Friday, November 20, 2015
9:30 AM to 10:00 AM EST
Friday, November 20, 2015
10:30 AM EST
3300 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
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.
D.A.Blodgett - St. Johns
805 Leonard NE
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 Donald Jay DeKorte, it is easy to see that his focus was always on others. He was a hardworking man of honor and integrity. Donald was a committed husband, dedicated father and grandfather. Don and Judy served as foster parents for over 35 years, providing foster children with a safe and supportive home. Don had a warm and genuine personality that drew others near with ease. Donald was rarely one to be still and always had a projectin progress. Although he will be deeply missed, he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will cherish forever.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. After America and our allies were victorious in 1945, America was making the shift to being a nation at peace once again. It was during this transitional time that Bertus "Bert" and Gertrude (Popma) DeKorte were pleased to announce the birth of their son, Donald Jay, on February 24, 1948, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Don grew up on Spencer Street on the NE side of Grand Rapids. He was the youngest of four boys in his family, which included his brothers: Robert, Thomas, and James. As a baby, Donwas doted upon by his oldest brother, Bob. When Don was young, his family attended Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church, and Donald attended Creston Christian School and graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School. During his childhood, Don enjoyed fishing with his dad on Wabasis Lake. These beloved fishing memories influenced his later decision to purchase a cottage on Wabasis Lake. During his teen years, Don earned money for his family by working , first as a paperboy and later as a bagger at Meijer on Michigan Street and Fuller Avenue.
During his high school years, Don met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Judith Lynn Stahl, and they met because he had been dating a friend of hers. Don was two years older than Judy, and after his senior year Donald asked her out. She came to watch him play ball at the Christian Reformed Recreation Center, and they went out afterwards. Although he considered attending college, he was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War instead. While he was serving in the Signal Corps, he and Judy corresponded through letters, which they still have today. While in the military, Don spent much of his time as a patch panel operator for the 121st Signal Battalion and served in Vietnam from March of 1968 through March of 1969.
After his return from the war, Don and Judy agreed to wait at least a year before getting married. After Judy completed high school, they decided they were right for each another.They married on March 14, 1970, at East Leonard Christian Reformed Church and honeymooned in Niagara Falls and Chicago.
Throughout his life, Don worked hard. He spent 13 years working in Meijer’s warehouse, and then had a delivery route for Crystal Candy Company for over eight years. In 1990, Don began working in Amway’s mail and delivery department, which he greatly enjoyed since he wasn’t on an assembly line or confined to an office. Don loved making deliveries in the area, the diversity of his work, and the various people he met along his routes. As a result, he rarely went anywhere within the community without seeing someone who recognized him.
Although his work kept him busy, Don’s family was always first and foremost. He and Judy moved into their lifelong home in 1971. Together they welcomed five biological children including Scott, Holly, Hope, April, and Eric, but during this time they were also foster parents to 85 children, five of whom they adopted: Erin, David, Gage, Ashley, and Donovan. Donald always loved all his children equally.
As a father Don was quiet, but when he spoke his children knew they better listen. He was there to support them in all their activities, and he gave them guidance when needed, while also giving them freedom to find their own way.
In 1978, after seeing some land on Wabasis Lake, Donald fell in love with it, bought it, and built a cottage. This became the backdrop for countless family memories during the summer. Donald loved fishing there, too.
When on the road making candy deliveries, Donald would occasionally take one of his young children with him for some one-on-one time. In later years, Don often gave each of his children individual attention when they went hunting, running, golfing, mission trips, or baseball-stadium road trips. In 2010 and 2015, Don took “grandson tours”, and was able to visit his older children’s families, who at the time lived in California, Washington, Utah, Colorado, as well as Alaska, and Hawaii.
There were many things that Don enjoyed throughout his life. Don was a self-taught handyman who always had a project going. Don liked Corvettes, as he had one as a young husband and again more recently. Donald DeKorte was truly an extraordinary man. Don and Judy became longtime members of Sunshine Church, for nearly 45 years. Don’s focus was always on his family, and how he could help those around him. Dearly loved, Don will be missed forever.
Donald Jay DeKorte, age 67 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on November 16, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Judith; children Scott & Heather DeKorte, Holly & Charles Anselm, Hope & John Porcia, April & Mark Norman, Eric & Jen DeKorte, Erin DeKorte & Rob Wybrecht, David & Breanna DeKorte, Gage & Brianna DeKorte, Ashley DeKorte and Donovan DeKorte; grandchildren Courtney, Clay, Chase DeKorte, Gabriel Anselm, Noah and Asher Porcia, Anders and Asa Norman, Levi and Miles DeKorte; his brothers and sisters-in-law Elaine DeKorte, Thomas & Mary DeKorte, James & Mary DeKorte; mother-in-law, Hazel Stahl; and Judith's siblings, Marilynn Vegter and Karl Stahl as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. Don was preceded in death by his parents Bert DeKorte and Gertrude DeKorte; his brother, Robert DeKorte; father-in-law Arthur Stahl, and sister-in-law Marsha Stahl. The service to remember and celebrate Don's life will be held on Friday, November 20 at 10:30 AM at Sunshine Church, 3300 East Beltline. Friends are invited to visit with his family on Thursday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield NE and on Friday at the church from 9:30 AM until 10:15 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions are suggested to either D.A. Blodgett - St. Johns or a charity of your choice. To read more about Don's life, to share a favorite memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com