Friday, June 3, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
East Leonard Christian Reformed Church
1027 Leonard St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI
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.
East Leonard Christian Reformed Education Fund
1027 Leonard St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Throughout his life, and with faith as his ever-present guide, John Star enjoyed numerous adventures with family and friends by his side. A likable and fun-loving man, it was a joy to share his company especially in the great outdoors he so loved. John was a man of many talents and those who knew him best considered it a blessing to share his laughter, optimism, and kindness. His generosity touched the lives of many, but most importantly, his life was surrounded by the love of family and the memories made with them. A life well lived, he was loved by all and leaves behind a legacy always to be remembered.
The son of Bert and Clarissa (Wegter) Star, John William Star was born on October 29, 1933, in the riverfront city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The youngest of five, John joined his older siblings Annette, Jean, Carolyn, and Clarence in their family home off Leffingwell NE on his family’s dairy farm. Noted as the worst year of the Great Depression, the lack of jobs and hard financial uncertainty was evident from coast to coast. Despite these times of struggle during the early years of John’s life, America’s thirst for entertainment was a welcome deviation from these times of turmoil.
To support his growing family, John’s father was a hardworking farmer who owned and operated Star Dairy. Everyone in the family did their part, and along with chores and school, John enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation. John received his early education from Baldwin Christian Elementary School. Faith was an integral part of his upbringing, and it remained with him throughout his days. During his teen years, John enjoyed many friendships. During this time in John’s formative years, the nation began focusing its’ efforts on war production, and much was being done on the home front which bolstered the economy during World War II.
Having attended Grand Rapids Christian High School, John met the love of his life, Cynthia Glass at school. Even though she was an upperclassman, John mustered up the courage to call her one day to invite her to go along with him and some friends to the beach in Grand Haven. Even though her parents had plans at their home that day, Cynthia agreed to go. It was only the beginning of a wonderful romance, and after John graduated in 1951, the two were later married on June 20, 1952 at Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church. Together they spent a memorable honeymoon at the picturesque Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The newlyweds began their new life together living on the northwest side of Grand Rapids. John first worked as a plasterer, while Cynthia was a pediatric nurse. John was a hard working man who provided well for those entrusted to his care. He eventually became a plumber by trade, having worked for various companies and later, the union. Before long they welcomed the birth of three wonderful children into their hearts and home. Thomas arrived in 1954, followed by Mariclaire in 1956, and Carol completed their family in 1959.
With a deep-rooted faith, John and Cynthia raised their family at 2910 Leonard Street NE. John’s father once owned the land where Cornerstone University now stands, and before the area was developed, he graciously gave each of his children land to live on. With his siblings and their families close by, the holidays and other special occasions were often shared in the company of aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Through the years, John enjoyed the adventures of travel. One time while working a job on Horton Bay, he and his family spent a memorable three-month vacation there. When John returned home after work to where they were staying each day, he and Cynthia would take the kids exploring. Their family also liked tent camping, and they did so all over, particularly in the Upper Peninsula. As always, John took the role of camp cook which he enjoyed. When it came to food, John favored a good steak and homemade pie.
John was a true outdoorsman. He loved being out in the fresh open spaces and all it had to offer, especially fishing and hunting. To his credit, John had the experience of hunting moose and caribou in Canada, and he went on two African safaris. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, John loved to hunt and fish. In 1995 when John retired, it allowed more time to spend traveling in their fifth wheel motor home. He and Cynthia traveled all over the country, but they especially loved being out west. Through his many experiences, John was a great storyteller. He captured not only the attention of his listeners but their imaginations, too.
There were many sports John loved watching, except golf, because in his opinion, “that wasn’t a sport.” He also enjoyed racing. In fact, he and Cynthia were good friends with racing legend, Johnny Benson Sr. and his wife. Over the years, John spent much time watching races at the Speed Dome. Along with sports, John liked spending time with family and friends. At home he was an avid gardener for many years, and he liked growing a variety of vegetables.
John led an active and full life until just over a year ago when he underwent lung surgery. Even so, his health continued to decline and in need of more care, he recently moved to Holland Home.
A friend of many and beloved by those closest to him, John Star enlightened the lives of those around him. With ways all his own, he enjoyed an appreciated the simple pleasures in life, living fully and completely at every opportunity. Gone but never to be forgotten, he will be dearly missed.
Mr. John William Star, aged 82, of Grand Rapids, passed away on May 30, 2016. John is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Cynthia; children, Thomas and Lisa Star, Mariclaire and Rick Rozema, and Carol and Dan Holwerda; grandchildren, Jason and Casey Star, Amber and Brandon VanSingel, Philip Star, Nicholas and Amber DenBesten, Samantha Star and fiancé Andrew Bloemers, Marisa and Stephen DenBoer, Pamela and Kevin Mersman, Robert and Melissa Rozema, Jenna and Japhy Leggett, Brandon and Meghan Holwerda, Seth Holwerda, and Trevor Holwerda and fiancée Lindsey Gaines; 18 great-grandchildren with two on the way. Also surviving are his siblings, Annette Broene, Jean Ryskamp, Carolyn Huissen, and Clarence and Arlene Star; many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, June 3, 2016, at East Leonard Christian Reformed Church, 1027 Leonard St. NE. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 PM on Thursday at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE and on Friday for one hour prior to the service at the church. Contributions in his memory may be made to East Leonard Christian Education Fund. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory and photo of John and to sign his guestbook online.