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Helen Sikkenga

May 14, 1915 - October 11, 2015
Kalamazoo, MI

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Visitations


Thursday, October 15, 2015
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Westwood United Methodist Church
538 Nichols Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Web Site

Services


Thursday, October 15, 2015
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
Westwood United Methodist Church
538 Nichols Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Web Site

Contributions


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.

Westwood United Methodist Church
538 Nichols Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Web Site

Great Lakes Hospice
Web Site

Flowers


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

Schafer's Flowers Inc.
3274 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(800) 760-7050
Driving Directions
Web Site

VanderSalm's Flipse
1120 S. Burdick
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
(800) 232-7134
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Helen Sikkenga, lived a life of purpose while holding her loved ones near. She was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, her focus was on blessing those around her in ways both great and small. Helen took her roles as a mother to heart, and there was nothing sweeter than witnessing her family tree blossom to include grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even a great-great-grandson, too. A longtime resident of the community she loved, she was a woman of faith whose beliefs were the moral compass she used to direct her steps. Deeply loved, Helen will never be forgotten.

More than a century has passed since our nation dealt with unsafe working conditions, a lack of child labor laws, and a middle class that was growing increasingly more dissatisfied with the American way of life. Although WWI was gaining momentum overseas, America had hopes of remaining neutral. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1915 when Raymond and Edith (Singer) Reed were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new baby as the beauty of spring unfolded in Mount Auburn, Illinois. The big day finally arrived on May 14th when the baby girl they named Helen Pauline drew her first breath. Her father was a farmer and also worked in home construction while her mother was a homemaker who also did a little of this and a little of that as needed.

Tragedy struck in Helen’s life with the death of her mother when she was just a young girl of eight. This was a devastating loss for her, and for five years she moved around before settling in Michigan at the age of 13. Helen’s father remarried Faye Boussom, and to the marriage Faye brought her two sons and daughter. Helen attended Kalamazoo schools including Kalamazoo Central High School.

New and exciting changes were in store for Helen when she met the love of her life. His name was Henry Sikkenga, and they met in homeroom in high school. They began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, the sweethearts were married on February 17, 1934. Together they welcomed three children including Raymond, Janice, and Carl into their hearts and home. They made their home in Dowagiac before moving to Kalamazoo when Carl was 13 years old. In addition to caring for her family, Helen worked as a nurse’s aide at Fairmont Hospital and Ridgeview Manor Nursing Home until retiring in 1980. When Henry’s work took him on the road, she joined him at times with Helen serving as the master navigator as this was something she did well. In 1974, she was deeply saddened with Henry’s death.

In addition to caring for her family and her time in the workforce, Helen kept busy in other ways. She spent countless hours volunteering through Visiting Nurses and Meals on Wheels. With an unwavering faith, she was also an active member of Westwood United Methodist Church. Helen was thrilled to be a grandmother, and she loved spending time with her family most of all. Of course her grandchildren always looked forward to finding something from grandma’s treat basket, too! Creative and talented, Helen had the most amazing ability to look at something and create it herself. In addition, she enjoyed collecting plates from various states and developed quite an amazing collection over the years.

All who knew Helen Sikkenga would agree that she was one of the sweetest people around. She was gracious and genuine, loving and generous no matter the circumstances around her. Always looking for ways she could help others, Helen’s devotion to her family was unmatched, and her family was her greatest source of pride and joy. Truly beautiful on the inside and out, she will never be forgotten.

Helen Pauline Sikkenga, of Kalamazoo, died on October 11, 2015. Helen’s family includes her two sons: Raymond (Reta) Sikkenga, of Dowagiac; Carl (Jeanette) Sikkenga, of Kalamazoo; nine grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; sister-in-law: Lola Boussom, of Kalamazoo; and many nieces and nephews. Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Henry; daughter, Janice K. Tripp; daughter-in-law, Jem Sikkenga; grandson, Douglas Tripp; great granddaughter, Megan Sikkenga; three brothers and two sisters. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at Westwood United Methodist Church, 538 Nichols Road, Kalamazoo. The funeral service will be held on Thursday at 11a.m. at the church with burial at Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park. Please visit Helen’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign her guestbook, share a photo and/or memory. Memorials may be made to Westwood United Methodist Church, Great Lakes Hospice, and/or charity of choice. The family is being assisted by Life Story Funeral Home, 5975 Lovers Lane, Portage (269-344-5600).

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