Thursday, March 19, 2015
3:00 PM EDT
Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Florence Hayward lived life to the fullest each day while holding her loved ones near. She was a woman of many talents and resources who used her abilities to bless others first and foremost. Flo was a devoted wife and mother to be sure, but she just may have argued that becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother was her greatest reward. She was always there to give a listening ear, and as a woman of great wisdom, unending patience, and unwavering compassion, she always gave the best advice, too. A woman who was truly beautiful on the inside and out, Flo will be deeply missed and forever treasured by all who were within her reach.
The 1930's were a time in American history when the days were filled with what seemed to be unending trials and tribulation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were hard to come by, the unemployment rate soared, and things only went from bad to worse when a harsh drought covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years, placing additional strain on an already stressed agricultural industry. It was during some of the most difficult days that Jasper and Gertie (Botma) Bunschoten were filled with great excitement as they were anticipating the arrival of their new baby as the promise of spring began to appear on the horizon in the community of Vicksburg, Michigan, in 1933. The big day finally arrived on March 3rd when the baby girl they named Florence Grace drew her first breath. Her birthday was a special day as it was on 3/3/33 and she was so proud of it throughout her entire life, even up until her passing on 3/13. She was the sixth of seven children in her family, and she was raised in the family home alongside her siblings, Sebertha, Nellie, Gert, Jim, George, and Henry “Hank." Florence’s parents were Dutch farmers, although her father first worked as a painter.
In many ways Florence was a young girl of her generation. She was a student at local schools including Vicksburg High School where she was popular among her peers. A true beauty, Flo was on the queen’s court for the local Hospital Festivals. In addition to holding down her studies, she worked at Hill’s Pharmacy in Vicksburg. Flo went on to graduate from high school in 1951. Her working days were primarily spent at the Upjohn Company where she worked over 27 years, beginning right after high school.
Not to be forgotten during Flo’s days in high school was her introduction to the young man of her dreams. His name was Ronald Hayward, and he used to take her home from the drug store on the back of his scooter. Love took root, and over time they fell deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Flo and Ron were united in marriage on May 24, 1952. Soon after, the young newlyweds were forced to put their new life together in Michigan on hold when he was drafted into the military in 1953. Luckily he was shipped to Texas, and Flo was able to join him there until 1955. Together they welcomed three daughters, Rhonda, Terri, and Paula, into their hearts and home.
From the moment she became a mother, Flo fully embraced the enormity of the role. She was an active part of her girls’ lives as a 4-H leader and Girl Scout leader when they were younger. Flo was also an amazing seamstress who made a lot of the clothes that her girls wore. She was fantastic at cooking and baking, and she made the most wonderful pies and cinnamon rolls around, from scratch. Flo enjoyed being outside, and when they built their retirement home she loved sitting in their sunroom where she could enjoy looking outdoors. Eventually, their family grew to include seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren with a sixth on the way, who were the light of Flo’s life. She and Ron regularly took their grandchildren to the park to feed the geese as well as bicycling and camping. Some of Flo’s favorite times were spent having family gatherings at the pond behind the house. She had a special place in her heart for animals. She especially loved her dogs, Duke and Gomer and was extremely excited by the birth of the filly "Princess" on the farm. She even rescued a rat from work and her home was decorated with pictures of children with animals.
Throughout her life Florence embraced every day she was given and remained content in all things. During their retirement years she and Ron spent their winters in Florida, however, Flo loved nothing more than being at home. Together she and Ron enjoyed camping and walking the Mackinac Bridge every Labor Day for over 15 years. Square dancing and listening to music were some of her favorite pastimes. Although she struggled with Parkinson’s disease since 1996, Flo’s focus was always on others as she was continually looking for ways she could help in ways both great and small.
A dear woman to many, Florence Hayward was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She faced everything with a quiet strength and a graceful courage that were truly inspiring, and it has also been said that she was a little stubborn right up until the end of her days. Flo was happiest when she was helping others, and it was easy to see that her family was her greatest source of pride and joy. She will never be forgotten.
Florence Grace Hayward, of Vicksburg, died on Friday, March 13, 2015, at the age of 82. Flo’s family includes her husband, Ronald; three daughters: Rhonda (Dan) Walters, of Vicksburg; Terri (Ken) Wolthuis, of Vicksburg; Paula (Steve) Brundige, of Vicksburg; seven grandchildren: Scott, Amy, Laura, Lucas, Katelyn, Joel, Anna; five great grandchildren with one more on the way: Brynn, Tucker, Olivia, Oliver, and Ally; siblings: Nellie Yahr, of Portage and Gert (Harry) Cornell, of Kalamazoo; and numerous nieces and nephews. Flo was preceded in death by four siblings: Jim Bunschoten, Henry “Hank” Bunschoten, George Bunschoten and Sebertha Decker. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, March 19th at 3 p.m. at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church with Pastor Buff Coe officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Please visit Flo’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign the guestbook or share a photo and/or memory. Those who wish may make a memorial contribution to the National Parkinson Foundation, Vicksburg United Methodist Church, Love Inc., Kalamazoo County Humane Society.