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Life Story / Obituary
Shirley Idema was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. A caring nurturer, she cherished her years as a mother and was delighted with the arrival of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Shirley has a story of resilience and although she came across as tough on the outside, she was a genuinely compassionate person on the inside. Her loving ways will be deeply cherished by all who knew and loved her.
The 1930s were significantly impacted by the effects of the Great Depression. Her parents welcomed home the arrival of their twins, Shirley Ann and Roger Krapp, on July 2, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Following their older sister, Jean, she and her twin brother's birth brought much joy and happiness to their family.
The family lived on Woodrow NW, where Shirley thrived in a happy childhood. She had a wonderful group of neighborhood friends to keep her company and enjoyed showing off her athletic abilities any chance she got! She attended West Leonard Elementary. Sadly, her father passed away when she was the tender age of 14 years old. Her mother went to work at Buttercup Bakery to help supplement the family income. As a result, she and her siblings helped out around the family home. One particular neighborhood friend, John Idema, touched her heart forever the day he asked to borrow her bike and ran it into a curb bending the rim! Even after graduating from Union High with the Class of 1949, she kept in touch with John. He had enlisted in the Army and was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. During her twenties, she was living with her mom and playing on the local GR Chicks softball team as well as working. In between her busy schedule, she would travel to visit John down south. After he was discharged, the two of them married on June 26, 1953. They settled on Lincoln Street NW before later moving to Garfield Avenue NW. Together, they raised two wonderful children; Lora and Andy, who were the center of their lives.
Passionate about her role as a mother, Shirley stayed home to raise their children until Andy was in elementary school. She then started her work as a lunch lady at Stocking Elementary, where she remained until her retirement years. As a family, they took advantage of every summer for travel. They visited the historical parts of Washington D.C. as well as Gettysburg. Mackinac Island and Florida were favorite destinations and a special highlight was a trip to Kentucky. Shirley instilled in her children the value of family and wanted nothing more than to share in their every success. She and John were happy to purchase a special piece of property up north where they built their family cottage. The cottage provided years of memories of enjoying the lake, fishing, and having fun! By 1986, they took another adventure of becoming owners of an eighty-acre farm in Hersey, Michigan. For a short time, they raised cows before later using the land for hunting deer, pheasants, geese, and turkeys. Shirley never took for granted all those years had to offer. She loved the outdoors blowing snow, cutting grass on a riding mower, and enjoyed riding the Honda 70. She enjoyed volunteering at Blandford Nature Center showing animals to the young visitors. There was never a dull moment with Shirley around!
As they grew into their mature years together, she and John shared many special memories. For twenty-five years, they traveled to Europe to see the many beautiful sites including Austria where the Sound of Music was filmed. They both enjoyed singing in the choir at Park Church where they were active members for many years. Shirley was engaged in many area clubs. She was also a member of the Red Hat Society and took ceramics classes through GR Adult Education.
In recent years, she moved to American House in Jenison where she found new interests and friendships. It wasn’t uncommon to see her playing balloon ball or Bingo! Shirley looked forward to their special field trips to the zoo and rides on the riverboat in the area. Shirley always told it like it was whether you wanted to hear it or not! Outgoing, genuine, and fun-loving, she will surely be missed. She modeled a lifetime of sharing her Christian values and treating everyone with kindness. May the memories she shared stay forever in the hearts of her loved ones and may they find great comfort in knowing that she loved each and every one of them beyond measure.
Shirley Ann Idema, age 91, of Jenison, passed away peacefully on August 14, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband, John. Shirley is survived by her children; Lora (David) Lingenfelter and Andy (Lori) Idema; grandchildren, Dan (Carrie) Lingenfelter, Tom (Amber) Lingenfelter, Mike (Sarah) Idema, and Matt (Taylor) Idema; and great-grandchildren, Benny, Lily, Elliot, Tristan, Owen, Sawyer, and Braden. Also surviving are her brother-in-law, Dave (Ruthann) Idema; several nieces and nephews, and many special friends. The family would like to extend a sincere thank you to the staff at American House Jenison and Faith Hospice for the loving and compassionate care shown to Shirley. A memorial service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, August 20, 2022, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Family will receive visitors from 12:30 pm until the start of the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to American Heart Association. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory or photo or to sign the guestbook.