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Life Story / Obituary
To all who knew her, Florence Tuinstra was a woman filled with loving kindness. Although many characteristics make up the lives of many great people, those derived from the heart are the qualities that leave a forever imprint on the hearts of others, and Florence was such a woman. Resourceful and hardworking, Florence placed the needs of her family before her own, and she was equally as loving. With quiet faith, Florence was a kind and gentle soul, and in the hearts of those she leaves behind, she will be deeply missed.
The year 1928 was an exciting time in our nation’s history as the Roaring Twenties redefined the culture of America. While the entertainment industry boomed, the discovery of Penicillin forever changed the field of medicine, and legendary baseball players set astounding records on the ball fields. Although the U.S. was on the brink of the Great Depression, a most welcome event in the lives of hard working farmers Duke and Edith (Dykstra) Leep remained ever hopeful, especially when on August 5, 1928, they welcomed the birth of their precious little girl, Florence into their arms.
Born and raised in the small village of Martin, Michigan, Florence was the youngest of seven children in her family, joining her older siblings, Clarence, Winifred, Charles, Clara, Joe, and Jennie. With the onset of the Great Depression, hard economic times created financial struggles for all, and Florence’s family was no exception. Even so, she enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation. No stranger to hard work, Florence worked alongside her siblings in the fields on their family farm picking onions and sweet corn. Along with working on the farm, Florence attended the Martin area schools. Due to her scholarly aptitude, she had the opportunity to skip a grade and went on to graduate at the young age of 16.
Since her earliest years, Florence’s faith and Christian values served as a cornerstone for which she and her family lived. During her youth, and throughout her life, she remained ever faithful to her Lord. In fact, her church home at East Martin Christian Reformed Church was the very place that Florence met her future husband, Harold Tuinstra. As babies they were baptized together, and through the years they grew up in the same church family. As sweethearts they were quite smitten, and with a deep, abiding love, Florence and Harold were happily joined in marriage soon after he returned home from serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War in 1952.
As newlyweds, Harold and Florence made a home of their own in Martin where Harold eventually opened a barbershop in the Wayland area. Soon blessed with the births of four children, Florence loved nothing more than caring for Harold and their four children, Bart, Joan, Ed, and Dawn. As a mother, she was attentive, loving, and her faith shown bright as an example for her children to live by.
Florence was an excellent cook and she continued to enjoy making large Sunday dinners for her family well after her kids were married. Her delicious roast beef still cannot be replicated, no matter how hard anyone tries! Florence’s children also fondly recall how she loved to sing around the house as she did her daily chores, cooked, and went about her business.
When her children were all in school, Florence began working outside the home. For 20 years she served as a bookkeeper for Wykstra Oil Company. In their later years, Florence and Harold enjoyed traveling with friends. They also spent the summers at their trailer at Gun Lake where relaxing summer days were spent going out on their pontoon. Florence spent her free time working on crossword puzzles as well as seek-and-find puzzles which she had a knack for.
Yet when grandchildren came along, they brought unparalleled joy to Florence’s life. She attended each of their school and other activities, and she always made their birthday parties celebrations ones to remember complete with fireworks. When her beloved husband, Harold passed away in June of 2011, Florence relied on her faith and family to see her through.
In the heart of Florence Tuinstra, there was no greater joy than the love of family as she added much to the lives around her. With her quiet demeanor, kind spirit, and gentle ways, she will be long remembered and forever missed in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.
Florence E. Tuinstra, of Shelbyville passed away on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at the age of 88. She is survived by her four children: Bart Tuinstra, of Shelbyville; Joan (Bud) VanElderen, of Shelbyville; Ed Tuinstra, of Irons; Dawn (Roger) Anderson, of Martin; four grandchildren: Rachel Malstaff, of TX; Jessica Burt, of CA; Josh Anderson, of Martin; Jennifer Anderson, of Martin; two great grandchildren: Hailee and Wyatt. She is also survived by one sister: Jennie Helmholdt, of Jenison; brother and sister-in-laws: Alice Leep, of GR; Larry (Phyllis) Tuinstra, of Shelbyville; Dorothy Helmholdt and Arlene Wustman, both of Cutlerville. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold in 2011 and siblings: Clarence, Winifred, Charles, Clara, Joe.
The family will receive friends on Friday from 5-7 pm at the East Martin Christian Reformed Church where her funeral service will be held on Saturday at 12 noon. Burial at East Martin Cemetery. Please visit Florence’s personal webpage at www.lifestorynet.com to sign her online guestbook, share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish may make contributions to the East Martin Christian School.