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.
Talsma Children's Education Fund c/o Lake Michigan Credit Union
PO Box 2848
Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Life Story / Obituary
Rebecca “Becky” Lynn Talsma was a loving and devoted woman to her family and friends. Described as a Mother Hen, she took care of her husband and children and guarded their precious time together. She was also hospitable and generous, inviting friends into the joy of her home. Her hard work and careful planning matched her bubbly personality and energetic nature. Her grounding in childhood contributed to her family life and career. Becky had a strong sense of self, a responsible spirit toward others and a deep appreciation for beauty.
Rebecca Lynn was born November 20, 1979 at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the end of a decade marked by protests over war and government misconduct. By contrast, popular culture introduced mood rings, Rubik’s cubes and yellow smiley faces—a fitting welcome for a bright girl who was described as a “little cutie” with a lot of confidence.
Becky was the youngest of Richard and Mary (Kozak) Ruster’s three children, growing up on a farm since the age of 20 months. Her mother worked at Meijer stores while her father worked for Dean Foods and raised dairy cows, which meant that Lisa, Neil and Becky also did their share of farm chores. Some tasks had to be completed before school, and if any one of the kids had something they wanted to do, they helped each other out.
Country life did a great deal to shape the family’s values of hard work and cooperation, health and responsibility. In addition to farm duties, Becky was heavily invested in 4-H and showed horses regularly. The kids played outdoors constantly—building forts, exploring the landscape and caring for animals—never minding how dirty they got. This was true of Becky, though in years to come, she was good-heartedly teased about being a farm girl who never wore jeans. Becky had a sense of style and design that always had her looking sharp and dressing “to the nines.”
One consequence of farm life came when Becky was ten years old. On Christmas Eve, one of the cows died unexpectedly and a decision was made to butcher it on site. Becky was told to stay out of the barn, but her natural curiosity got the best of her and she snuck a look. From that day on she would not eat meat. However, she was gracious in adulthood to prepare meat dishes for others, because she always put the interests of others before her own.
Becky’s education took her from a 3-room school house through the 2nd grade in Lamont, Michigan to Coopersville Schools and eventually Grand Valley State University. As a vivacious pre-teen, she was on the middle school cheerleading squad, and as an outdoor-loving teen, she worked for Katerburg Verhage Landscapers and showed talent in design. After graduating from Coopersville High School in 1998, Becky took a housekeeping job that led to her enrollment in GVSU. She wanted to go into graphic arts but the university didn’t yet have a program, so she completed a degree in Advertising. While attending GVSU, Becky boarded at the home of close friend, Bill Byrnes, and during this time she became his travel agent whenever he traveled for work as part of a NASCAR pit crew. It was about that time when Becky began jogging, soon developing her lifelong passion for running. Still, her first love was Ben Talsma.
Fifteen year-old Becky had met Ben when they were both attending the Berlin Fair with friends. It happened to be a cool evening and he lent her his HS Die Jacket from work. That was the beginning of a 7-year dating relationship that culminated in marriage on August 17, 2002 at Remembrance Church. The newlyweds relaxed on a honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean.
Having become part of the Talsma family, Becky deepened the bond when she went to work for Ben’s mother, Barb, at Bar Stools and More. Her design talent came to light and her knowledge as a sales person garnered many loyal customers. She was very disciplined and organized. When she started a task, she completed it and did it right! As a result, Barb recognized Becky’s abilities and eventually made her manager. She trusted Becky implicitly and was very confident in leaving the store in Becky’s capable hands.
When Becky and Ben welcomed three children into their lives—Grayson, Trevor, and Jillian—family became Becky’s focus. She was very protective of them and preferred to spend time with them instead of out socializing. Instead, she entertained friends and family at home, cooking delicious meals and baking tasty treats. She loved to celebrate with birthday parties and holiday gatherings. Recently, she surprised Ben for his 40th birthday, extending the fun over a period of days. They spent the first day on Torch Lake, then they went sky diving, and the final surprise was awaiting Ben when they arrived home. Becky had had the driveway paved.
Becky was always thinking of others, and at the same time, she concentrated on looking “put together.” Day or night, she had her make-up on, her hair done and her clothes fashionably chosen, which might give the impression that she was focused on herself. But that was not the case. Becky wasn’t out to impress, it was just who she was—beautiful on the outside as well as the inside.
Becky surrounded herself with beauty, decorating the home and changing the interior design multiple times over the years. She made her home a sanctuary of peace and quiet—no TV for Becky (though the occasional on-line shopping). Running also created time for Becky to be alone with her thoughts. She ran every day, often getting up at 5:45am, 365 days a year. She would run from her house to her sister’s, run on her treadmill, then run home. It might have seemed like an all-consuming obsession, but Becky always had her household duties done first, lunches made and house clean. She ran for causes, such as Girls on the Run with her niece Emma, and ran some races, including the River Bank Run twice. She even ran throughout her pregnancies, right up until she gave birth and again as soon as the doctor gave her the okay. As had been the case in childhood, Becky loved being outdoors and active.
While out running on Sunday, September 20, 2015, Becky was tragically struck by a motor vehicle and died of her injuries. She will be sorely missed and loving remembered as a deeply caring wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and cousin and a friend to all.
Rebecca “Becky” Talsma aged 35, of Tallmadge Twp., Michigan is survived by her husband of 13 years, Ben; children, Grayson, Trevor, and Jillian; parents, Richard and Mary Ruster; mother-in-law, Barbara Smith; and father-in-law, Bruce (Sandy) Talsma. Also surviving are her siblings, Lisa (Carl) Wiltenburg and Neil (Raeanne) Ruster; sisters-in-law, Terri (Jimmy) Bousaab and Jennifer (Ron) Hagman; Bill Byrne; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11 AM on Friday, September 25th at the family’s church of membership, Remembrance Church, 4575 Remembrance Rd. NW. The family will receive visitors from 5-8 PM on Thursday at the church. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read Becky’s lifestory, archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online