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Life Story / Obituary
Three words that would describe Arlene are kind, patient, and humble. She greeted everyone with a smile but it was her eyes that would light up and show she was genuinely happy to see you. She was strong and didn’t allow drama in her life, you had to deal with whatever life sent your way and move forward. Her family loved her and children adored her because she was so kind and patient. She always thought of others before herself.
Her life began in June 1933, born to Archie and Dorothy Heslinga, right in the middle of the depression. She and her older sister Dorothy, were 5 years apart but had a life-long friendship. They lived on Quarry St in Grand Rapids as youngsters. Arlene remembers walking to church with her mother and sister Dorothy every Sunday because Archie did not attend church and would not offer to drive them unless it was pouring rain. That was the way it was back during the depression.
Arlene did well in school getting good grades at Union High School and she enjoyed dancing as a member of the Follies. Arlene caught Joe Davidoski’s eye – he was one year behind Arlene. They dated through high school graduating in 1951 and 1952 respectively.
Joe was drafted and after he finished boot camp, Arlene and Joe were married in September 1955. Then Joe went off to Germany for his military service while Arlene stayed behind in Grand Rapids working at General Motors in the office.
When Joe returned home from service, he got a job at the Power Company and Arlene left the work force so they could start a family. Bradd Alan was born in December 1957. They purchased their first house on Powers Ave and lived there for 57 years. Patti Ann was born October 1960 and three years later Sara Jane was born in November 1963.
Arlene went back to work at Harrison Park Elementary School when her youngest, Sara, went into first grade. She was able to work full days at school and still be home for her children. Working with the reading program at Harrison Park, she was able to positively touch the lives of many, many children. It was common to be at the grocery store or at a restaurant and have one of her students say “Hi Mrs. Davidoski” and get introduced to the child’s parents.
She was devoted to her family and would drop everything to make you a cup of hot tea with milk and sugar and listen to how your day had gone. One example of her patience was when her children would pester her to allow them to shift gears when she put in the clutch in her manual transmission car while driving down the road.
She took pride in a spotless home and dinner was almost always at 6 pm. Meat and potatoes were Joe’s favorite so it was a staple on most nights. Holidays she would make sure there was enough food for everyone by preparing enough for leftovers to take home. The one chore she seemed to really enjoy was ironing. The laundry was in the basement so she had a small TV near her ironing board where she could watch while she ironed.
For decades she always maintained her Saturday ritual with her sister Dorothy to have lunch at Fables. Once Fables closed, they moved their weekly get together to Mr Burger. They were well known at Mr Burger and even the wait staff would entertain them until they were laughing so hard they were in tears.
As her children grew up and moved out, got married, and had children, she had more and more time on her hands. She had retired from Harrison Park before Joe retired so she would spend more time visiting with the ladies in the neighborhood. Her hobbies included gardening, reading, and spending time with children – grandchildren, great grandchildren, or the neighbor kids.
When Joe retired, it meant relaxation but it also meant she no longer went solo to the grocery store. Joe was becoming domesticated and would join her providing his input even if she didn’t need it. ☺ They would take day trips in the car. Then Joe discovered the Soaring Eagle casino and that became a common destination for them. Penny slots were their gig and the occasional windfall would come their way.
After 57 years in their first home, it was getting too much to maintain and their health wasn’t what it had been so they moved into a retirement home. Joe passed away 5 months after they had moved so Arlene moved in with daughter Patti and son-in-law Kerry.
Arlene liked that Patti and Kerry lived “in the country” and that was a first for her. She enjoyed the country life for her final 2 years spending summers on the back porch watching corn grow and spending winters sitting around and talking about memories and her life as a child and her family.
She passed away quietly at home with Patti. She will be greatly missed.
DAVIDOSKI, Arlene J.
Grand Rapids, MI
After a lifetime of serving and caring for her husband, family and many others including her beloved students at Harrison Park Elementary, Arlene (Heslinga) Davidoski passed quietly through the veil to dwell with her ancestors in the mansion prepared for her by God for eternity. Those celebrating her life preceding her in death, are her husband Joseph Davidoski, and brother-in-law, George Gaastra; and surviving, are her sister, Dorothy (Heslinga) Gaastra, her children, Bradd (Melissa) Davidoski, Patti (Kerry) Faul and Sara (John) Bronson; a niece, a nephew and their families; 3 grandchildren; and 9 great grandchildren. Her funeral service will be Monday, February 13th at 1 PM at Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit with the family beginning at 11 AM. Interment will be in Washington Park Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to Ionia Area Hospice. Please visit Arlene's personal web page to learn more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.