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Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Life Story / Obituary
Sheila (Prus) Boggs was a compassionate person to know and to love. When reflecting on her life, words such as sassy, strong-willed, and funny come to mind, however, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of her is resilient. There simply wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for a friend or family member in need. Deeply loved, Sheila will be greatly missed by the many lives she touched over the years, especially the wonderful family she leaves behind.
It seems only fitting that her story began during a time that was as colorful as she was. It was the 1960s when many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a golden age. By 1969, Woodstock attracts more than 350,000 Rock-n-Roll fans, and Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon. Sheila Mae arrived on September 9th to loving parents, Donald and Marilyn (Dressler) Prus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth brought them much joy and happiness during a promising decade in our nation’s history.
Growing up on Richmond Street next to Richmond Park, Sheila lived a remarkable childhood as the youngest of nine children. There was never a dull moment with so many siblings around. They enjoyed doting on her when she was young as well as treating her to overnights once they had moved away from the family home. Their memories include years of sledding and ice skating at Richmond Park as well as swimming and hanging out together. Sheila attended Harrison Park Elementary before entering West Middle School. As a teen, she enjoyed attending Unity Church and was very active in the Youth group for several years and also worked at Pizza Hut. After graduating with the Class of 1987 from Union High School, she moved in with her older sister, Linda, who was living in California.
Her time in California offered her the opportunity to meet the man who would change the course of her life forever, Joe Boggs. The two of them were working at Pizza Hut and were smitten from the start. Always willing to take a risk, Sheila agreed to move with him to Arizona to work at another Pizza Hut location. Shortly after, they welcomed home their daughter, Brittany. With a new baby, they decided to move back to Grand Rapids and settled into the generational family home on Park Street on the city’s NW side. They married on June 18, 1993. They enjoyed a reception with family and friends before setting off on their honeymoon to New Orleans. Sheila continued her loyal employment with Pizza Hut while raising a family. She embraced motherhood and welcomed their son, Brandon when he was born in 1994. Sheila was a caring, proud mother of her two young children. As a family, they enjoyed camping with their pop-up camper. She taught them the value of gardening and solicited their help with weeding, picking beans, cucumber pickles, and tomatoes for canning. She loved fresh tomatoes! One of Sheila’s favorite things to do was to sit on the front porch of her Park Street home watching thunderstorms.
When the kids grew a little older, Sheila decided it was time to pursue her own dreams and she started nursing school. She dedicated herself to studying tirelessly while still working part-time and raising her family. She studied hours on end and would often enlist her family members help in quizzing her with her famous homemade flashcards. Chemistry nearly made her lose her mind but she never gave up and passed. Just as her clinicals were due to start, her diagnosis came. The decision to stop school to care for herself was one of the hardest losses for her to deal with as she had made many great friends along the way and wanted badly to become a nurse.
Eventually, she and Joe divorced in 2001, yet she kept the importance of family present in her kids’ lives. Her children meant the world to her and she modeled for them a wonderful example of living life to the fullest. She had close relationships with her many nieces and nephews and looked forward to holidays together.
Sadly, at the age of thirty, Sheila was diagnosed with a progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. The illness had an instant effect on her physically as well as emotionally and mentally. Despite the physical pain, she gracefully embraced the simple pleasures in life. An excellent cook, she enjoyed trying new recipes, yet her family will forever savor the memory of her delicious meatloaf! She enjoyed attending concerts, especially classic rock. In 2009, she moved to Alaska and was cared for by her brother and sister-in-law for a year. Her son Brandon lived there, as well, and she moved there to be near him. Upon returning from Alaska, she moved to Walker Village Apartments with the help of her close friend, Jennifer. Her new setting was the perfect spot for her because it provided for her disabilities and gave her some independence. During these 10 years, she met the latest love of her life Dave Marks, who brought her much joy and taught her the importance of faith.
Sheila bravely faced her illness over the past twenty-three years. As her body began to slowly deteriorate, she kept her optimistic spirit and sense of humor. The little things were important to her towards the end, she loved being taken out for dinner, brought special treats and snacks, her strawberry daiquiri, and having ice packs constantly restocked. Her grandchildren brought her the brightest smile of all, and she lovingly embraced them at every visit. Sheila never lost her sense of humor and had everyone around her laughing.
Sheila commonly referred to herself as Nina, with a long I vowel sound. She felt that nine was her magic number as she was born on the ninth day of the month, on the ninth month of the year, and in a year ending with a nine! She was also the baby of nine children. Courageous in her fight, she leaned on knowing that when her final days would come she would therefore take up residency on Cloud 9 in Heaven! Sheila will be forever remembered for her strength and quick wit, but especially her love for her children and grandchildren. Gone too soon, may her loved ones always feel her presence and treasure the fond memories they made together over the years.
Sheila Mae Boggs, age 53, after a 23-year struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, is at peace. Sheila passed away on March 31, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents as well as her brother, Patrick Prus; her significant other, Dave Marks; and her sister-in-law, Tasha Prus. She is survived by her children, Brittany (Luis Leon) Boggs, and Brandon (Tabatha Brown) Boggs; grandchildren, Brandon Jr., Kinsley, Emilio, Ezraiel, and Emori. Also surviving are her brothers and sisters, David (Patricia) Prus, Teresa (David) Olee, Donna (Roy) Schmidt, Linda (James Steigmeyer) Prus, Michael (Eileen) Prus, Marcia Prus, and Joseph Prus; sister-in-law, Loraine Jenkins; step-siblings, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held, Monday, May 15, 2023, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends are invited to visit beginning at 11 AM, the service will begin at 12 PM and immediately following, lunch will be served at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to her children or the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.