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Faith United Methodist Church
2600 7th St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
There was no one quite like Dee Gingrich in the hearts of those who knew and loved her. A social and kind woman, Dee carried herself with grace and was always dressed meticulously. Above all for Dee was the unending love she had for her family. She lived by way of example, and taught her children well. To those entrusted to her care, her love and care knew no bounds. A dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and dear friend, the memory of Dee will forevermore be fondly remembered.
Dee’s story began at a time of great change in the U.S. as the nation’s can-do spirit was reflected in Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the ocean. Jazz music blossomed, and the flapper redefined modern womanhood. The year 1923 marked many firsts in American culture such as the founding of the Walt Disney Company, the availability of insulin for diabetes, and the development of the whooping cough vaccine. When the eight-hour workday was established that very year, manufacturing boomed, especially in manufacturing cities like Grand Rapids, Michigan. The daughter of Chester R. and Dorothy Frances (Barhart) Rose, Margaret Ann “Dee” made her way into the world on October 11, 1923.
As an only child, Dee was lovingly raised by her parents on Grand Rapids northwest side. Her father worked in the banking industry while her mother remained at home as a homemaker. Times were especially hard during the years of the Great Depression which affected everyone from coast to coast and Dee’s family was no exception. Even so, Dee enjoyed a childhood typical of the times on the Westside with her many friends. She attended Mt. Mercy Academy, an all girls’ school where she formed many lasting friendships. Quite a beautiful and poised young woman, Dee worked as a model for local fashion advertising under the guidance of the former First Lady, Betty Bloomer (Ford).
Following high school Dee began working regularly and spent time paling around with friends. It was during this time when she met and began dating the young man who would forever hold her heart, Walter Gingrich Jr. With World War II raging overseas, uncertain times plagued the nation. Dee’s beloved Walter was sent to serve in the U.S. Army during the war and through correspondence their love continued to blossom. Deeply in love, the two eloped while Walter was home on leave.
Upon Walter’s honorable discharge from the service he returned home to his bride’s awaiting arms. The couple moved to a home on Bayton NE in East Grand Rapids and Walter supported them working for his father’s business, I.H. Gingrich and Sons Trucking Company.
Before long, Dee and Walter were blessed with the births of three children, David, Gary, and Dee. Their family was faithful members of Valley Avenue Methodist Church which later merged with Faith United Methodist Church where Dee assisted with many church functions over the years. In 1960, Dee and her family moved to a home on Oakleigh Avenue NW where numerous family memories were made and enjoyed. Each of the kids attended Union High School and memorable family vacations were enjoyed through the years visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee and taking in fun-filled ski trips. A wonderful cook, Dee made many delicious meals, especially holiday dinners and scrumptious desserts.
For many years, Dee and Walter frequently enjoyed attending the Grand Rapids Symphony Concerts. And true to her nature, Dee was always quite particular and proper about the way she dressed. She loved shopping and had an array of shoes and purses which always matched. She also loved reading her daily newspaper and enjoyed watching her daytime soap operas on TV. A friend of many, she especially loved visiting with her friends at Sandy’s Donut Shop on Leonard Street.
When their children were grown with lives of their own, Dee and Walter moved to a condo for several years before purchasing a home on Lanco Drive where they remained for the next 20 years of their lives together. Dee absolutely loved time spent with her grandchildren and attending their many activities. When her dear husband, Walter suffered a series of strokes and sadly died on July 7, 2000, Dee’s strong faith and the love and support she received from her family and friends sustained her. Life for Dee continued on and she remained ever social with many of her friends.
As the years went on Dee’s own health began to diminish. This last March she moved to Green Acres Assisted Living where she received wonderful care from their caring staff. As her health continued to worsen, Dee’s family remained frequent visitors and were always by her side.
With ways all her own, Dee Gingrich lived by way of grace. She had a wonderful way about her that through her kind and caring heart, family and friends alike were blessed to have known and loved her. Although she will be deeply missed, Dee will be lovingly remembered by those who knew and loved her best.
Margaret Ann “Dee” Gingrich, age 94 of Grand Rapids, passed away Christmas Eve morning, December 24, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter. Dee is survived by her children, David (Kathy) Gingrich, Gary (Elma) Gingrich, Dee (Kevin) Moss; grandchildren Dan (Dixie) Gingrich, Jackie and Drew Gingrich, Brett (Jessica) Gingrich, Merri (Tom) Taylor, Aubree Gingrich (Tyler Primrose), Jason (Kaitlin) Gingrich, Robb (Patty) Moss, Lisa (Zac) Strauss; 16 great grandchildren. The service to remember and celebrate Dee's life will be held on Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 1:30 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW where friends may visit with her family from 12:30 PM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Faith United Methodist Church are appreciated. To read more about Dee’s life, to share a favorite memory of her and to sign her online guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.