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Life Story / Obituary
Lynema; Bertha, age 98, of Martin, MI went to be with her Lord April 15, 2018. She was born March 2, 1920 in Chicago, IL the 13th child of Henry and Jennie Teninga’s 15 children. Bertha was named after her oldest sister who was struck by lightning in 1914.
Bertha was born in Chicago, IL where her father worked at the Plano factory which later became known as International Harvester. They moved to Michigan in December of 1921 when her father answered an ad in the newspaper to work for the Michigan Land Company. They lived in Bravo, MI, Shelbyville, MI and Chicago for the next few years. Her father eventually purchased a farm in Hopkins, MI which Bertha called “The 40”. They settled there where her father was a muck farmer until his death in 1945. Bertha tells of weekend baths in Gun Lake and family outings at Mt Baldy in Saugatuck, MI.
Bertha graduated from 8th grade at Dunwell School in Hopkins, MI. That was quite an accomplishment in 1934.
She was a pioneer in her time wearing pants and playing baseball when it wasn’t ladylike back then.
She worked as a nanny for Gene and Alice Vis, Plainwell, MI helping raise their 3 children. Often, she would bring one child back to the farm with her to spend the night. She worked for the Vis family until she married. Bertha named her first daughter Carol, after Vis’ daughter.
She married Cornelius Lynema at Dorr Christian Reformed Church, August 29, 1940 in Dorr, MI. This date was special since it was the same date that her parents were married 40 years earlier.
When first married, they lived in Shelbyville, MI. Neal made bricks after work at her brother in law’s brick factory for a house that he later would build for her in Martin. The house was completed about 1954, by then she had 5 children, Robert, Carol, Marilyn, Larry and Leslie. Bertha had a brother living on one side of her home and her mother and another brother on the other side, once again surrounded by family. Two years later her youngest child, Darlene, was born.
In 1965, Bertha’s husband became ill. She then earned her GED to begin work at Gibson Guitar in Kalamazoo, MI. She had joined the work force, once again something women did not do. She loved her job at Gibson where she made many friends whom she loved. She retired in 1980.
Neal and Bertha spent several winters in Florida, as Neal became more ill they sold their Florida mobile home. Bertha cared for him until his death in 1986.
Bertha did volunteer work for Pipp Hospital, was on a bowling league and loved garage saleing. She did not sit at home but was always on the go. She loved to visit family in Michigan and Chicago or just drive around looking for a good garage sale. Her sons were always on call to pick up any large object that she would acquire.
Her love in life was her grandchildren. She was always there to care for them and they always would put a smile on her face.
Bertha was a great cook, her door was always open and no one ever left there hungry. Everyone knew if they wanted a cup of coffee after church or any other day of the week, there was always room for them to sit at her kitchen table.
Above all else, Bertha loved and cared for people. She brought out the best in others and always found good in all people. She shared her love and compassion with a huge network of family and friends who in return loved her very much. If anyone in the community was in need of a meal, she was first in line with her famous chicken soup and delicious homemade pie which was hand delivered.
Bertha is survived by her children: Robert (Betty), Carol (Edward) Haveman, Marilyn (Paul) DeYoung, Larry, Leslie (Rena), Darlene (Phillip) Morrison; grandchildren Bobbi Jo (John) Huizenga, Dale (Brenda), Lauren (Tim) Vander Laan, Janice and Steve Huyser, Randy (Kris), Tamra (Jon) Pavlak, Michelle (Jamey) Nichols, Cheryl DeYoung, Keri (Stephen) Powers, Sarah Lynema, Benjamin Lynema, Amy (Ben) Forsman, Jill (Aaron) Pollack, Joan (James) Amos, Mary (Michael) St. Louis, Matthew Lynema, Michael Lynema, Thomas (Sara) Lynema; great grandchildren Nicholas, Jacob, Elizabeth and Catherine Huizenga, Patrick, Logan and Emma Lynema, Gavin, Riley and Thaddeus Vander Laan, Megan and Jessica Haveman, Kaylee and Ryan Haveman, Jeremiah (Mykel), Mitchel (Kaitlyn) and Nicole Pavlak, Gabriel, Samantha and Mitchell Nichols, Jeremy Powers, Noah, Abigail and Owen Forsman, Leah and Clara Pollack, Penelope and Evelyn Amos, Arjen St. Louis, Nathaniel, Andrew and Joshua Lynema, Reid and Sidney Lynema; great great grandchildren Emry, Levi and Abel Pavlak and Raven Pavlak; sisters in law Esther Schaafsma and Betty Earle, plus more than 1500 hundred nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Henry and Jennie; husband Cornelius; granddaughter Gail Lynema and grandson Wayne Haveman; brothers and sisters, Bertha Tuinstra #1, Geroge (Jennie), Peter (Lucille), Grace (Henry) Boss, the twins Lilly (Herman) Lodenstein and Fred (Jennie), Wiebe #1, Wiebe #2 (Clazina), Reka (Raymond) Medendorp, Henry Bert (Dorothy), Bert Richard, Boe (Rensena), Richard (Hester), Hilbert (Mildred); father and mother in law Gerrit (Abbie) Lynema; brothers in law and sisters in law: Johanna (Bert) Meyaard, Jake (Grace), Albert (Dorcia) Lynema, Dorothy (Henry) Tuinstra, John (Bertha) Lynema, Lewis Schaafsma, Garrit (Grace) Lynema, Roland Earle and several nieces and nephews.
Visit with family Thursday, April 19 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at East Martin Christian Reformed Church: 1782 5th St. Martin, Mi. A funeral service will be held Friday, April 20 at 11a.m. at East Martin Christian Reformed Church. The family will hold visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment after lunch at East Martin Cemetery.