her through.
For the remainder of her years, Regina was content as a widow. She enjoyed many favorite pastimes. She enjoyed reading novels, especially WWII books as her brother was a POW during the war. She also enjoyed listening to Big Band music from her era. Regina was fortunate to travel many parts of the world. She toured Japan, China, and Europe. A lover of a good bargain, she would always patiently wait for a good deal before booking with her flights and planning her itinerary. Oftentimes she would even stay up to call just after midnight to get the best price!
Regina was a highly active and engaging individual who lived her life to the fullest. She was immensely proud of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandson. Described as giving, caring, and accepting, Regina lived her life with great integrity. She loved to share laughter with family and friends and lived her life as an example of Christ. May her loved ones never doubt the love she held for each of them and may they honor her life by continuing to show mercy and compassion for others.
Regina Waldon, age 93, of Grand Rapids, died at her home on May 29, 2021surrounded by her family.
Regina Ann (nee Sakalauskas) Gregels Waldon, passed away on Saturday, May 29, 2021. She was born at home on July 21, 1927. Regina was preceded in death by her daughter, Mary Gregels, her mother and father, Ursula and Boleslavas Sakalauskas, her first husband and father of her children, Albert Gregels, as well as her second husband, John Waldon and John’s daughter, Judy (Waldon) Pepper.
Regina outlived her three brothers, Sebo Sakall, Vito Sakall and Dr. William Sakalsauskas (survived by his wife, Marian Fortson Sakalaukas and children Mark, Karen, David and Andrea). Regina is survived by her children, Michael (Priscilla Hill) Gregels, Bernadette (Rick) Strunk, Rosanne Gregels and Gerard (Lucia) Gregels, Mary Ann Roethig, Sharon (David) Flink and Chris (Toni) Waldon.
Family also includes a great, great grandson, Henri Clignett, son of Jacob (Audrey) Clignett, many grandchildren and great grandchildren: Laura (Joe) Erickson; Laura’s children Jacob (Audrey) Clignett, Chantal Clignett; Bernadette’s sons Jeffrey Noorman and Michael (Carmen) Noorman and their children, Emma, Ellie and Abby; Mary Ann’s children, Carina and Alexander; Sharon and David’s son, Adam and Chris and Toni’s children, Chris Jr., Carla and their families.
Regina earned her Associate’s Degree from Davenport College and served as the Grand Rapids City Manager’s personal secretary for 26+ years. Regina devoted her life to practicing her strong Catholic faith. Regina will be forever remembered and missed by her large and loving family and friends. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church at 520 Myrtle NW, Grand Rapids, 49504 or God’s Kitchen, 303 S. Division, Grand Rapids, 49503.
Visiting hours will be Thursday, June 3 from 2:00-4:00 and 6:00-8:00, with a Rosary at 7:30 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. The Mass of the Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church at 1:00 PM on Friday, June 4. The gravesite service will be presented to family only. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Regina’s life story, submit a favorite memory, picture or to sign the guestbook online.
Regina expresses her sincere gratitude to Cindy Duimstra, her primary caregiver and companion. She is also grateful for the assistance from Mary Wisneski and Beth Bosworth. Blessings to all the remarkable Faith Hospice individuals; they were always available to provide compassionate care with dignity and love.