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Bernice Kolenbrander

January 25, 1925 - August 17, 2015
Holland, MI

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Visitations


Thursday, August 20, 2015
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Maplewood Reformed Church
133 East 34th Street
Holland, MI 49423
(616) 396-8272

Services


Thursday, August 20, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
Maplewood Reformed Church
133 East 34th Street
Holland, MI 49423
(616) 396-8272

Contributions


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.

Western Theological Seminary
101 East 13th Street
Holland, MI 49423

Life Story / Obituary


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When reflecting on the life of Bernice Kolenbrander, it is easy to see that her unwavering faith was the compass she used to direct her steps. Although she was never overbearing or boisterous in her beliefs, she taught others what it means to live a Christian life through the decisions she made each day. A loving wife and devoted mother, Bernice cherished her family, and there was nothing that made her happier than witnessing her family grow to include the children and great-grandchildren she adored. Always gracious, nurturing, and loving, there was no one who met Bernice and wasn’t incredibly blessed. She will be deeply missed but forever remembered.

It was great to be an American during the decade that we recall as the Roaring Twenties. Radios, refrigerators, and motion pictures in both color and sound were among the latest advancements. The way we got around changed, too, since cars were more affordable with the widespread implementation of the assembly line, and Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh were also transforming the world of flight. This was an exciting time in the lives of John and Grace Kleinheksel for a much different reason as they were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as winter held the city of Holland, Michigan, firmly in its grip in January of 1925. The big day finally arrived on January 25th when the baby girl they named Bernice drew her first breath. She was a typical young girl of her generation who attended local schools and graduated from Holland High School in 1943.

Also around this same time, Bernice’s life was forever changed. She had met a handsome young man named Edwin Kolenbrander through mutual friends and was never the same. It was the early forties when WWII was raging on overseas, and Edwin was one of the numerous men called to serve during this time of great need. Bernice waited for him to return from the Merchant Marines where he spent two years serving in the Pacific and two years in the Atlantic. After his return, they were married on June 5, 1945, at the parsonage of Maplewood Reformed Church by Rev. Henry Ten Clay. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon in New York City for three weeks. Together Bernice and her husband welcomed three children including Kenneth, Judith, and Karen into their hearts and home. She was a loving and attentive wife and mother whose skills in the kitchen were fantastic. Bernice’s husband was usually the one to take care of grilling steaks, and together they made a great team. She made it a priority to raise her children in a Christ-centered home where there was plenty of love. Bernice saw to it that her home was a peaceful haven of rest where all were welcome. A longtime active member of Maplewood Reformed Church, she also saw to it that her children were involved at church as well.

Throughout her life Bernice was one to keep busy. For years she taught in the children’s education program at church and also taught music there at times. Bernice was very accomplished at knitting, and she also crocheted afghans for all nine of her grandchildren. Bernice regularly invited her children into the kitchen to do some baking with her, and she later did this with her grandchildren as well. In addition, she liked reading, taking long walks with Edwin, playing both the piano and organ as well as singing. After Edwin retired in 1984, they did some traveling to places like the Canadian Rockies, Europe, and Hawaii, and they also spent many winters in Florida. However, their favorite place was the Smokey Mountains.

All who knew Bernice Kolenbrander would agree that she was one of the sweetest people around. She was always caring and loving with a nurturing spirit that loved being with kids. Bernice enjoyed music and traveling, but what made these things even better was sharing them with the ones she loved. The eternal optimist, Bernice could brighten even the darkest of days. Although she will be forever missed, she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that will never be forgotten.

Bernice (Kleinheksel) Kolenbrander, of Holland, died Monday, August 17, 2015, at Appledorn Assisted living Center. Bernice’s family includes her children, Kenneth (Ann) Kolenbrander of Zeeland, Judith (Lon) Morin of Holland, Karen (Mark) Hoenecke of Holland; as well as 9 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Edwin, in 2013. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, August 20, 2015, at Maplewood Reformed Church, 133 East 34th St. with Revs. John Kleinheksel and Carl Balk officiating Burial will be in Graafschap Cemetery. Friends may call on the family at the church, Thursday, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. prior to the service. Memorial gifts may be given to Western Theological Seminary. Please visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com to sign an online registry or to leave a memory.

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