Gladys Oosting

January 30, 1919 - July 20, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI



Tuesday, July 22, 2008
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
10:00 AM EDT
Westend Christian Reformed Church


Wednesday, July 23, 2008
11:00 AM EDT
Westend Christian Reformed Church
1015 Westend NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-3077
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.

West Side Christian School Foundation
955 Westend NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site

Allendale Christian School
11050 64th AVE
Allendale, MI 49401
Web Site


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


Gladys Oosting was a hardworking, helpful woman, a woman with a quiet strength but a louder love, a lady with cold hands but the warmest of hearts. Gladys was a caring, creative lady, from the cakes that she made, to the baskets she weaved and the paintings she created, and a hardworking homemaker, too. Most of all, Gladys was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend, who brightened the days of everyone she knew.

Gladys’s story began on a cold winter day in 1919, as the snows blanketed the ground in Allendale, Michigan. Those were times of triumph and change around the globe, which saw the end of World War I, women’s suffrage, and the start of Prohibition. On January 30, 1919, Dick and Gertrude (Velthouse) Kleinjans celebrated another big change, with the birth of a baby girl, a daughter they named Gladys.

Gladys was the baby of four children, joining her three big brothers, Ed, Ben and Jim. Needless to say, she was well-protected by her brothers growing up. The family lived on a farm in Allendale, though they sadly lost the farm during the tough times of the Great Depression.

Like many girls of her generation, Gladys left school after the eighth grade, concentrating on helping her family around the home. She worked alongside her mother to care for the home and preparing the meals for the men in the family. Eventually she began working at the Heinz Pickle factory, and later at Keeler Brass.

Gladys also learned to drive as a teenager, and fell in love with driving — and especially driving fast! She even loved to drag race down the streets of Allendale, and cruising the strip in downtown Grand Rapids.

It was her love for cars that led to the love of her life. One Sunday evening she met a handsome young man named Maynard Oosting, who was a Navy vet just back from World War II, and like Gladys an auto enthusiast. The sparks flew between them, and their love was soon in “high gear!”

The happy couple married on February 28, 1947, beginning a beautiful life together. The newlyweds settled on the city’s northwest side, and it wasn’t long before they became parents, as well. The couple was blessed with three fine sons over the years, Allen, Gordon and Mark, who filled their lives with pride and joy. Gladys was used to being around boys, but it was a nice surprise for Maynard, who grew up with three sisters.

Gladys was a wonderful wife and mother, who delighted in caring for her family and their home. She was a terrific homemaker, from the spotless house she kept, to the delicious meals she made for her boys (Maynard included). She was a very organized and hardworking homemaker, too, with a set routine that included canning a mountain of food in the fall. She was especially famous for her beautiful birthday cakes, which she always shaped to look like little lambs, and for her incredible banana crème pies.

Gladys was also a gifted seamstress, who made many clothes for her boys and others. She remained the go-to person when something needed sewing repair.

The family did much together over the years, and were very close-knit with their extended family, as well. They often socialized with Gladys’ brothers and their families, and traveled with them and went camping, too. They also enjoyed renting cottages in the summer, or staying at their trailer near Silver Lake or Fremont Lake.

When her boys were in high school, Gladys went back to work for a time, taking a job at Stehouwer Frozen Foods. She eventually quit, because she was always cold, and always had cold hands. When greeting someone, she would often remark “your hands are so warm,” or enjoyed giving her grandkids a chill with them, too!

Gladys was that way, though, and had a great sense of humor. She was very laid back, strong-willed and opinionated, but always in a respectful manner. She was a quiet lady, with a quiet strength, but she was also very friendly and fun-loving, too.

After they retired, Gladys and Maynard enjoyed spending their winters in Bradenton, Florida, where Gladys enjoyed one of her favorite hobbies, getting a suntan! She loved being in the sun, when she felt warmest. Every year their stay in Florida seemed to get a little longer.

The couple enjoyed their retirement immensely; they traveled often, from Alaska to Hawaii, California and elsewhere. They also enjoyed taking bus trips and mystery tours, often with their friends from church. And Gladys loved having more time to spend on her many craft projects, the many outlets she had for her abundant creativity. She weaved beautiful baskets, enjoyed making ceramics, and especially painting. Gladys was a very artistic lady, and painted beautiful country scenes that graced her home.

Though she wasn’t vocal about it, Gladys was also a woman of faith. They were longtime members of the Highland Hills Christian Reformed Church (which became Westend later on), where she sang in the choir for many years. True to her nature, Gladys was a quiet Christian, living her faith, and not just professing it.

Eventually, as her years progressed, Gladys and Maynard slowed down, and in 2006 they moved to Sunset Manor. In the fall of 2007, her health declined further, and Gladys moved into Brookcrest Nursing Home. Just as she did everywhere she went, Gladys made good friends there, and enjoyed joking with a friend that they’d get out and go for a drive together.

Gladys’s spirits were always buoyed by seeing her family together, with her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, too. She would marvel at her big, beautiful family, and whisper to Maynard, “Look what we started!”

Sadly, Gladys passed away on Sunday, July 20, 2008, at the age of 89.

Gladys was a wonderful woman, who lived a wonderful life, a woman of quiet strength and louder love. She was hardworking and creative, caring and compassionate, and a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend. “Look what we started,” she marveled at her beautiful family. Her love, and her life, continues on in her family today. She will be greatly missed.

She was preceded in death by her brothers, Ed, Ben and Jim Kleinjans. Gladys is survived by her husband of 61 years, Maynard “Mike” Oosting; their children Allen and Gerri “Kathy” Oosting of Coopersville, Gordon and Karla Oosting of Rockford, Mark and Alice Oosting of Fruitport; grandchildren Aimy Allen, Joel (Ronda) Oosting, Anna (Andy) Baker, Rebecca (Mike) Burns, Eric Yonker, Matt Yonker, Tara (Mark) Foreman, Brooke (Tim) Keeler, Jessica Oosting, Andrea Oosting; 12 great grandchildren; brother-in-law and sisters-in-law Evelyn Kleinjans, Jan Kleinjans, Don and Gertrude Riddering; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. A service to celebrate Gladys’ life will be held on Wednesday, July 23 at 11 AM at Westend Christian Reformed Church. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with her family on Tuesday from 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW and on Wednesday at the church from 10 AM until the time of the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either West Side Christian School Foundation or Allendale Christian School are appreciated. You may read more about Gladys’ life, share a favorite memory, or sign the register book by visiting www.lifestorynet.com