Life Story / Obituary
Although she lived a rich and rewarding life filled with numerous enriching experiences, there was nothing that was more near and dear to the heart of Judith Ilbrink than being surrounded by the love of her family. It was easy to see that she was guided by her faith, and through the life she lived each day she truly exemplified what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. Although life was not without struggles at times, Judy faced whatever came her way with a quiet strength that was truly inspiring. She cherished her role as a mother, but she just may have argued that being a grandmother was life’s greatest reward. Judy will be deeply missed, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will forever cherish.
The 1930s were some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, which drove the unemployment rate to over 25 percent, and things only went from bad to worse when an unrelenting drought held our nation and much of the world firmly in its grip for nearly two years during this time. Despite the trials around them, Edward and Cornelia “Kate” VanDriel Ludwick were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Judith Kay on December 9, 1938, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Judy was the youngest of three children as she was raised in the family home at Widdicomb and Courtney, NW on the West side. Her father worked for the city market as a huckster peddling fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods.
In many ways, Judy was a young girl of her generation. She and her family were members of Broadway Avenue Christian Reformed Church, and as a student Judy attended West Side Christian School. While growing up she regularly helped her father at the market, and she also had a job downtown at a dime store called H.L. Green. Judy’s high school years found her at Grand Rapids Christian High School. She went on to graduate from high school in 1957, and she later worked in the office for her brother, Edward, who owned Ludwick Donuts. Judy also worked in the office at Fidelity Loan Co.
New and exciting changes were in store for Judy when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Harold Ilbrink on a blind date when she was in the 11th grade in 1956. They dated for about 18 months and were then married on May 8, 1958, at Grandville Avenue Christian Reformed Church where their reception was also held. The newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon at Niagara Falls. After returning home, they moved into an apartment at 2459 Forest Grove. After 18 months, they bought a home on Widdicomb Avenue where they remained for 41 years. Together they welcomed two daughters, Beth and Amy, into their hearts and home. Sadly, their son, Timothy, died shortly after birth. As a family the Ilbrinks became members of Broadway Avenue Christian Reformed Church, which later relocated in the 60s and became Westview CRC where they go today. As a family they loved vacationing all over Michigan, first in a tent and later in a travel trailer. They also went to the East Coast to Maine, New England, New York, Pennsylvania. Closer to home, they frequently camped at both Holland and Grand Haven campgrounds.
Although her primary commitment was to her family, Judy also kept busy in other ways. She loved reading and frequently visited the bookmobile that was often in her neighborhood, also encouraging her girls to read and pursue a solid education. Judy was active at her church including in Bible studies and teaching Sunday school. She often kept busy knitting and crocheting things like gloves, mittens, blankets, hats, and afghans, and she also enjoyed sewing some outfits for her girls and taking care of the mending. Judy was an amazing cook whose specialties included roast beef and potatoes, Dutch lettuce, hot fudge, a variety of casseroles, and mouse, which is a Dutch dish. Judy loved gospel and country music, and she rarely missed her soap operas or Judge Judy, America’s Got Talent, Let’s Make a Deal, and Dancing With the Stars.
During their retirement years, Judy and Harold truly lived life. They bought a motorhome and traveled throughout the United States. While camping in Grand Haven on one occasion, some straight-line winds blew many campers over on their side, including theirs, but thankfully they escaped with only a few bumps, bruises, and a broken shin for Judy. She was in all her glory as a grandmother, and she never missed any of her grandchildren’s school events or activities, birthdays, or other special days. Later, Judy and Harold rented a condo in West Palm Beach, Florida, where they wintered for many years. They eventually sold their home and moved to a condo on Bona Vista Dr. As she got older, Judy had her share of health issues including fused vertebra, two shoulders and a knee repair. It was less than two weeks ago when she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer throughout her body for which little could be done. Although this was a difficult time, it was also a time that drew the family closer.
Described as loving, caring, and nurturing with a good sense of humor, too, Judith Ilbrink was an extraordinary woman to know and love. She was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, her sights were set on serving others while loving her family without end. Judy will be forever remembered by all who were blessed to know and love her.
Judith Kay “Judy” Ilbrink (Ludwick), passed away at Spectrum Health – Blodgett Hospital on Friday, September 18, 2015. She was preceded in death by her infant son, Timothy, her brother, Edward Ludwick, her sister, Eleanor Verhey, and her parents, Edward and Kate Ludwick. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Harold Ilbrink; her children, Beth and Ken Meinders, Amy and Ted Porter; her four grandchildren, Timothy, Kathryn and Meaghan Meinders and Rachael Porter; her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Marie Ludwick, Harry Verhey, Robert and Joanne Ilbrink, Margaret Warners, Marvin Ilbrink, many nieces, nephews and friends. Judy was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister and a friend to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered. Judy was a member of Westview Christian Reformed Church, 2929 Leonard St. NW, where the service to celebrate her life will be held on Wednesday at 11:00 AM, September, 23, 2015. Visitation will be held at the church on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. Contributions in her memory may be made to Christian Rest Home. To read more about Judy’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com