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.
To a Library of your choice
Betty volunteered for many years at Yankee Clipper Library and was once secretary on the board. She was also an avid reader.
Parkinson's Association of West Michigan
260 Jefferson SE, Suite 210
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Betty Doezema, words such as nurturer, encourager, and caregiver come to mind, but perhaps the word that paints the most accurate picture of her is the word giver. Whether she was sacrificing for her family, her friends, or those within her community, she was forever giving without expecting anything in return. Betty was a loving and devoted wife and mother who was an amazing role model for the family that grew to include the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren she treasured. Life was not without times of struggle for Betty, but she faced whatever came her way with immeasurable strength without ever a complaint. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Although the 1920s were a great time to be an American, nothing could have been further from that reality during the 1930s as the entire decade was covered by the black cloud of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and countless Americans lost their homes. Despite the trials around them, Claude and Grace (Thompson) Tulip were filled with unspeakable joy to welcome a baby girl into their hearts and home on April 6, 1932. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Betty Marie was the middle of three girls as she was joined in her family by her older sister, Norma, and her younger sister, June. When she was about four, Betty’s family moved into a home on Ann Street.
In many ways, Betty was a young girl of her generation. She was described as a good kid who enjoyed reading, was a talented artist, and excelled in her studies at Palmer Elementary and Creston High School. It was while growing up that Betty established her lifelong love for reading, and while in high school she also helped on the school paper. She went on to graduate from high school, and shortly thereafter she found a job working in a local laundry.
Life soon became very exciting for Betty when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Albert “Al” Doezema, and they met at dance lessons at Arthur Murray. The two were smitten with one another right from the start, and they soon began dating. With a desire to establish a life together, Betty and Al were married on January 2, 1954. Shortly thereafter, they moved into the home he was finishing building on Maybelle, NE. This was the place that Betty called home for the rest of her life. Together they were blessed with the births of three children including David, Daniel, and Teresa.
From the moment she became a mother, Betty completely embraced the role, and she lived to nurture and care for her children. She was actively involved in their lives with all of their events and activities, and she loved puzzles, board games, and card games. She loved it even more when her children played those things with her and they always had fun as well. Even when her children were grown, Betty remained concerned about them and was always there to look out for them. When Al was working on one of his projects, she was there to help in whatever way was needed. Of course she was also the one who commonly cleaned up his projects as well! A meticulous homemaker, Betty knew where everything was in the house. If she didn’t, then it was considered gone.
Throughout her life, Betty was active within her community. She enjoyed being social so she liked getting out with bowling, golfing, and even playing volleyball at the school in the evenings being among her favorites. Because she wanted her daughter to be with other young girls, she got her involved in Bluebirds. Soon, Betty became a well-loved leader with this group and later became a Campfire leader as well. She was also involved with the PTA at the school and volunteered at the Yankee Clipper Library. Smart, capable, and dependable, Betty also served in leadership roles with many of these groups including as secretary for the local Campfire Girls, president of the PTA, on the board for the Friends of the Yankee Clipper Library, and even as the treasurer for the bowling leagues. Always content to just quietly serve, Betty rarely talked about any of these achievements.
Around 20 years ago, Betty and her family were given a tough pill to swallow when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She took it in stride without complaint, and Al took excellent care of her until his death in 2011.
All who knew Betty Doezema would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was kindhearted, generous, and likable with a wonderful sense of humor that she also passed on to her children. Betty taught her children to stand up for what was right, to play fair, and she also taught her children to see the good in others by the way she lived her life. She had an incredible gift in making everyone feel as though they were the most important person in her world, and although she had her opinions on things she never forced them on others. Betty lived an active lifestyle, but her family and friends always came first with the holidays being her favorite time of year to gather with the ones she loved. She will never be forgotten.
Betty M. Doezema, age 83 of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully into the hands of her Savior, Jesus Christ on January 18, 2016 after dealing with the challenges of Parkinson's Disease. She was a nice, caring person who loved her family and will never be forgotten. In addition to her parents, Claude and Grace Tulip, Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Albert; her daughter-in-law Cynthia Doezema; son-in-law Richard Hawkins; her sister and brother-in-law June and Herbert Wollner; and her sister-in-law and brother-in-law Lois and Charles Phelps. She was loved and will be dearly missed by her children David Doezema, Daniel (Helen) Doezema, and Teresa Hawkins; grandchildren Deming, Corinne, and Patricia Doezema, and Laura (Doug) Dempsey; great grandchildren Noah, Jonah and Hannah Dempsey; sister and brother-in-law Norma and Richard Smith and many nieces and nephews. Her funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 1 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends may visit with her family from Noon until the time of the service. Special thanks to the caregivers at Whispering Woods and Great Lakes Hospice. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either the library of your choice or to the Parkinson's Association of West Michigan are appreciated. To read more about Betty's life, to share a memory or sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com.