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.
American Diabetes Association
1550 East Beltline SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Bonita “Bonnie” Berry, words such as loving, nurturing, and accepting come to mind, however, the word that most vividly describes this extraordinary woman is selfless. She was a woman of faith whose life exemplifies what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Bonnie was a devoted wife and mother, but she just may have argued that becoming a grandmother was her greatest blessing. Hardworking, particular, and prompt, she continuously used her time and talents to make life easier for those around her. A woman of true grace and beauty, Bonnie remained focus on others, even when engaged in a tough battle for her life. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.
Life during the 1930s was anything but easy as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and countless American families were left without their homes. Despite the trials around them, Benjamin and Beatrice (Murray) Van Valkenburg were filled with unspeakable joy as they announced the birth of the healthy baby girl they named Bonita Madlynne on April 17, 1937, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was the youngest of three children to be raised in the family home on Page Street NE as she was joined in her family by her siblings, Barbara and Bob. Bonita, or Bonnie as she was usually known, was raised in a loving home and had a wonderful relationship with her parents. Her parents were Dutch in heritage, and they were frugal and thrifty by nature.
In many ways, Bonnie was a young girl of her generation. She was an easy going child who was warm and kindhearted. As the youngest of the Van Valkenburg children, Bonnie was often looked after by her older siblings. She learned vital skills from her mother as she did crafts and learned to sew. As a family they attended Plainfield United Methodist Church and were very actively involved. It was as a young girl that faith became a cornerstone in Bonnie’s life, and it remained as such for the rest of her life. She attended local schools and was very social and involved in various fun activities. Bonnie’s high school years found her at Creston High School.
New and exciting changes were in store for Bonnie when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Douglas "Doug" Berry, and he had come to Grand Rapids while working for the railroad. Sparks flew right from the start, and they soon fell deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Bonnie and Doug were married and then honeymooned in Florida. As a young newlywed, she worked as a secretary for Rowe International, but once they began having children, she focused her attention at home during her children’s younger years. Bonnie and Doug had two children, Susan and Donald, and they were 18 months apart.
Around the home, Bonnie made caring for her family and being a homemaker seem effortless. They raised their children in the home they built on Ambrose, NE, and she was always very clean and organized. Every day was cleaning day and laundry day. In fact, even the curb in front of their home was swept clean! Bonnie was often the one to handle the disciplining since Doug usually worked second shift, and although she could be quite strict she always had her children’s interests at heart. Bonnie had unending amounts of energy as she kept busy with the cooking, cleaning, sewing, and doing crafts. She didn’t even shy away from moving furniture and painting rooms! There were a few family trips to places like Florida, camping in the Upper Peninsula, and to various amusement parks. However, Bonnie was most comfortable close to home. Bonnie took care of all the carpooling, and she was her children’s biggest fan when it came to attending their sporting events. Once her children were older she started driving a school bus for Northview Schools, and she ran the bus just like she did things around the house as the kids knew the rules as well as the consequences if they chose to break them.
Later in life, Bonnie continued to treasure her family. She was delighted to become a grandmother, and she savored every moment that she had to spend with her grandchildren. Bonnie and Doug were always available to babysit for the grandchildren who lived in town, and they were there to attend all of their grandchildren’s sporting events. Bonnie took great pride in being there to support and encourage her grandchildren in everything they did. Both she and Doug loved keeping up with their grandchildren, and it kept them young, too! Bonnie enjoyed scrapbooking, and she made the time to create a scrapbook for each of her grandchildren. An excellent seamstress, she made each of her grandchildren a blanket, and she was the one who promptly took care of all the mending in the family. Since she enjoyed doing crafts, Bonnie liked helping Sue with her classroom. She wanted to be sure the kids felt special, and her treats of all kinds were always well received. Bonnie and Doug were always together and lived a simple and contended life filled with contentment in just being together. She was the worrier of the family and was continually concerned for the wellbeing of her family.
More recently, Bonnie and Doug moved to a home on Fingers, NE, which was the place she called home for the rest of her life. This past June, she and her loved ones were given a tough pill to swallow when she was diagnosed with cancer. Bonnie underwent intensive treatment during the six months that followed, and even then she was thinking about the wellbeing of her family and those who were caring for her. first and foremost.
All who knew Bonnie Berry would agree that she was a true blessing in every way. She was social, outgoing, and genuine with amazing conversational skills. Bonnie was accepting of everyone, and her desire to serve others was simply unmatched. She treasured her family, and it was when surrounded by her loved ones that she was truly happy. Helpful, hospitable, welcoming, and gracious, Bonnie will be forever missed.
Bonita "Bonnie" M. Berry, age 78 of Grand Rapids, passed away December 22, 2015. She is survived by her husband, Doug; children Susan (Steven) Hendricks and Donald (Laura) Berry; grandchildren Alyssa, Ben and Nate Hendricks, Jane, Emma and Molly Berry; sister, Barbara Johnson; brother Bob (Betty) VanValkenburg; brother-in-law Delwin (Shirley) Berry; and several nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Bonnie's life will be held on Monday, December 28 at 12 noon at Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends may visit with her family on Monday from 10:30 AM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either the American Cancer Society or the American Diabetes Association are appreciated. To read more about Bonnie's life, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com