Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Walter E. Bramley

April 4, 1930 - April 7, 2024
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, April 12, 2024
11:00 AM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613

Visitation for 1 hr prior to the service

Driving Directions


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.

Corewell Health Hospice
750 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(866) 542-7945
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Gentle, loving, and kind, Walter E. Bramley lived a life rich in faith and family. Walter was a man who never required the spotlight and who found his greatest joy in serving others. Walter's quiet, calm, and unwavering faith proved a deep comfort for all who were blessed to know him. A devoted family man, Walter proudly dedicated himself to the well-being of those he loved. He led by example and proved a powerful role model for how to live a wholehearted and faith-centered life. A cherished husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, Walter will long be remembered and so very missed.

Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression,1930 beheld a power of hope that undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in the home of William Harold and Edna Isabell (Hannum) Bramley as they welcomed their son, Walter, on April 4, in Caldwell, Ohio.

The oldest of the three Bramley children, Walter grew up in the good company of his siblings, Ralph and Margaret. Following William's work, the family moved from farm to farm. Walter attended local public schools, and the family was very involved in the Free Methodist Church.

After graduating from high school, Walter attended Spring Arbor University, where he met Margaret "Peggy" Louise Ingalls. Instantly smitten, Walter successfully battled his shyness to muster up the courage to ask Peggy if he could walk her from class to her dorm. Peggy accepted his request, and the pair began to forge the beginnings of their relationship.

After a year of schooling, Walter began working in the optical industry. He and Peggy wrote many letters to one another and officially began dating. Deeply in love, the happy couple married on September 1, 1950, at Free Methodist Church in Grand Rapids. Though the newlyweds didn't take a honeymoon, they did travel to Zanesville, Ohio, to visit his parents.

Walter and Peggy settled into marriage on Prospect Ave. NE. Walter continued to work in the optical industry, "marking" lenses, while Peggy did the office work. In time, they were overjoyed to welcome three children into their lives. Christine, Marlene, and Ralph were the centers of their world. While Peggy devoted herself to the care of the home and family, Walter proudly dedicated himself to providing for his family. For many years, Walter worked downtown and would walk to work. Sometimes, on his way home, he would stop at the peanut factory and bring home a bag of shelled peanuts for the family.

Every year, when school was out, the family took a one-week trip to Ohio to see family. They also enjoyed traveling up north from time to time. At home, Walter was always willing to lend a hand. He helped Peggy bake Christmas cookies and made dinner every Sunday to give Peggy a break. Walter was very conscious of what he ate and always wanted well-balanced meals. He enjoyed a big meat and potato meal, as long as it didn't include chicken, which he'd had way too much of growing up on the farm.

Walter was completely devoted to Peggy, their family, and the church. An active member of First Free Methodist Church, Walter served as a deacon and later on the construction board in building a new church building. Walter enjoyed the simple things in life, like listening to WFUR and singing his favorite religious songs as he walked around the house. He enjoyed growing flowers and vegetables in his yard, taking pictures and developing them in his basement, and making homemade donuts. He read the Bible and religious books and enjoyed repairing radios and TVs. The family's first television was a black and white he had repaired. Fishing with his brother-in-law Alvin on Long Lake was always a good time. Every day, Walter either rode an exercise bike or walked the treadmill while watching the evening news.

One of the greatest gifts Walter gave his family was the example of his marriage to Peggy. They exemplified a marriage built on the firm foundation of faith, love, hope, and mutuality. Walter couldn't recall ever having an argument, and they complimented each other in nearly every way. Walter was an introverted country boy, while Peggy was an extroverted city girl. Together, they shared a life of deep companionship most only dream of. They were blessed to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a trip to Niagara Falls, and later in life, Walter lovingly cared for Peggy at home after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Later, when Peggy required additional, specialized care, she moved to Rest Haven Homes, where Marlene worked. Sadly, Walter's son Ralph died in 2013, and Peggy followed a year later.

Leaning into the comforts of his faith and family, Walter remained at home and active, making meals, gardening, enjoying music, and life's many joys for over ten years. When he found himself struggling to live alone, Walter shared with his daughter Marlene that he could no longer live on his own. Marlene welcomed him into her home in February, where he remained until he passed away.

Though life feels far less certain in the absence of Walter's steadfast companionship, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying his beautiful legacy of faith, hope, and love forward. In each moment we confidently face life's challenges, greet the day with gratitude, share our time and talents in service of others, treasure our beloved, and enjoy time spent with our loved ones we celebrate all the ways Walter made the world a better place. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.

Mr. Walter E. Bramley, age 94, of Grand Rapids, passed away on April 7, 2024. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Louise "Peggy"; son, Ralph H. Bramley; brother-in-law, Harvey Thorla and sister-in-law, Geneva Bramley. Walter is survived by his daughters, Christine Owens and Marlene (Larry) Croschere; 6 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; and sister, Margaret Thorla; and brother, Ralph Bramley. The funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Contributions in his memory may be made to Corewell Health Hospice. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read his life story, submit a favorite memory or photo, and sign the guestbook.