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Life Story / Obituary
Determined, wonderfully friendly, and absolutely loving, Janice Gritter leaves behind quite a legacy of how to make the best out of life. Though she had her stubborn side, her ambitious desire to seek ultimate independence was always admirable. Janice was a kind and generous friend to so many, and she will never be forgotten.
Janice began her life in the year of 1953. This year marked President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first term in office which proved to be an exciting and popularly historic time. Marilyn Monroe and Peter Pan were common household names, and families everywhere anxiously anticipated the half hour airing of “I Love Lucy.” Though that particular program never broadcasted in color, this was the year a lucky viewer could actually purchase a color capable television set. The standard of living was steadily growing, and people were happily hula hooping while listening to rock -n- roll. Times were pretty good - especially for Matthew and Jennie Snoek, as they prepared to meet their precious daughter. Janice Louise was welcomed into the world on April 3, 1953, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Janice and her siblings, MarJean, Ken, and Ray kept their parents busy. While their four children created memories, Janice's parents worked hard to give them a good life. Her father was a hilo driver and also delivered flowers. Janice's mother worked at Chr Rest Home. They chose to raise their family in a home located on 5th Street on the NW side of Grand Rapids.
Though Janice was developmentally disabled, she lived her life with great joy. Her family had an especially soft spot in her heart, as she was very protective of them. She also surrounded herself with many friends throughout her life. She loved to be social and enjoyed the good company of others. All of these qualities were apparent early on when she attended special education programs at Harrison Park Elementary. When she was not making friends at school, she and her family were members of Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church where she enjoyed more opportunities to be social.
As she matured, she embraced a position working at Shelter Workshop put on by Hope Network. She also sought independence as she entered adulthood and never lost the desire to find more of it. She moved out of her parents' house to a group home environment where she celebrated her independence but under an adult foster care situation.
Her new living situation suited her well - so well, in fact, that she opened her life to the destiny of love. When she lived in one special home located on 68th Street, she met a man who changed her life and captured her heart. His name was David Gritter, and the two made a happy couple. After dating for awhile, they both agreed that marriage was in their future. Many of Janice's family members and some friends were unsure about their romantic plans and such a large commitment, but both David and Janice were determined. Where there is determined love, nothing can stand in the way!
The newlyweds proved all doubters wrong, for their relationship and marriage turned out to be good for both of them. They moved into an apartment on the same floor as Janice's mother. This living situation proved helpful, as it allowed Janice and David independence and privacy while still maintaining an assisted living type environment. Janice treasured her marriage, and the joy it provided helped her focus on living her life fully.
Sadly, Janice was forced to say goodbye to her partner in life. David passed away on May 17, 2000. With the support from her loved ones, Janice held close the memories she and David shared and found the goodness in life again. She moved to a new home at Leonard Pines and continued to find solace as a member of New Community Church.
When Janice found time for herself, she enjoyed several activities. She was skilled with knitting needles and made mittens, hats, and sweaters. Many family members received these items as Christmas gifts, and they now remain artifacts of her thoughtful love. Sometimes, she would knit while listening to her favorite kind of music - country and western (especially the likes of Randy Travis). If all else failed, she would tune in to watch a few soap operas while enjoying a delicious pizza, her favorite food - though she liked all kinds of food.
In time, Janice began showing signs of declining health because of dementia. She moved to Heartland Health Care Center on E. Beltline. Here she found new friends and stayed as social as she was able. As time progressed, however, her quality of life declined. On August 9th, 2017, Janice took her final breath in this lifetime. As we look to one another for comfort in our shared grief, it is helpful to know Janice is now at peace. We will miss her friendship and eager conversation, but our memories will forever rest in our hearts.
GRITTER (SNOEK) – Mrs. Janice L. Gritter aged 64, of Grand Rapids, passed away on August 9, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband, David Gritter; parents, Matthew and Jennie Snoek; and brother-in-law, Jim Green. Janice is survived by her siblings, MarJean (SNOEK) Green, Ken and Corinne Snoek, and Ray and Michelle Snoek; brothers-in-law; and many nieces and nephews. The Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Monday, August 14 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Friends are invited to visit with her family from 10 AM until the time of the service. Contributions in her memory may be made to Heartland Healthcare Center. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read Janice’s lifestory, archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.