Tuesday, May 24, 2016
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613
Driving Directions


Wednesday, May 25, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Coopersville Reformed Church
423 W. Randall St.
Coopersville, MI 49404
(616) 837-8949
Web Site


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.

Sunset Manor Benevolence Fund
725 Baldwin St.
Jenison, MI 49428


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

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Dorothy Lettinga was beloved by all who knew her. She was a hardworking, kind, and generous woman who selflessly gave of her time and talents. With faith as her guide, Dorothy raised her family in the way of the Lord and ever nurturing, she led by example. Family was her greatest source of pride and joy, and although dearly missed, the memories she leaves behind will continue to be a lasting treasure.

The 1920s was an era of dramatic social and political change. More Americans began living in cities than on farms, and the nation’s total wealth more than doubled. With much taking place by way of technology and advancement, the year 1920 found women winning the right to vote and the introduction of prohibition. The Ford Model T was the shape of things to come for the auto industry while smallpox was a concern for many. Known as the Roaring Twenties, a sense of gaiety filled the air during this time of great transition. Yet nestled in the small, hometown community of Lawrence, Michigan, Alvin and Blanche (Cox) Howes found much to be thankful for on July 29, 1920, when they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Dorothy Inez into their arms.

The second of eventually five children in her household, Dorothy’s family came to make the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan their new home when her father landed a job at American Seating. Her mother, a busy homemaker, looked after her family with loving care. Being raised in the city offered a young girl like Dorothy many opportunities. She experienced a childhood typical of her generation filled with many friendships while attending the area schools. Despite the hardships of the Great Depression, Dorothy’s family held fast to their faith with the hope of better tomorrows. An avid reader, Dorothy went on to graduate from Creston High School with the Class of 1938.

Following high school, Dorothy began working for Globe Knitting where she also made many friends. A likable young woman, she often got together with friends to take in activities offered in the area, an occasional picture show, and roller skating. It was while roller skating in 1941 when life for Dorothy was forever changed when she met a handsome, young man by the name of Robert Lettinga. They began a dating relationship and after falling deeply in love, the two were joined in marriage on July 19, 1945, just shy of Dorothy’s 25th birthday.

The young couple made their family home on Wealthy Street SE where lasting and numerous memories were created with their four children, Marty, Patsy, Sally, and Debra. Dorothy made a good, loving home for Robert and their children. She was an excellent baker, and she was quite particular about the crusts of her pies and the appearance of her cookies which she baked to perfection. Saturday nights were always a treat as a family when they enjoyed a supper of hamburgers and homemade potato chips in the basement. Playing board games was often a family affair, and taking day trips and enjoying picnics was a mainstay in their lives, as well.

Fond memories enlighten Dorothy’s family as they recall her standing in the kitchen cooking or cleaning, and singing her well-loved hymns while she worked. Whether in the kitchen or tending to her children, Dorothy’s hands were always busy. Talented when it came to sewing, knitting, and crocheting, she handmade most all of her children’s clothes, along with doll clothes and a variety of blankets which are treasures to this day. In fact, Dorothy continued knitting nearly to the last of her days. Perhaps it was due to growing up during the Depression, but Dorothy was endlessly worried about finances. She would regularly work their household numbers at the kitchen table which she and Robert somehow always managed. They sacrificed much to send their children to the Christian schools, and they would not have wanted it any other way. Together they raised their family in a home of faith, and a good Christian education was just as important to them.

When their children were grown with lives and families of their own, after retiring, Dorothy and Robert began traveling in their fifth wheel across the country. They usually wintered in Florida or Arizona, and together they made many friends along the way. They spent a memorable time driving out west to see one of their daughters, and the time they flew to Hawaii proved to be a vacation of a lifetime for them.

In 1990, Dorothy and her family experienced the death of her beloved Robert. These days were very difficult for Dorothy, yet with the love and support of her family and friends, she was able to carry on. She remained in her home for a few years, although taking care of a large house on her own was no easy task. One day while visiting her daughter in Coopersville, she simply stated to her daughter that she’d like to live there. Before long they converted their garage into an apartment for Dorothy, and for the following 17 years, she made it her home. Living in the country atmosphere allowed Dorothy to divulge in her love for watching cardinals. She delighted in seeing them go to and fro all year long and she was sure to always provide enough seed for them. In fact, Dorothy came to have quite a collection of cardinal bird figurines she so cherished.

Dorothy in time suffered from several health issues and in 2009, she began living at Sunset Manor in nearby Jenison. She enjoyed the many activities offered there, and she met some very dear friends. Faith and family continued to be the very heart of Dorothy Lettinga. With ways all her own, she was devoted and dedicated to her family who brought her the greatest joy. A blessing in the lives of all who knew and loved her, Dorothy will be remembered with love.

Mrs. Dorothy Lettinga, aged 95, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Saturday, May 21, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert in 1990. Dorothy is survived by her children, Marty (Sue) Lettinga, Patsy (Bernard) Bruinsma, Sally (David) Miedema, and Debra (Timothy) Van Houten; 15 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; sister, Barbara Essebagger; many nieces and nephews. A special thank you to the staff at Sunset Manor for the loving care shown to Dorothy. The Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at Coopersville Reformed Church, 423 W. Randall St. Coopersville. Her family will receive visitors on Tuesday from 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes; 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Contributions in her memory may be made to Sunset Manor. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory or photo of Dorothy and to sign her online guestbook.