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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Jerry Heyboer, words such as hardworking and kind hearted come to mind, yet the word that is most fitting to describe him would be selfless. Exceptionally generous, Jerry loved to give back to the community he loved. There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for a friend or family member in need. He leaves behind a wonderful collection of fond memories shared over the years for his many close friends and special family.
Not much could be said about the 1940’s without some reference to WWII. In fact, June 6th of 1944 was the war’s most notorious day, D-Day, which occurred on the beaches of Normandy, marking the end of the war in Europe. Only days before this unforgettable time in our world’s history, Jerry was born to James and Henrietta “Pat” (DeJager) Heyboer on May 30th in Grand Rapids.
Born a twin to his brother, James and a younger brother to his sister, Janice, he lived a typical childhood of the times. The Heyboers made their home on Arianna St. NW, where his father was a truck driver who delivered caskets for Furniture City and his mother was a homemaker. Raised during meager times, the three children often spent their summer days collecting pop cans in exchange for deposits used to spend on an extra night of camping! Pitching a large circus like tent near the shores of Lake Michigan in Grand Haven, they spent their time fishing off the pier and chasing the waves. There was always a sense of sorrow as they said goodbye to another summer and started another year at Harrison Park Elementary. A boy of natural wonder and mischief, once while secretly playing football which was forbidden on Sunday, he fell and broke his collarbone! He learned his lesson by suffering long into the following Monday before he finally worked up enough courage to tell them! The shenanigans continued on into his high school years where he and his twin brother, James were known to switch classes so that Jerry could complete James’ tests for him! The two of them were especially close sharing their days at Richmond Park nearly every day! They enjoyed swimming, skiing, ice skating, football, basketball and even rode go karts down the hill! With the exception of occasional sibling rivalry, they were a special set of twins! Endeared to one another from a young age, they enjoyed countless hours of both hunting and fishing together. Once they remarkably rode their bikes all the way to the Grand Haven Pier and back home again to get in every last minute of fishing before sneaking into their beds without dinner! Perhaps, it was their solid foundation of faith from their worship years at both Richmond Reformed and Seventh Reformed Church that forgave all of their wrongdoings over their growing years!
Not to be forgotten, was the day, while working at Tassell Industries in Standale, he met Esther Root! She stole his attention from that very day she started working there while on college break from Calvin. Not wasting any time, Jerry asked her out on a date on a memorable July 29, 1966, and only eleven months later they joined in marriage on June 30, 1967, at Seventh Reformed Church. Luckily, they were able to sneak off for a romantic honeymoon in the Smokies before Jerry received notice that he was drafted for the Vietnam war. Serving for six months, they reunited in Hawaii to treasure wonderful memories and to make up for missed time together. Settling back into an apartment above Pete’s Meat Market on Alpine, they continued building their nest egg. Working hard at Michcon and later DTE, Jerry and Esther were ready to start a family of their own! First came Kevin, then Lori, and finally, Lisa to make their loving family complete. Jerry savored his years as a father. As a young family, they spent many years traveling. They enjoyed Disney World and renting cabins and cottages in beautiful state parks and campgrounds throughout Michigan. He and Esther valued teaching their children Christian values and establishing a comfortable home where they were all able to reach their fullest potential. It was noticeable to even a stranger, that Jerry was very proud of each of his children.
Jerry truly lived his life to the fullest by engaging in many special interests over the years. A serious foodie, he loved to sink his teeth into a Texas sizzler steak at the Texas Roadhouse or savor delicious shrimp and perch dishes at the Rainbow Grill or Grand Villa restaurants. His favorite food to grill at home was pork chops and he’d gladly finish off any meal with a Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen! An avid golfer and member of a bowling league, Jerry made many lasting friendships on local courses and alleys! A nature lover, when hunting season rolled around, he couldn’t wait to get in the woods! He found much peace and solitude there. As for fishing, it was hit or miss! Once on a memorable trip with his son-in-law, he yelled out for everyone to come and see the big fish he was reeling in, only to find he had hooked into a boulder! With much the same excitement, he loved cheering on his favorite football and baseball teams. Retirement allowed Jerry time to travel to many beautiful parts of the US including Florida, Utah, and Colorado. Another treasured trip was to the country of Mexico. He also found more time to listen to his favorite Paul Harvey show on the radio and catch the Price is Right! An active member of the church community at Calvary Church, Jerry passed away sooner than expected from his battle with cancer, almost exactly eleven years after his twin brother, James. There is no doubt Jerry will be deeply missed and his memories will be cherished forever.
Mr. Jerry B. Heyboer aged 73, of Grand Rapids, a child of God, went home to be with his Savior, Jesus Christ on July 25, 2017. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3” Jerry was preceded in death by his twin brother, James Heyboer. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Esther; children, Kevin (Colleen) Heyboer, Lori Heyboer, and Lisa (Joe) Panek; grandchildren, Loreali, Evin, Tyler, Breanna, and Layla; sister, Janice (David) Wierenga; sisters-in-law, Marilyn Heyboer, Ann Root and LaVerne Root; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Jerry served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. The Funeral Service will be held at 1 PM on Friday, July 28, 2017, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Friends are invited to visit with his family from 6-8 PM on Thursday and one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Mel Trotter Ministries, Calvary Church Grace Beyond Project or Lemmen Holton Cancer Pavilion. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.