Wednesday, May 25, 2016
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van't Hof Chapel
851 Leonard St., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Visitation times subject to change -
Thursday, May 26, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Orchard Hill Reformed Church
1465 3 Mile Road NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Thursday, May 26, 2016
2:30 PM EDT
Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens
2894 Patterson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Life Story / Obituary
After spending only a few moments with Beryl Bennett, it was easy to see that she was a lover of life as well as a lover of all who were near. She was compassionate, understanding, and filled with unconditional love for both her family and friends. There was never anything that was of greater significance in Beryl’s life than her family, and she was filled with unspeakable joy when her family grew to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren who made her so very proud. Cheerful, bubbly, and outgoing, she could always find the positive side of every situation. Deeply loved, Beryl leaves behind a brilliantly colored mosaic of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their heart.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Innovation was taking us places we had never been with radios, washing machines, and motion pictures in both color and sound being among the most noteworthy advancements. These were primarily prosperous days when Americans were thrilled to be able to see more of the world around them as cars were more affordable as they were being widely mass produced on assembly lines. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1924 when Leonard and Dorothy (Sytsma) Meyer experienced a time of great joy in their lives for a much different reason as they welcomed a healthy baby girl into their hearts and home on January 11th in Comstock Park, Michigan. Born Beryl Lois, she was the second of seven children to be raised on a farm along Alpine Road between Four Mile and Lamereaux in Comstock Park. She and her family, including her four brothers, Ralph, Ivan, Nevin, and Ken, and her sisters, Marian and Donna, were members of Fairview Reformed Church. There, Beryl came to internalize the faith that would be her constant companion throughout her life.
In many ways Beryl was a young girl of her generation. She loved growing up on the farm and made so many amazing memories as a girl. Beryl loved the outdoors and started golfing while growing up, which was something she loved well into her seventies. She attended local schools including Comstock Park High School where she was actively involved. Beryl was a talented athlete who was a cheerleader, captain of the basketball team, was involved with the school newspaper, and served as vice president and president of her class. She went on to graduate from high school in 1941.
Not to be forgotten during her years in high school was Beryl’s introduction to the young man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Edward Bennett, and they met as he was working on the farm as a teen. During the early 1940s America was deeply entrenched in WWII, and Ed was called to serve. They became sweethearts and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Beryl and Ed were married on August 1, 1946, after he returned home. The newlyweds settled into an apartment and started their family. They moved into their home at 2500 Alpine Avenue where they raised their four children, Chuck, Cheryl, Cynthia, and Terry. As a mom Beryl ran the household from day to day, and she was not afraid to discipline. She always kept a clean and organized home, and her yard was always a sight to see as she kept it blooming with the most amazing flowers. Beryl loved camping, beginning with tents when their children were young, and over the years they took several trips to state parks with her children and other family members. Even family picnics were special to Beryl. She was there to support her children in everything they did, and if there was a sporting event Beryl was sure to be involved. She and Ed were a very social couple who were often doing things with friends, and they also did a lot of bowling and golfing as they were members of the local country club. Beryl and Ed also refereed basketball games together when their children were growing up.
Although her family was always first and foremost, Beryl busied herself with other things she enjoyed as well. She spent some time working at Fairview School and was also involved in the PTA there. When Ed’s job took them to Bay City, Beryl kept busy with that PTA as well. While in Grand Rapids, Beryl had completed two years of college at Western Michigan, but with a desire to earn her bachelor’s degree she continued her schooling and eventually earned her master’s in education from Central Michigan University. Beryl enjoyed her career in the teaching industry beginning at St. Stanislaus in Bay City and later at Bay City Public. When they moved to Chesaning, Michigan, she spent 15 years teaching third and fourth grades at New Lothrop. It was while teaching there that Ed lost his battle with cancer and passed away. After retiring, Beryl returned to Grand Rapids to be near her brothers and sisters, settling into an apartment on land that was adjacent to the old farm.
During her retirement years, Beryl continued to keep busy. She became involved at Orchard Hill Reformed Church, serving as an elder and also becoming the director for elderly care and visitation. Beryl also volunteered for Kids Hope USA. She was always doing something with her family as well as with Ed’s family, and she savored spending time with her grandchildren. Beryl was able to see her grandchildren who lived in Michigan more often, but of course she never could get enough of seeing any of them. She also did more traveling to places like Europe, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Beryl was very social with all of her neighbors, and she always had the coffee on and ready.
As her health declined over the past couple of years, Beryl needed more help and moved to Traverse City to be closer to her son about two years ago. Although her declining health could be a challenge, she always knew where she would be going at the end of her journey.
Independent, kind, and equipped with a wonderful sense of humor, Beryl Bennett was a blessing to everyone she met. She was easygoing and even-keeled with a personality that brought the world around her to life. Beryl was deeply devoted to her family, and it will be her precious loved ones who carry on her timeless legacy.
Mrs. Beryl L. Bennett, age 92 of Traverse City and formerly of Grand Rapids, passed away May 3, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward, 1979; her sisters Marian Sommer and Donna Kovolak; and brothers Ralph and Ivan Meyer. Mrs. Bennett is survived by her children Chuck & Linda Bennett, Cheryl & David Abney, Cynthia & David Ankney; Terry & Becky Bennett; her 11 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren; her brothers Nevin (Barb) and Ken (Sarah) Meyer; brother-in-law, Judd Kovalak; and many nieces and nephews. Her funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 11 AM at Orchard Hill Reformed Church, 1465 3 Mile Road NW. Friends are invited to visit with her family on Wednesday, May 25 from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van't Hof Chapel, 851 Leonard NW and at church on Thursday from 10 AM until the service. Interment in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Orchard Hill Church for Kids Hope USA are appreciated. To read more about Beryl, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com