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.
Humane Society of West Michigan
3077 Wilson Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Remarkably successful, Vance Harger modeled a lifetime of hard work and commitment to the family he loved. A generous and loving husband, father, and grandfather, he treasured the time he spent with his family building memories over the years. Nothing brought him greater joy than being around people. His warm spirit and soft-hearted ways will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered by his many special friends and loved ones for generations to come.
The 1920s saw large-scale industrial growth and significant changes in our nation’s culture. At a time when Lou Gehrig and Amelia Earhart were household names, Dallas Fairchild and Myrna Viola (Giles) Harger welcomed home their newborn son, Vance Giles, on December 17, 1928, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. An only child, his parents felt blessed with his birth during an exciting time in our nation’s history.
Vance’s strong work ethic was noticed at an early age. With both parents working outside the family home, he was known to pitch in and help out. His father was a banker and his mother worked as a librarian, teacher, and homemaker. Growing up in Rockford, he helped his grandfather on the family farm. As a young adolescent, he enjoyed playing on the tennis and baseball teams in high school. Graduating with the Class of 1946 from Rockford High School, he attended Grand Rapids Junior College for two years to continue his education. During this time he worked as a pin setter at the local bowling alley as well as a caddy at the Silver Lake Country Club where he found his passion for golf. Accomplished, yet easy-going, Vance found success in anything he put his mind to doing in life!
Charming as well as physically fit, he and Lois Fernamburg hit it off on a double date! They continued dating and kindling their relationship until they joined in marriage in 1948 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Settling in the Rockford area, Vance accepted a job with Consumers Power Company and worked his way up to engineer. Together they had four wonderful children; Renee, Vance Jr., Kimberly, and Harvey. As a family, they devoted their lives to their faith. During their growing years, Vance helped start both St. Peter and St. Stephen’s Lutheran churches. Modeling a life of strong Christian values was important to Vance and Lois. Their marriage was a wonderful example of serving another person with compassion and grace.
Together their family raised horses and showed their quarter horses at many area competitions. They also vacationed to many beautiful spots throughout Michigan and found reprieve in their backyard swimming pool. Sadly, Lois died in 1973 after a courageous battle with cancer. Devastated beyond measure, Vance learned to cope and to care for his children. He became very active and involved in his children’s various activities; coaching Little League baseball as well as serving as troop leader of Boy Scouts. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for each of them.
Lucky in love many years later, he joined in marriage with Jenny Carpenter on February 14, 1989, at a small church wedding. They had a special bond and shared many commonalities. Newly wed they moved into a home together in Grand Rapids on Plainfield Ave before later moving to Elmridge NW to make the best of memories. The two of them shared countless road trips on Sundays as Vance loved to drive. Often he tuned the radio to country music as he loved Willy Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Whalen Jennings and let the road take away their worries. They remained happily married for thirty remarkable years!
Vance also treasured his years as a grandfather and did his best not to miss any of their special sporting or school events. He adored each and every one of them and enjoyed their visits and holidays shared together. He wasn’t much of a cook, but boy, did he love to eat! He mostly favored meat dishes such as chicken or roasts, yet never passed up a good slice of pie, cake, or dessert! An avid Detroit Tigers fan, win or lose, he stayed loyal each and every season. When the winter months hit, he was sure to pick up good history books, especially those written on the Civil War or tune in to his favorite television shows; Better Call Saul and Lodge 49. A special pastime of his was studying his family genealogy. He loved to learn more about his ancestors and cherished his keepsakes from yesteryear especially his Roseville pottery and Kentucky Derby glasses.
Never one to remain idle, he enjoyed visiting with his many special retired friends from Consumers at their luncheons sharing about his family or catching up on the latest news. Sadly, Vance suffered a heart attack at home and was rushed to Butterworth Hospital where he died a short time later. He will forever be remembered for his optimism and ability to put others at ease. A marvelous man to know and to love, he will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
Vance Giles Harger, aged 90, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away unexpectedly on Monday, August 12, 2019. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Lois Harger (Fernamburg) and his son, Vance C. Harger. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jenny Harger; his children, Renee Woodworth, Kimberly (Barney) Baranowski, Harvey Harger; 9 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren; nieces, nephews, and special friends. Vance retired from Consumers Energy where he worked for 50 years. He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution and Rockford Historical Society. A family gathering to share stories and memories of Vance will be held on Friday, August 16, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Contributions in his memory may be made to Humane Society of West Michigan. To sign Vance’s guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com