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.
St Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
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Life Story / Obituary
A hard-working, respected and ambitious woman, Judy Bouma lived a life with great energy and joy. Even when times were difficult, she proved that working to make the circumstances better was the best choice. She was a revered friend to many and lived her life with thoughtful intention.
The year of 1942 was a busy and historic year for the United States and ultimately the world. Abroad, WWII was in full swing and almost every square inch of the Earth was impacted in some way. Representatives from 26 countries, including America, created The Declaration of the United Nations which meant they pledged their governments to provide maximum war efforts and assured they would not make a separate peace. Closer to home, President Franklin D. Roosevelt assisted in helping lead the United States in rolling up their sleeves to aid the war efforts. Among the many new changes citizens faced, some were lowering the draft age from 21 to 18 years of age, nationwide rationing of many goods, and factories switching from their normal production to making weapons for war use.
The war was a big distraction from many other wonderful historic events. The movie “Casablanca” was released and nominated for 8 Academy awards and walked away with 3 of them including Best Picture. Perhaps the most enjoyed creation of 1942, providing many fond moments in households for years to come, was the release of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” This very song was probably played during an especially memorable holiday season in this special year, as this was the one in which Theodore and Wilma Van Slooten welcomed their daughter to the world on May 26th.
Judy grew up as the youngest in a family of three children; Phil and Karen took on the roles of protectors and playmates for their little sister. The Van Slooten’s home near Spencer and Sweet Street was a busy one filled with lots of happy chaos. Eventually, they moved to a home located on Comstock Boulevard. Judy’s parents instilled a strong foundation of religious faith in their children, as they were members of Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church. She also attended Creston Christian School, where Judy made many friends and happy memories.
After high school graduation, Judy chose to take classes at Calvin College - though she had many friends at Aquinas College also. Upon graduating with a bachelors degree, Judy became a teacher in Cedar Springs where she taught history and geography. Eventually, Judy married and was given the gift of her two cherished sons, Geoff and Christopher. She faced some difficult times in motherhood early on when they found that Christopher had Leukemia. She spent hours and hours on many days at St. Jude Children’s Hospital while he received treatments. He lost his battle with cancer at the tender age of four years old. Judy endured this loss with the help of loved ones and by great determination to help St. Jude’s in her son’s memory. She spent time volunteering and raising funds for the hospital over several years.
Though never forgetting her son, Judy found goodness in life and tried to make peace with the past, and she did this by keeping very busy. She began by re-entering the workforce and leaving the profession of teaching behind. While taking accounting classes, she worked at Steketees. After much hard work, Judy proudly landed a job with the city of Grand Rapids where she stayed for about 20 years. Her dedication eventually placed her as an accountant in the City Engineer’s Office. She loved her career in accounting and devoted herself to her job.
Judy was not only devoted to her job though, as she also loved life and had many close friends in which to share it. She literally had places to go and people to see all the time, and she never sat still for long. It was not unusual for friends to need to schedule time far in advance to catch her. Over the years, Judy had a variety of hobbies that she poured herself into. She played golf, and her game was consistent and accurate. Judy also bowled and could even sometimes be found on Sunday afternoons playing racquetball at the Community College. She did slow down slightly for her other hobbies which included quilting, gardening, photography, and birdwatching. Best of all though, Judy loved listening to music. Her tastes changed over the years, but some of her favorites included Barry Manilow, James Taylor and John Denver; however, in the last decade, the great Bob Dylan captured her attention. Amazingly, she owned over a thousand of his bootlegged concert recordings!
When she was not playing one of her many Bob Dylan albums, she did take a few fabulous trips with friends to places such as Europe, Washington DC, and New York City. Though these adventures were memorable, Judy had a soft spot in her heart for her hometown city of Grand Rapids; she found the city fascinating and supported it strongly. Staying local was important too because Judy always had a pet that needed attention and love - especially her cats.
Judy lived a life showing huge compassion for the world around her. She never wanted to be a burden to anyone, yet she was diagnosed with cancer last year and relied heavily on those she loved. Her battle ended on March 15 when she passed away to find peace. Judy could sometimes be stubborn and deeply set in her ways, but this was an admirable quality that created a life dedicated to living it the way she desired. She certainly made up for her sometimes stubborn ways with her great sense of humor and big heart. We will never forget the memories we shared with Judy in this life, and she will be dearly missed.
Judy Bouma, age 74 of Grand Rapids, passed away March 15, 2017. She was preceded in death by her son, Christopher; parents, Ted and Wilma Brunger; her brother, Phil Brunger; and brother-in-law Ed Brooks. Judy is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Geoff and Anna Bouma; sister, Karen Brooks; sister-in-law Norma Brunger; several nieces and nephews, and many friends. Friends are invited to join her family to share stories, support one another and celebrate Judy's life on Tuesday, March 21, from 4-7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield NE. For those who wish, memorial contributions to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are appreciated. To read more about Judy's life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign her online guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com