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.
Stepping It Up for Emily c/o Hillcrest CRC
3617 Hillcrest Rd.
Hudsonville, MI 49426
Emily is a friend of JoAnn's family.
Life Story / Obituary
With a journey that spanned times of great change in the world around her, JoAnn DeKoster fully embraced each and every day she was given. She spent most of her life in the Grand Rapids area, and she fully dedicated her days to serving others in ways both great and small. JoAnn was content with whatever life brought, and she could find the beauty in everything. Her devotion to her family was unmatched, and it was when surrounded by their love that she was happiest. Life will never be the same without JoAnn here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The year 1929 is often recalled as the year that the historic crash of the stock market sent our nation and much of the world spiraling down into the depths of the Great Depression. It was a few months prior to that historic October day that George and Gertie (Loucks) Scholten were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named JoAnn on March 24, 1929, in McBain, Michigan. The youngest of six children, she was joined in her family by her siblings, Grace, John, Gladys, Gerrit, and Jay. JoAnn was raised on the family farm where they had primarily crops, and for this reason there was always plenty to do. Before leaving for school she could often be found pulling weeds or picking potatoes and beans, and she also learned how to can. Although living on the farm meant there was hard work to be done, she did enjoy the simple life.
Even as a young girl JoAnn was a bustle of activity. She was well cared for by her older siblings and enjoyed playing with her sisters. One chore was hanging up her brothers’ Sunday clothes, and she always enjoyed adding hay to the mattresses because it was when she was actually allowed to jump on the bed. As a student JoAnn attended Lucas Christian School, and faith was important to her parents so they laid a solid foundation of faith in their lives. She looked forward to Fourth of July picnics when her dad would give them $.25 cents to spend at the fair in Cadillac. On her birthday one year, JoAnn’s parents sold the farm, and they moved to Grand Rapids. Three days later she started her first job at Keeler Brass where she knew several other people from her hometown and spent about 10 years working.
New and exciting changes were in store for JoAnn when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Herm DeKoster, and they met out on a double date with her friend, Doris. That date led to more dates, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together JoAnn and Herm were married on April 5, 1951, in Grand Rapids after he completed basic training in the Navy. The newlyweds moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where they lived for several months until he left for overseas. JoAnn worked at an aluminum window and screen factory. When Herm was overseas, JoAnn returned to Grand Rapids to live with her parents, working at Dexter Lock. She was also active with her nieces and nephews during this time as well.
Not long after they were reunited, JoAnn and Herm were blessed with the birth of their son, Dean. Twins Sherry and Terry completed the family a few years later. They first lived in Wyoming, but then settled into their home of 40 years in Beckwith Hills on the Northeast side beginning in 1965. As a family they attended Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church. In order to have a little extra spending money, JoAnn found work at Pilgrim Manor when the kids were young while Herm held down the fort at home on the afternoons and evenings she was working. She often had meals waiting, and her family was especially fond of her potato salad and macaroni and cheese. The house was clean also, but it was a family affair.
The DeKoster family had some amazing times together. For years they trailered a boat to several lakes with friends including Gun Lake, Green Lake, and Silver Lake for two weeks around the Fourth of July. Eventually, they bought property on the Pere Marquette River where they spent virtually every weekend. Although it was rustic with no plumbing or indoor bathrooms during the early years, JoAnn loved walks in the woods, hunting for mushrooms, and quality time with family and good friends. Their family, which later grew to include grandchildren, made some of their best memories there. JoAnn and Herm had several longtime friends, and they loved to play cards. She and her husband also enjoyed golfing together as well as working in their vegetable garden.
In 1990, JoAnn and her husband downsized their home to Leisure Village in Belmont, and she continued mowing the lawn and shoveling well into her eighties since she enjoyed doing these things. A short time after Herm passed away in 2007, JoAnn, moved in with her son, Dean, and also spent several months of the year in South Carolina with her daughter. JoAnn loved spending time with her grandchildren, who affectionally called her Grandma Jo. Perhaps the only thing better was becoming a great-grandmother. JoAnn also endured health issues from 2007 on, which made the simple life she loved much more complicated. She enjoyed keeping busy with word searches and playing solitaire.
All who knew JoAnn DeKoster would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was generous, kind, and generous beyond compare with just the right amount of spunk mixed in that made her so much fun. JoAnn treasured her family, and although they will miss her deeply they find comfort in knowing she is enjoying perfect peace in her eternal home.
Encircled by family, beloved JoAnn DeKoster passed peacefully into eternity on March 2, 2018, at the age of 88 years. Those closest to JoAnn knew her as Mom, Grandma or Grandma Jo. JoAnn follows the passing of her soul mate and husband of 56 years, Herman DeKoster (May 24, 2007). She will be missed by: their children Dean and Linda DeKoster, Terry DeKoster, Sherry DeKoster and husband David Morrill; grandchildren Nathan and Meghan DeKoster, Nicholas and Katherine DeKoster, Christina and Wade Windemuller, Brittany and Paul Windemuller, Ben and Sarah DeKoster; and 16 great grandchildren; brother Jay (Elsa) Scholten; brother-in-law Don DeKoster, and many nieces and nephews. She was also preceded in death by her siblings Grace Parm, John Scholten, Gladys Warners, and Gerrit Scholten.
JoAnn lived a certain way. She appreciated many of the simple things in life—spending time with family, playing cards, preparing and serving food for any occasion, trips to Silver Lake and South Carolina, camping along the Pere Marquette River, hunting for morel mushrooms, or just being still. She was quiet at times, but also spunky and funny. She was a caretaker, and a woman who loved her family. These are not only characteristics her family will remember closely, but they are traits passed on through stories and memories of how JoAnn influenced others. She was loved. She will be missed.
Today, JoAnn sees with new eyes and breathes with new lungs but probably kept her old, familiar smile. She is in now in the presence of her Savior, along with her beloved Herm., With blest assurance we declare: It Is Well and we will see you soon Grandma Jo.
A celebration of JoAnn’s life will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 11 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW where relatives and friends are welcomed to gather and share memories with her family on Monday from 5-8 PM and on Tuesday from 10 - 10:45 AM. To pass on the spirit of Grandma Jo, memorial donations to Stepping Up for Emily (a close friend of JoAnn's family) are appreciated. To read more about JoAnn's life, to share a memory or sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com