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Life Story / Obituary
Wendy Michelle Vandermeer's life was full of love. Whether she was giving or receiving the love makes no difference, as love was always present. She was a kind person, a loving wife, and a caring mother. Wendy leaves her friends and family with so many beautiful memories, and we will miss her dearly.
Wendy's life began in 1970. The dawn of the new decade took notes from the previous one when it came to music. Many beloved songs still heard today made their debut. Stereos everywhere enjoyed The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel with "Let It Be" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which won the Grammy for best song of the year. In this year, younger children enjoyed the popular Barbie Doll, and a single piece of mail with postage cost only 6 cents. Also, we celebrated the first Earth Day in Wendy's birth year. The political opportunity to exercise the right to vote became possible for teenagers when President Nixon signed a bill stating eighteen years old was the new legal age.
Just a few days after Thanksgiving, Simon and Judy (Houtman) Bruinsma became tired of turkeys in the oven! They gratefully and joyfully welcomed their sweet baby girl into the world. Wendy Michelle joined her big sister, Tamara, to complete the Bruinsma Family. Together, they looked forward to the rest of the holiday season with the love and hope of a young family.
The location of the family's home was on Lockridge Drive NE in Grand Rapids. Wendy's parents provided a comfortable and memorable childhood. Her father worked in construction, and her mother took care of keeping the house organized and functional. As the girls grew older, she helped contribute while working at a dental and ophthalmologist office.
Wendy and Tamara created many memories together during their childhood days. They both sang with the Beckwith Hills CRC in the youth choir and participated in GEMS (a girls Bible club). Wendy took piano lessons for many years, and she faithfully practiced!
The girls, along with their parents, looked forward to the annual family tradition of walking the Mackinaw Bridge on Labor Day. They did this for 15 straight years! When the girls became teenagers, however, the tradition faded. Their maturity did not keep them from continuing to make memories at the cottage on Lake Tahoe (in Michigan) with the fun of extended family. And the family Christmas celebrations in Fred Hollebeek's funeral home basement were delightful.
Wendy attended Creston Christian schools which provided her with strong academics and extracurricular opportunities. She excelled in gymnastics, and she practiced diligently earning a varsity letter in the sport. Wendy celebrated graduation from Grand Rapids Christian High School with the class of 1989.
After earning her high school diploma, Wendy set her sights on attending Davenport College to study medical transcribing for which she received an associate degree. Furthering her education was only part of her focus, however. As fate would have it, she was also working on her bowling game - if only for one extraordinary night. This particular night held intriguing promise, for Wendy was embarking on a blind date that would impact the rest of her life.
Dwight Vandermeer was also prepping for this special fall evening in 1988, as he traveled to Fairlanes Bowling Alley on 28th Street. Dwight's brother and Wendy's sister played matchmakers, never knowing how their actions would change the future forever. Though there may have been a few strikes that evening, Wendy and Dwight were not one of them.
In fact, the happy couple dated for four years after that. They finally planned a wedding for the spring of 1992. May 2 was truly a magical day. Friends and family filled Beckwith Hills CRC, and the weather was divine. Wendy wanted to mark the moment forever. Before her father walked her down the aisle, she said, "Walk like a marine (real slow) so everyone can see my dress." The dress was elegant, and the moment was lovely. To keep the theme of the day, the newlyweds drove to celebrate in a classy Rolls Royce. Mr. and Mrs. Vandermeer received guests for a reception at Egypt Valley CC. The magic continued because Wendy and Dwight honeymooned at Disney World and took a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas.
When they returned home as husband and wife, they settled into their new home in Cutlerville. They stayed there for about two years before deciding to move into Wendy's childhood home on Lockridge Drive. In this home, Wendy celebrated the rest of her beautiful days on this Earth.
These days of beauty included the birth of her two children: Kaitlyn (1996) and Lauren (1999). Motherhood came naturally to Wendy, as she was a fun and caring mother. She always helped with homework and volunteered in the classroom. The family held to traditions which included Christmas BINGO and 4th of July vacations in Traverse City. They also looked forward to bringing in each New Year with fondue; however, they renamed it "fun-doh" because it was all deep-fried treats.
Aside from raising children, Wendy worked at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology and an OB-GYN private practice. Additionally, she taught classes at Ross and Everett Business schools. Most recently, she worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield Network of Michigan.
When Wendy had the chance to relax, she enjoyed working on adult coloring books because she liked the detailed pictures. She also had great patience in solving crossword puzzles and Suduku. Wendy loved Jim Brikman's music, show tunes, and musicals; "Annie" and "The Sound of Music" were two of her favorites. Just recently, Wendy ventured on a mother-daughter trip to see "Anastasia" in Detroit.
Sadly, we find ourselves celebrating Wendy's life too soon. She passed away on September 2, 2019. Our unexpected loss forces us to recollect all of the moments we were able to share with Wendy. In this time of sadness, she would want us to find comfort in these shared memories. We will never forget her loving (yet sometimes sarcastic) and caring ways. As we look to one another for understanding in our grief, we will keep her spirit close to our hearts.
Loving wife, mother, daughter, and friend passed away unexpectedly September 2, 2019. Wendy was born November 30, 1970 to Simon and Judy (Houtman) Bruinsma. She married Dwight Vandermeer on May 2, 1992. Wendy was preceded in death by her mother, Judy Bruinsma; and sister, Tamara McCully. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Dwight; daughters, Kaitlyn and Lauren Vandermeer; father, Simon (Donna) Bruinsma, Jr.; brother in law, Brian McCully; several aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers in law; and many nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held Friday September 6, 2019 at 12 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit with family on Thursday from 5-8 PM and Friday beginning at 11 AM. Interment will be in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Please visit Wendy's personal web page to read more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.