Joseph Scharphorn

September 30, 1927 - March 5, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Wednesday, March 9, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions


Thursday, March 10, 2016
11:00 AM EST
Seventh Reformed Church
950 Leonard NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


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.

Seventh Reformed Church Benevolence Fund
950 Leonard NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


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


When reflecting on the life of Joseph “Joe” Scharphorn, it is easy to see that he lived life with others in mind. He was hardworking and meticulous, but he was also the sort of person who did whatever needed to be done to provide for the family he treasured. Joe spent 67 years with the love of his life by his side, and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who filled his heart with joy. A vital part of his community, he was known for his unwavering faith and devotion to all who were within his reach. Joe could be stubborn as he liked things done his way, but he was also a man of great passion who always put his best foot forward. Although he will be deeply missed, he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on.

It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Cars were more affordable, radios became part of our lives, and Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb made baseball America’s favorite pastime. Also during this exciting time was a time of great excitement in the lives of Fred and Anna (DeBoer) Scharphorn as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Joseph Herbert on September 30, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Known as Joe, he was the youngest of four children in his family as he was raised in the family home on White Street alongside his siblings, Fred, Eileen, and Dorothy.

In many ways, Joe was a young boy of his generation. He learned the value of hard work helping his dad in wood turning. Joe spent his summers in Fremont where he helped his uncle at his store. He also worked for Gerber and once skipped school and rode his bike to Fremont. Joe attended local schools where he was known as a good kid who excelled in his studies. He attended West Leonard Elementary, Harrison Park, and then Union High School where he was involved in the ROTC and even made captain. Joe and his family attended Northwest Gospel Hall where faith was established as a cornerstone in his life.

After graduating from Union High School, Joe joined the Navy for one year. Much of his time was spent aboard the USS Invade. He was primarily responsible for clearing out old mines in the aftermath of WWII. Joe enjoyed his time in the service, but he never really talked about it much. After being discharged, he returned home and started working as a typesetter. Joe made a lifelong career in the printing industry. This was actually a great fit for him since he was methodical and meticulous by nature.

As a young man Joe became reacquainted with the young woman who would change the course of his life forever. Her name was Phyllis, and they dated for about a year before becoming husband and wife on August 27, 1948, at Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Church. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon at Big Star Lake with record temperatures that reached 107 degrees that August. Joe and Phyllis lived in a home on Alpine and Richmond for a few years, then moved to Temple, SE, then Charles, and then to Fountain Street, which is where they primarily raised their children. Together they were blessed with six children including Wayne, Jayne, Doug, Laura, Jeff, and Marc over a period of 17 years.

Throughout his life, Joe was very focused on his family. He was an amazing father who was a strict disciplinarian but also very supportive, inspirational, and devoted to his children. Although at times he worked two jobs to make ends meet, Joe was also very intentional in spending time with his family when he was home. He usually came home from work and relaxed in his chair with the newspaper just to unwind. Joe was involved with his children and coached several of them in baseball. He was there for all of their events, and he didn’t shy away from shouting from the sidelines. As a family they enjoyed many picnics and trips to the beach, and they also took a few vacations around the state.

Always on the go, Joe was a bustle of activity. Faith was a cornerstone in his life, and his life exemplified what it means to be a living example of the beliefs that were engraved upon his heart. He and his family were members of Hope Reformed for many years, and for the last 33 years they were members of 7th Reformed Church where he served as an elder and spent many years on the counting committee. Joe and Phyllis had a few close friends with whom they often got together, and for many years he was on a bowling league and was heavily involved in softball and baseball. Not only did he play, but Joe also coached, watched his kids, and was involved in establishing the NE Little League. He and his wife moved to their home on Beaumont, NW, and it was there that they spent their retirement years after Joe retired about 23 years ago. He became a devoted Grand Valley State University fan, even helping his cousin coach there for a time. He then became an avid football fan. From that point forward, Joe and Phyllis rarely missed a game and even traveled for national championship games. Games became a family affair with family tailgating before the game and enjoying the game together. Joe was very organized as well as meticulous about the way the yard was mowed. He was there to support his grandchildren in all their activities, and when the family was gathered for the holidays Joe always wanted to get caught up on what was going on with everyone. For years he was involved with the Grand Valley Blood program both as a donor and as a volunteer.

Life became a bit of a struggle about two years ago when Joe underwent heart surgery. This opened the door to additional health struggles, and he withdrew a bit to avoid appearing frail to others. Joe still deeply loved his family and was so proud of each family member and all of their accomplishments. His last days were spent surrounded by the love of his family.

Through the life he lived each day, Joe Scharphorn inspired those around him. He was sure to present himself well and was all about serving others. Although he was more private by nature, Joe was genuine, supportive, and social with those he felt comfortable with, and his deep love for his family was truly unmatched. He will never be forgotten.

Joe Scharphorn, age 88 of Grand Rapids, passed away with family by his side on March 5, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Phyllis; children Wayne Scharphorn, Jayne (Bob) Philipps, Doug (Pat) Scharphorn, Laura (Paul) Verbrugge, Jeff (Carol) Scharphorn, Marc (Jim Babb) Scharphorn; 13 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He was a member of Seventh Reformed Church where his service will be held on March 10 at 11 AM. Friends are invited to visit with his family on Wednesday from 5-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. His family suggests memorial donations be made to Seventh Reformed Church Benevolence Fund. To read more about Joe's life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com