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Life Story / Obituary
There was nothing that Theron “Ted” Deleeuw loved more than being surrounded by the ones he loved. He was a loving and devoted husband and father, and there were only more to cherish when children and great-grandchildren joined the family. Ted was a man of unwavering faith, his life a shining example of what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord he loved. Patient, kind, and quick to forgive others, he was a blessing to so many. Deeply loved, Ted will be forever missed.
The 1920s were a vibrant time in America when we celebrated advancements like motion pictures in both color and sound, cars mass produced on assembly lines, and the milestone contributions of both Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. It was also during this time that Charles and Mable Deleeuw announced the birth of the baby boy they named Theron on August 13, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His father worked as a bricklayer while his mother was a homemaker. Raised in the family home on Cordelia, SW, he and his family were members of Grandville Christian Reformed Church, which was the largest Christian Reformed church in America at the time. Sadly, Ted’s mother died when he was just 16.
In many ways, Ted was a fairly typical young man of his generation. He had a humble childhood as times were tough during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Ted attended elementary and middle school at the school that was affiliated with his church, and his high school years found him at Grand Rapids Christian High. He enjoyed the simple things in life like sitting on the front porch with friends, playing ball around the neighborhood, and riding bikes including riding his bike to high school every day. Ted and his buddies also spent plenty of time playing in Plaster Creek.
After graduating from high school, Ted was eager for all that life had in store. He spent some time working in a wood workshop where they made wooden bowls, and after college he purchased the business and operated it. Later, Ted began working as a bricklayer, which became his longtime career. He once broke his back after a scaffolding collapsed, and he worked in this job for almost 30 years. Ted later went to work as maintenance director for Kenowa Schools for over 25 years.
Not to be forgotten during his younger years was Ted’s introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Ann Bouma, and they met through mutual friends, Phyllis and John Dykhouse, who became lifelong friends. For over 50 years these two couples got together on every New Year’s Eve. After dating for two years, Ted and Ann were married on October 16, 1952, by Rev. Leonard Greenway. The newlyweds set off for a honeymoon in Traverse City and ran into a snowstorm – in October! When they went to pay the bill upon their departure from their motel, they found that their stay was paid by the owners since they learned that Ted and Ann were newlyweds.
After returning to Grand Rapids the couple settled into an upstairs apartment on Sherman Street, but they later moved to a home on Richmond Street where they raised their family. Ann and Ted were blessed with four children including Chuck, Julie, Kristi, and Jack. Several of their most priceless family moments took place around water. They spent many summers at Lake Leelanau and Grand Haven state parks. They also enjoyed spending time together at their cottage on Brooks Lake in Newaygo County several weekends a year. When they traveled farther from home their destinations included Hilton Head Island, several states throughout the country, and even trips throughout Canada. There were also Sunday afternoon walks in Blandford Nature Center, which was in their backyard. Ted always had a dog, and they were like additional members of the family. They were always such great companions for Ted whether on walks or just in life. His most current dogs, Emily and his rescue Happy (Hap), held such a special place in his heart. In 2009, Ted was deeply saddened with the death of his beloved wife, Ann, after a lengthy illness.
There were so many things that kept Ted busy over the years. With faith as a cornerstone, he and Ann were members of Richmond Reformed Church but later became members of West Leonard Christian Reformed Church. Ted enjoyed playing golf and reading and as a lifelong learner he read books that addressed deep theological questions. Ted liked a variety of foods, but his favorite meal was a full Sunday dinner of roast and potatoes. He also liked to eat out special meals at Mangiamo’s or regular meals at Russ’.
In 2012, Ted was introduced to Sue Goodwin through his son, Chuck. They were great companions for one another as they had both lost their spouses. Ted had a mustang convertible and liked taking it out for Sunday drives to places like Grand Haven and Heritage Hill to look at houses with Sue. He remained very involved with his family and was there for all of his grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s events and activities. The family regularly got together as well including on birthdays, holidays, and even on Sundays. Ted could often be found out in his workshop, most recently making steps so his dog could get into the car. He enjoyed hymns and songs from the Psalter Hymnal, and he even played the harmonica a bit.
Whether he was praying for his family members by name, serving as an elder in his church, or cheering on a grandchild from the sidelines, Ted DeLeeuw’s selfless love and devotion to loving and serving others was his lifelong mission. He was faithful, patient, kind, and humble - the sort of person who never met a stranger. Ted was never idle, and he was continually using his time and talents to bless others. An extraordinary man who was loved by so many, he will never be forgotten.
Ted DeLeeuw, 8/13/1926 - 10/29/2021, age 95.
After a long life filled with love for the Lord and his family, with his kids at his side, Ted entered Heaven where his wish to see Christ face to face was finally granted. He was also reunited with the love of his life, our mom and his wife Ann. Ted was a long time member of West Leonard Christian Reformed Church where over the years, he served the congregation as a Deacon, Elder and in many other ways. He loved the Lord and loved the Church. Ted loved his family and always put them first and foremost. He prayed daily, by name, for each of his kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Never one to be idle, Ted was always busy and on the go. Whenever you called him, it was almost inevitable- you’d get the answering machine. Whether it meant doing yard work or even remodeling projects (at 95 years old), he was always busy doing something. Ted also loved to read, especially books on history and theology. Ted’s life and activities revolved around his kids and especially his grandkids and great grandkids. Almost daily he was involved with one or more of them whether it meant sporting events, school activities or family get togethers. He was ALWAYS there. He loved golfing with his kids and grandkids. Ted liked his cars and along with his very special friend Sue, there were many, many rides out to Grand Haven in his Mustang convertible and rides to downtown Grand Rapids in his Buick. An obit for our dad would not be complete without mentioning his love for ALL the dogs he had throughout his life and how much he loved them and loved walking them, most lately and notably Emily and his rescue Happy (Hap). Ted was preceded in death by his sister Lois, and his beloved wife Ann. He is survived by his very special friend Sue Goodwin, his kids, Chuck (Gail), Julie (Clay), Kristi (Dan) and Jack (Kellie), 10 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. There’s just no words to express our gratitude for the love, grace and care extended to us by Faith Hospice. Thank you so much. The Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Wednesday November 3, 2021 at Remembrance Church, 4574 Remembrance Rd NW. Visitation will also take place at church on Tuesday from 5-8 PM. Donations in Ted’s memory can be made to Faith Hospice or Degage Ministries. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Ted’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook.