Celebration of Life
Monday, July 31, 2023
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Fraternal Order Police Lodge
1753 Alpine Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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.
In Lieu of Flowers - Susan Mast ALS Foundation
2500 Waldorf Ct NW Suite B
Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Life Story / Obituary
With a full heart, vibrant smile, and an infectious laugh, Sue Bergsma lived a life rich in family and friends. A woman who never met a stranger, Sue was a best friend to everyone. Full of life, loving, and likable, Sue could make even the most stern of curmudgeons smile. She never hesitated to give of her time and talents in service of others, strongly believing in the importance of applying herself in every way. In Sue’s good company, everything was better; there was no hardship that couldn’t be lessened, and every happiness was amplified. Cherished by many, Sue was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She will long be remembered and so dearly missed.
1948 proved a year of continued celebration of the end of World War II. As America's heroes eagerly returned home, a renewed spirit and hope filled the air. American prosperity grew like no other time in our history. The Greatest Generation soon proliferated, creating the age of the Baby Boomers. The cause for celebration grew even greater for Martin & Betty Schuiling as they welcomed their daughter Sue on July 30, 1948.
The oldest of three, Sue grew up on the west side and was a great big sister to her younger siblings, Deb and Marty. Sue’s father owned and operated the Ferris Nut and Coffee Company, and her mother was a homemaker. The family attended Fairview Reformed Church, and Sue and her siblings loved going to the beach and playing in the neighborhood. After completing her schooling at Fairview Elementary and Westside Christian School, Sue attended high school at Kenowa Hills High School.
Always very social and fun, Sue had many friends. As a teen, she worked at Sonneveld Bakery on Leonard Street and Old Kent Bank. Her earnings helped her purchase a 1966 Mustang convertible. While in high school, Sue was also introduced to the love of her life, Dale Bergsma, by a mutual friend.
After graduating with the class of 1966, Sue attended Davenport College and Grand Rapids Junior College. For nine years, Sue worked in sales for Ferris Coffee on Fulton Lane and later at General Mills.
After dating for two years, on April 5, 1968, a beautiful spring day, Sue and Dale married at Fairview Reformed Church. Following a reception at the church, the happy couple honeymooned at Niagara Falls.
The newlyweds made their first home at 2634 Pohens Ave NW before settling into their forever home five years later on Stage Ave NW, where Sue and Dale were blessed to raise their children. Sue devoted herself to motherhood, joyfully creating a loving and supportive home for her family. A fun and playful mother, Sue’s heart was evident in everything she did. Whether cooking, baking, or enjoying a family campout, Sue ensured everyone knew they were special. She was a good cook and baker whose goulash, breads, and cookies were unrivaled. The family loved camping, especially at Grand Haven and Pentwater State Park over the summer months. They also adventured out west and east for five weeks in a motorhome, visiting all the National Parks along the way.
Sunsets, beaches, and lighthouses were some of Sue’s favorite things, as were the good times spent at Schuiling Cottage at Big White Fish Lake. She also enjoyed a very full social life, playing golf, working on crafts, tending her flower garden, and playing cards. Always the life of the party, Sue had many friends and was a proud member of the Elks, Eagles, and Moose lodges. One of her grandest adventures was a five-week, 6000-mile motorhome trip through Canada made possible by retirement. Without a doubt, her greatest adventure was being a grandmother! Sue adored her seven grandkids and relished spoiling them with fun trips, camping, playing games and cards, and supporting all of their sports and dance activities. Her heart's delight, Sue enthusiastically cheered on their every endeavor and lovingly reflected how much she treasured each of them.
A woman who embodied her values, Sue showed us how to work hard, play hard, and live full, wholehearted lives. Though the world feels far less certain in the absence of her love and affection, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying Sue’s beautiful legacy forward. In each moment we greet a stranger as a friend, meet life’s challenges with confidence, choose faith over fear, and generously give of our hearts, we celebrate the many ways Sue gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her vibrant spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.
Susan Elaine (Schuiling) Bergsma, has passed away from ALS on Sunday, July 23, 2023, at the age of 74, one week shy of her 75th Birthday. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Mishelle Sue, her parents, Martin & Betty Schuiling, in-laws, John & Isla Bergsma, Marvin, George, David, Keith, and Karen Bergsma. She will be missed dearly by her husband of 55 years, Dale, and sons and daughters-in-law, Jason & Pam Bergsma (Josh, Mishelle Joy, Jake), Troy & Lesa Bergsma (Cade, Max), and Lucas & Nicole Bergsma (Sophie, Charlie). Also surviving are her sister, Deb Mull, brother, Marty & Amy Schuiling, Lynn Bergsma, Raquel Bergsma, Wayne Bentley, John & Jean Bergsma, and many nieces and nephews. There will be no funeral service, per Sue’s wishes, but there will be a Celebration of Life at the Fraternal Order – Police Lodge, 1753 Alpine Ave NW on Monday, July 31 from 4-7pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Susan Mast ALS Foundation, 2500 Waldorf Ct NW Suite B, Grand Rapids, MI 49544. To read more of Sue’s Life Story, leave a memory, or sign the guestbook, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.