Thursday, December 15, 2016
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Life Story / Obituary
Doris Van Antwerp was a loving wife, grandmother, and great-grandmother. A hard worker her whole life, she proudly helped her family and later her husband, Walter successfully run a family farm. She knew the value of a life well lived and nothing brought her greater joy than to share in the many accomplishments of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She leaves behind a rich legacy of being an independent person who managed to care for herself well into her aging years. She was still cooking and living alone the last two months of her life. A true American from the greatest generation, Doris was a Christian and will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered.
Daniel and Angeline (Kruzinga) Henry welcomed their newborn daughter, Doris on June 3, 1920 in Richland, MI. Born the youngest of five children, she was instantly her daddy’s little girl. For example, Doris' mother told her she wasn't allowed to buy some high heel shoes for a dance. However, her father ended up buying those shoes. He hid them in the barn and surprised her with them on the promise that she wouldn't tell her mother.
She was born to hard-working tenant farmers, who demonstrated a strong work ethic to their children. Doris grew up doing chores on the family farm. In addition to helping with the work horses, she learned to fish and worked in various ways to help her family. Family members described her as feisty, strong-willed and was always interested in what was going on around her. Uniquely gifted with excellent cooking and canning skills; made her a great catch for her life partner, Walter Van Antwerp. They were married on November 17, 1940 when she was the tender age of twenty and together they raised two wonderful daughters; Barb and Bonnie. She regularly baled hay, fitted ground and raised hundreds of chickens to sell their eggs at the farm. She firmly believed that a woman could do anything a man could do! During lean years, she took up factory work as well as some secretarial work and waitressing to keep the farm afloat! She was proud of her ability to pitch in and loved being a farmer’s wife.
Active her whole life, it is no surprise that she had so many varied interests. Doris modeled a lifetime of commitment and giving of her various resources. Over the years, she enjoyed countless hours volunteering with the Kalamazoo County 4-H. She was a Community Club Leader, teaching independent gardening skills to young children. She delighted in sharing with them her many talents and spending time with them. Matching her love of trying new things and not conforming to the traditional roles for women, she managed to become the first woman known to participate in the tractor pull at Kalamazoo County Fair! When she set her mind out to accomplish something, she seemed to never fail! She loved to deer hunt and it proved to be just one more hobby in which she was very skilled. Never one to be able to sit for long, she was known for walking quietly into the woods and sneaking up on the deer! She was very protective of hunting on her property. For relaxation, Doris loved tending to the flowers in her yard, attending numerous family reunions, and doing needlepoint, quilting and puzzles. Her aging years never seemed to stop her from enjoying the outdoors. She borrowed a golf cart this past summer from her niece, Lucille to help her get around her property and continue to grow her famous butternut squash. One plant produced over fourteen squash this fall proving that she hadn’t lost her special touch! In her last years without her husband, Walt, she fell in love with her furry companion, JJ, a Dachshund, who was endearing to her. Doris has left a lasting impression on the hearts of her family and close friends.
Doris J. VanAntwerp, of Comstock passed away on Monday, December 12, 2016 at the age of 96. Doris is survived by her two children: Barb (Neil) Van Bruggen, of Kalamazoo; Bonnie (Steve) Gazdag, of Kalamazoo; four grandchildren: Kelly (Chad) DeRidder; Sandy Henderson; Joe (Bobbie) Van Bruggen; Angie (Zeb) Strait; seven great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews and special friends: Mary VerMeulen, of Scotts; and Thelma House, of Kalamazoo. She is preceded in death by her husband, Walter in 2002. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 1pm, at Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-1697). The family will receive friends on Thursday from 11:30 am until the time of the service. Burial Maple Grove Cemetery. Please visit Doris’ webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign her guestbook and share a memory and/or photos.