Dena Sincler

June 1, 1926 - September 18, 2015
Kalamazoo, MI



Tuesday, September 22, 2015
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900
Driving Directions


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.

Donor's Choice


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Throughout her rich and rewarding life, Dena Sincler was a gracious, loving, and kindhearted woman who was a blessing to everyone she met. She worked hard, but she also took the time to enjoy life along the way. Dena was a devoted mother, but she was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother to the three grandchildren she adored. Someone who was content in whatever came her way, she faced challenges and trials with both strength and courage. She will be deeply missed while the priceless collection of memories that she leaves behind remains a lasting treasure for her loved ones to forever hold near and dear to their hearts.

It was great to be an American during the decade we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Innovation made things like radios, refrigerators, and motion pictures in both color and sound possible along with cars that were commonly mass produced on assembly lines. Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh took the world of flight to new heights, and the lights of Broadway never shined brighter. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of John and Ada VanGemert as they were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the beauty of summer covered the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1926. Their wait was over when the baby girl they named Dena Catherine made her arrival on June 1st. She was one of the middle of eight children in her family and was raised in Oshtemo, located on the West side of Kalamazoo, alongside her siblings, Katherine, Mary, Henry, Ruth, Jimmy, Wilma, and Johnny. Her father worked at a local factory for many years and also did some farming and had some orchards. Dena’s mother was a busy homemaker. As a student, Dena attended a one-room schoolhouse in Oshtemo.

New and exciting changes were in store for Dena when she met a young man named Lester Sincler. Sparks flew and they soon began dating. As their relationships deepened, they found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, they were united in marriage. They settled on some land where Lester had a few dairy cows, and they lived in a three-room house with an outhouse! Together they were blessed with the births of four children including Terry, Lester Jr., Larry, and Gary. Over time they added on to the house and also added a bathroom. Dena focused her time and attention on caring for their home and raising the children, but she also helped on the orchards. Sadly, her husband died unexpectantly at a young age. This sent Dena into the workforce. At first she did a few odds and ends, but she eventually settled in at Stryker Instruments.

Although her family was always first and foremost in her life, Dena also kept busy with other things that she enjoyed. Together with her husband, she enjoyed going to the Moose Lodge to play cards. Dena always enjoyed flowers and went to Holland every spring to see the tulips. For years Dena enjoyed keeping her own flower and vegetable garden and also picking blueberries. She liked stopping at garage sales to search for glassware, antiques, and jewelry, and Shipshewana was another favorite destination. When working with Stryker, Dena was involved with the March of Dimes, various food drives, and also with the Corporate Olympics. Later in life, she did some traveling with some of her favorite trips being vacations to Niagara Falls, Hawaii, and Disneyland in addition to other memorable experiences. Dena like eating out, especially Mexican and Chinese food in Three Rivers as well as eating at Frankie’s in Three Rivers. They always had plenty of animals around including cats and dogs and her current dog, Casey. When she became a grandmother, Dena enjoyed spending time with them when she could. Some of her favorite activities to do with her grandchildren was to take them to the zoo and to hot air balloon shows - although she may have enjoyed them more her grandchildren they did! Dena did enjoy watching television including the commercials, and it has been said that she read every word in the Kalamazoo Gazette. As her health began declining, she did slow down some during her sunset years.

With unending devotion to her family, Dena Sincler brought such beauty to the world around her. She was social and outgoing with a generous heart that was willing to help anyone. Dena also had a heart for animals and was an advocate for helping animals, too. She was never one to worry, rather, she just took everything in stride. Deeply loved, Dena will never be forgotten.

Dena Catherine Sincler, of Kalamazoo, died September 18, 2015, in Kalamazoo. Dena’s family includes her 3 children: Lester Sincler, Jr., Larry (Sharon) Sincler and Gary Sincler; 3 grandchildren: Jamie, Jesse and Miranda; 3 great-grandchildren: Makayla, Owen and Simon; 3 siblings: Jimmy VanGemert, Wilma Brightwell, and Johnny VanGemert; and many nieces and nephews. Dena was preceded in death by her husband, Lester Sincler, Sr. in 1960; son, Terry Sincler in 1971; and by 4 siblings: Katherine Craft, Mary Wilson, Henry VanGemert, and Ruth Smith. Visit with family and friends on Tuesday from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home-Betzler 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo - 375-2900. Private services will take place. Please visit Dena’s personal web page at where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.