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Life Story / Obituary
Reflecting on the life of Dick Hollebeek, words such as dedicated, honorable, and selfless come to mind, however, perhaps the word that paints the best picture of him is loving. Devoted and loyal to his family, nothing brought him greater joy than the time he spent with each and every one of them. He will be deeply missed and his greatest gift he leaves behind will be his unconditional love for his many special friends and family.
The Roaring Twenties was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. Jazz music was booming, as well as the automotive industry, and the nation was seeing large scale industrial growth which brought about significant changes during this era. With the media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie figures, Dirk Hollebeek and Anna Aue’ Hollebeek welcomed home their own star, a newborn son, Dick, on October 1, 1924, in Sanborn, Iowa. Born one of seven children with a twin sister, Joanne, his birth brought them great joy.
Proud immigrants from the Netherlands, his parents provided a stable home. His father’s career as a minister moved the family from Sandborn to Pella Iowa before landing in Lynden, Washington. He was one of eight children, his sister Eleanor dying in infancy. He and his siblings; Florence,John, Suzanne, Fred, Dorothy, and Joanne lived a typical childhood of the times. Dick attended Lynden Public Schools and graduated with the Class of 1940. As a teen, he was known as, “Flash,” as he held many school records on the track team for his sprinting and long jump abilities. Eager to serve his country, he enlisted in the United States right out of high school. His military career landed him on the beaches of Normandy in Northern France, Ardennes, where the The Battle of the Bulge took place, and the Rhineland area of western Germany. For the rest of his life his military service to his country was an important part of his life. In his later years he was privileged to be part of an Honor Flight which took WWII veterans to Washington DC to the WWII Memorial.
Sadly, while he was in the service, his father passed away. After he was discharged he moved to the Grand Rapids area to live with his mother and sister. It was here, that he met the woman who would change the course of his life forever; Eleanor Ruth Mulder! Formally introduced by her brother, who was another member of the Young Men’s Society, he and Ruth hit it off from the start! They dated for a short time before he proposed to her at Johnson Park. Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids was the perfect setting for their ceremony on March 16, 1949. The newlyweds set off for a short honeymoon to Holland and Chicago before settling in the Hudsonville area. Later, they relocated back to Grand Rapids and spent twenty-five years on Naylor Street. Together they raised five wonderful children; Tom, Barb, Carol, Dave, and Mark.
A solid provider to his growing family, Dick worked several jobs before spending thirty-two remarkable years with Steelcase. As a father, he was stern, yet loving. He was quick to give his advice and opinions about most topics over the years. Later, his family came to understand that it was his way of showing great care and concern for them as he wanted nothing less than the best for his family. After a rich and fulfilling life together, he and Ruth moved to Ferrand Estates in their later years. Sadly, she suffered a stroke in 2005 and there was no doubt that Dick would be certain of giving her the very best of care during her recovery. When she was later moved to the Christian Rest Home, no greater example was witnessed between two persons than the time he spent by her side each and every day feeding her and attending to her every need. Theirs was indeed an old fashioned love story.
Dick held many special interests throughout his life. He loved sacred choral music and had a special fondness for the 1812 Overture. He enjoyed many years of photography, a true passion for him. He also cherished years fishing, camping, hunting, and playing golf. Whenever he was outdoors, he was his most content. Most recently, he shared a love of painting. As he matured in age, he became much more comfortable in sharing his emotions with his special family. His kind and gentle ways left a lasting impression on their hearts. Dick will be fondly revered as a man of great integrity and wisdom and his wonderful collection of memories are certain to be shared for generations to come.
Dick Hollebeek, age 92, entered into heaven on Friday, August 11, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth in June. He is survived by his children, Thomas and Karen Hollebeek, Barbara and Bruce Engbers, Carol Hollebeek, David and Julie Hollebeek, Mark and Deborah Hollebeek; 15 grandchildren; 38 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Friends may meet the family at Heritage Lifestory Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW on Wednesday, from 4-7 PM with the funeral beginning at 7:30 PM. Memorial contributions may be made to the Christian Rest Home, 1000 Edison NW. To leave a special memory or sign the online guestbook please visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com