Joyce Grimmer

August 22, 1937 - May 12, 2017
Grand Rapids, MI

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Van Andel Institute (for cancer research)
333 Bostwick NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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Life Story / Obituary


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Joyce Grimmer’s quiet kindness, gentle care, and creative spirit gently inspired all who came to share time with her. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Joyce relished in sharing time with her family. Joyce humbly embraced others with sincerity and gratitude always making sure they knew how she appreciated them. While she will be deeply missed, Joyce’s legacy of love will long live in the hearts and lives of those who knew her best.

As hope began to rise with glimmers of an end to the Depression, John and Christine (Olbinski) Van Bennekom

welcomed their first child, Joyce Elaine, into their hearts and home on August 22, 1937.

The Van Bennekom family moved around the North side of Grand Rapids several times during Joyce’s childhood. Though they never moved very far, Joyce attended several elementary schools over the years. Along with the companionship of her younger sister, Karen “Sue,” Joyce enjoyed spending considerable time at her grandfather’s farm in Belmont. Joyce had many fond memories of sharing time with her aunts who lived on the farm and helping pick berries in the summer.

During one of her summers in Belmont, Joyce had the good fortune of meeting Arthur Grimmer who was nearly two years older than her. The two stayed in touch and began dating when they were teens. The couple married on May 27, 1955, at Second Congregational Church and honeymooned with a trip to Niagara Falls. After the honeymoon, the couple settled into a house in Belmont but moved again after the tornado came through and Joyce was ready to return to the city. Joyce lived most of the rest of her life in the same area: First on Herrick NE, then to Northwood Street and finally, two blocks away on Kelsey Street.

After graduating from Creston High School, Joyce worked for a short time at the Leonard Department Store, where her natural talent for arranging beautiful window displays was discovered and celebrated. This was a skill and love that Joyce and Arthur’s three children soon learned would inspire much movement in their home; furniture was often rearranged as Joyce discovered new ways to decorate. A devoted mother, Joyce took pride in creating a warm and loving home for her children. Joyce was very crafty; she had many creative ideas and was very good with her hands. Whether working with ceramics or flower arranging, Joyce’s natural flare assured beautiful creations and much pleasure. Despite not liking camping, the family enjoyed several vacations. Later in life, Joyce enjoyed several trips to Yellowstone with her son Rich where she was able to savor her love of wildlife and her soft spot for animals.

Never one to seek the spotlight, Joyce was quiet and reserved in nature. She conveyed a natural love for people with a gentle and sincere listening that easily conveyed her sincere interest in them. She built relationships with her favorite restaurant servers and made sure to go out of her way to thank those who did something special for her. Joyce saw people as real, and she valued her relationships with a profound sense of gratitude. She and her sister Sue were always close and spoke nearly every day, and Joyce thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom she spoiled as much as she could.

Whether going out to eat or celebrating an important event, Joyce treasured the simple joys of sharing time with those she loved. It was in the comforts of those she knew best that her voice was more freely heard and her wonderful sense of humor shined. Joyce’s love and care for others, which was rooted in a humble and deep faith, proved an inspiration for those who knew her best. Loved by many, Joyce will be long remembered and deeply missed.

Joyce E. Grimmer, age 79 of Grand Rapids, passed away May 12, 2017. She was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Norah. Joyce is survived by her husband, Arthur; children Richard, David & Cindy, and Dalayne & Rick Sietsema; grandchildren Aaron, Joshua (Jessie) and Hannah Grimmer, Kristi (Jed) Roelofs, Eric (Lindsey) Sietsema, Kelsey Sietsema; great-grandchildren Reagan, Dane and Ezra Roelofs, Parker and Brayden Sietsema; her sister, Sue (Gary) McClain and sister-in-law Margaret See. Her family will celebrate her life at a private service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to the Van Andel Institute for cancer research are appreciated. To share a memory or sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com