Izetta Corrigan Ward

January 31, 1919 - April 15, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Monday, April 18, 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

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
Northlawn United Methodist Church


Tuesday, April 19, 2016
12:00 PM EDT
Northlawn United Methodist Church
1157 Northlawn NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505


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.

Faith Hospice
2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5113
Driving Directions
Web Site

Northlawn United Methodist Church
1157 Northlawn NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
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


Izetta Corrigan’s life was enriched in countless ways. Through her family she found the greatest joy, and she delighted in many friendships as she brought warmth to all she encountered. Izetta never required much to make her happy. Independent and resilient, she concentrated on the positive side of things even when life wasn’t so easy. With her genuine and likable nature, she enlightened all with her sweet personality. Ever nurturing to those she held most dear, her caring and considerate spirit was reflected to everyone around her. And so typical of Izetta, her wonderful sense of humor delighted all to the last of her days.

By 1919, the end of World War I marked times of great change in America. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution was established, prohibiting the sale of alcohol anywhere in the U.S. The dial telephone was introduced, and the pogo stick was the favorite of neighborhood children everywhere. In the northern Michigan city of Bay Shore, Charles and Julia (Nestelski) Van Camp found much to be thankful for on January 31, 1919 when they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Izetta Elaine into their arms.

The youngest of eight children in her family, there was a 25-year difference between young Izetta and her oldest sibling. A likable young girl, Izetta, or “Izzy” as she was affectionately known, was quite the giggler as a child and she warmed the hearts of many with her lovely little personality. She was a good child, although times were not always easy for Izetta. Her mother sadly died when she was eight years old so she began living with her older brother and his family. The onset of the Great Depression created financial hardships for all, yet even so, she enjoyed a childhood filled with adventure and friends. She grew up in picturesque Harbor Springs where she attended the local schools and she did exceedingly well in her studies. She also took part in the drama program before graduating from Harbor Springs High School with the Class of 1937.

After graduating, a teacher looked out for Izetta and found her a job as a governess for a Chicago family. They summered in Harbor Springs, and wintered in West Palm Beach, Florida. With her unending love for children, this was a good fit for Izetta and it allowed her numerous experiences. While in Chicago, Izetta met a handsome young man who swept her off her feet. She and Hubert “Coupie” Corrigan dated for a time and on November 23, 1940 they were joined in marriage.

While living in Chicago, their family grew to include the blessing of two daughters, Patricia and Linda. A wonderful mother, Izetta was attentive and caring. There was nothing she enjoyed more than looking after her girls. She read to them and played games with them often, and she taught them at every opportunity, especially sharing her love and deep appreciation of science and nature. Izetta enjoyed reading about science and nature and all it had to offer. She loved the outdoors, and together with her daughters, they made daily trips to Lincoln Park to play.

Izetta and her family eventually moved to Grand Rapids to be closer to most of her family. She made a good home for her husband and daughters, which was always clean, but not necessarily tidy. As a family they rented vacation cottages on occasion, and they socialized often with extended family. When the girls were a little older, Izetta began working at Paul Steketee and Sons where for nearly 30 years she worked in various departments.

Although Izetta never drove, she liked walking and did so often. In her free time she enjoyed movies, gardening, reading, and she absolutely loved chocolate! She was especially fond of her large doll collection which she treasured. Always a very social woman, Izetta’s outgoing nature and personable demeanor made her a welcome addition to any gathering. With her warm smile and genuine, sweet personality, it was always a pleasure to share her company. Izetta’s resilience was tested once again in 1987 when her husband sadly passed away. Although an independent woman, her family and good friends were a source of comfort to her.

As fate would have it, several years later, Izetta reunited with an old high school friend who was also widowed. She and Lewis Ward made for the best companions and enjoyed their time together. After several years, they married in 1996. Together they traveled to see distant family members, splitting their year between Grand Rapids and Harbor Springs. As a couple, Izetta and Lewis enjoyed the friendships of many, and they shared many of the same interests, including going to garage sales.

Izetta loved spending time with her grandchildren and she was able to do so more often in her later years. She always made their time together special and enjoyable, and she was as nurturing to them as she was with her own children. Izetta was an involved member of Northlawn United Methodist Church. She always enjoyed crocheting, and through the years she made many items for the church bazaars. Additionally, the mission trips she took with the church were quite meaningful to her.

When her second husband, Lewis passed away in 2006, Izetta held fast to her faith, resilient nature, and she remained very independent. She spoke with her daughters often, and she always concluded their conversations with, “Keep in touch.” Even so, Izetta was naturally a worrier.

It didn’t take much to make Izetta happy. She was content with what she had, and with ways all her own, she was a gracious and sweet lady who’s ever present smile brightened the days of many. Izetta had a special way of connecting with people. She found good in everyone and never judged. Most importantly, Izetta will be remembered for her positive outlook and the way she shared her time and love with those who came to know and love her.

Izetta Elaine Corrigan Ward (nee Van Camp), age 97, died on April l5, 2016 following a short illness. Izzy is survived by two daughters, Patricia (Peter) Marks, and Linda Nielsen; two granddaughters, Anne Palmer and Jennifer Palmer; three great-grandsons, Conor, Ian and Liam; many nieces and nephews; and very special neighbors, Rachel and little Izzy. She was preceded in death by two husbands, Hubert Patrick Corrigan and Lewis Ward; her son-in-law, Evan Nielsen; her parents, Charles and Julia (Nestelski) Van Camp; two brothers and five sisters, Velma Horton, Edna Hoffmaster, Harold Van Camp, Dorothy Zych, Roy Van Camp, Thelma Van Oort, and Norine Mc Kibben. Her funeral service will be held on Tuesday, April 19 at 12 PM at Northlawn United Methodist Church, 1157 Northlawn NE. Her family will greet visitors on Monday from 7-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home-Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE and on Tuesday at the church from 11 AM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Northlawn United Methodist Church or Faith Hospice are appreciated. To read more about Izzy's life, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com