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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Not many people live a lifetime of putting others first, but that’s exactly how to describe the life of Vernon Vos. Selfless. Vern was always willing to help others and tried to live a Christian life. He always tried to do what pleased the Lord, loving God first and working hard providing for his family in countless ways including, spiritually, educationally, financially, and providing homes for his children and grandchildren. He will be missed and lovingly remembered for his many selfless acts and gifts for his family and friends.
Vernon Eugene was born to Jack and Eunice Vos (Leifers) on April 7,1925, in Muskegon, Michigan, the third of 4 children. Vernon was the quiet child among his siblings and excelled in mathematics and carpentry, taking after his father. His parents moved to Grand Rapids and the family became members of Berean Baptist Church. The Christian faith instilled in him by both parents continued to sustain him throughout his life and he never wavered from his beliefs.
Vernon was called to join the Army Air Corps during WWII in 1943 where he flew B-24 Bomber planes. He was proud of his ability to pilot and navigate from the air and prouder yet to defend his country. He often talked about his time he served our nation. Later on in his life when he developed dementia, he heard of a world conflict and was willing to serve his country again and said, “I’ll go defend this country, I’m old, but if they’d give me a gun I’d defend this country.” His story of being willing to serve, like so many men of the great generation, is a reflection of his character. After the war ended, Vern attended Michigan State University and graduated with a Mechanical Engineering Degree.
At the age of 27, Vernon married his wife, Ruth Mae Debruyn where they met at Berean Baptist Church. They had their first child, Cynthia Ruth in 1957, followed by Judith Kay in 1959, and a third girl, Mary Beth in 1960, followed by his first son, Thomas Mark in 1961, and another son John Steven in 1966. He loved family life, as was evident from his devotion and hard work for his children and wife.
He built his first home for them at 1813 Orchard Lane. There he made wonderful memories for his family some include; building a swimming pool, putting up swings, and being the first on the block to have a trampoline. He put up floodlights so the neighborhood children could go sledding down the hill in the back yard. He put together countless bikes, and fixed mini bikes, snowmobiles, and any type of entertainment for his family that would need fixing. Saturday nights were often spent viewing family slides, having a fire in the fireplace, or watching favorite shows on TV while getting ready for church the next day.
Vernon wanted to give his family many experiences and would take annual family vacations visiting his parents in Florida, and going to the Chicago museums, as well as Niagara Falls, and Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. Often Sunday afternoons would be spent at the Grand Rapids Museum, John Ball Zoo, or playing Monopoly on the living room floor. The greatest family time would be spent during summers at the cottage on Maranatha Bible Conference. The family would have 42 years of spending time in Bible study, arts and crafts, puzzles, swimming, biking and beach fun. Vern loved to spend time golfing and went on the yearly golf outing with his friend Lou and his sons. Starting with a family of five and adding sons and daughter- in- laws, grandchildren and even great grandchildren, the cottage was a wonderful time for family.
For his livelihood, he worked for a time at GM and then built a business, Vos Mower Sales, with his brother Dave. Through their successful business, they earned many trips and traveled with their wives to Switzerland, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas in addition to many places in the United States. After they sold the business, he became part owner in a few nursing homes where he spent time keeping things in working order at Glenwood Christian Nursing Home.
Other activities Vern enjoyed during his middle years were bowling night, where he always invited any of his children to come along. He sang in the church choir. He also made annual trips fishing with a family friend and hunting with his brother-in-law Doug and brother Dave, nephews and sons. He loved to golf and visited many golf courses throughout Michigan. He often spent evenings reading National Geographic Magazines and learning about wildlife. He was fascinated by God’s creation.
Being a grandparent was another joy for Vernon. He spent countless hours babysitting, and going on outings with his seven grandchildren. He was generous and supported them whether it was teaching how to ride a bike, or spending hours watching leaps and jumps of his granddaughter in her tutu, and swimming at the pool. He was always willing to do for them and gave generously towards their education so they might achieve their dreams.
Whenever any one of Vernon’s children had a problem he would say, “I’d do anything for my kids,” and he did. In his lifetime, he built 8 houses. He built each of his five children a home where they were able to raise their children, so essentially, he provided a home for his 7 grandchildren as well. He even flew out to Oregon to build a house for his son John. At the age of 73, after having a heart attack, he built the last home for his daughter Mary and granddaughter Sara. He later resided there with them for his final years.
Vern would always quote this Bible verse, Hebrews 9:27, “It’s appointed onto man once to die and after this the judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” He was comforted by that verse knowing he would see Jesus after death, and he would be reunited with his wife, mother, and father and others that had gone before him. Even in death, Vern was not afraid and was only concerned about if he had loved God enough.
Vernon Eugene Vos, age 97, of Grand Rapids, went to be with his Lord on February 6, 2023. He was born April 7, 1925, the son of Jack and Eunice Vos. He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years Ruth Mae Vos. He is survived by his children, Cynthia (Dave) Kielbasa, Judy (Don) Mulder, Mary Guidry, Tom (Ann) Vos, John Vos; grandchildren, Brooke Koerber, Kyle Linkfield, Andrew and Eric Mulder, Sara Guidry, and Haley and Hannah Vos, and three great grandchildren Kaiden, Carson and Bella. He will be lovingly remembered for his selfless love and willingness to serve others. Vernon proudly served his country in the Army Air Corps as a bomber pilot during WWII. He graduated from Michigan State University as a Mechanical Engineer and owned Vos Mower Sales with his brother Dave Vos. He built eight homes during his lifetime including a home for each of his children. Vern was a giving loving father, grandfather, and great grandfather who devoted his life to his God and family. At his request cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be held on Monday February 13, 2023 at 7:00 PM at the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, (1833 Plainfield Ave. NE., Grand Rapids, MI 49505). Friends may visit with his family prior to the service beginning at 6:00 PM. A special thanks to Faith Hospice for the unwavering, compassionate care bestowed to Vernon and his family. Memorials may be sent to Faith Hospice, (2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546).