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Life Story / Obituary
Selfless, generous, and patient, June Breuker lived her long life lovingly centered around her faith and family. With deep devotion, discipline, and commitment, June willingly gave of herself relishing in the growth and well-being of her large family. Her heart’s delight grew with the birth of each grandchild and great-grandchild who became the embodiment of her life’s legacy. Deeply treasured, June leaves behind a skillfully needled tapestry of beautiful memories her loved ones will forever hold as priceless heirlooms of spirit.
The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace, a booming economy, rising wages for most Americans and falling consumer prices, gave rise to a higher standard of living for most. The world quickly changed with the inventions of wash machines, vacuum cleaners, the band-aid, and the first automobile with a combustion engine. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade when a person’s success was largely determined by their ability to identify their desires and then work to make them a reality. Locally, this vibrant decade grew even brighter for John and Wilhelmina (Poel) Workman of Muskegon, MI as they welcomed their first child June Wilma into their hearts and home on March 30th, 1923.
As the oldest of four children June’s sense of responsibility and good care of others began in her early years. While her father supported the family by working as a mailman, her mother worked as a homemaker. June attended Muskegon Christian Elementary school and graduated from Muskegon High School in 1941. Growing up during the Great Depression June learned how to face life’s challenges with a firm sense of faith and confidence in her resourcefulness.
During her high school years, June met and soon became smitten with Burton Breuker. The two dated for several years often attending church together. On December 27, 1944, while Burton was on leave from the Army, the happy couple married at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church. The newlyweds spent the rest of Burton’s leave in Chicago. After Burton left for service in the European conflict, June returned to live with her parents while working as a stenographer at E. H. Sheldon Co. in Muskegon.
After Burton’s safe return home and the completion of his schooling at Calvin College, the couple began to welcome their eight beautiful children: Robert, Judyth, Donald, Barbara, Charles, Joyce, Burton Jr. and Faith.
While Burton provided for the family by working as a teacher, June lovingly embraced the challenges of raising the children and running the home. With selfless grace and infinite patience, June focused her energies on meeting her family’s every need. As the family only had one car which Burton needed to meet his job’s demands, June spent the bulk of her time at home. She ran a tight ship. The children were held to firm expectations such as signing in and out on the family board, only using the telephone for five minutes or less, locking the door and turning off the lights if the last one in the door, and no television on Sundays. Despite that last rule, the children managed to sneak upstairs to watch the historical lunar landing! Though her expectations were firm, she was equally quick to lend her children a supportive hand. The boys often benefitted from her assistance in rolling the newspapers for their routes, and she always had a plate made up and keeping warm on the stove top should one of the kids miss supper while attending a practice.
Though their financial means were humble, June possessed a tremendous depth of resourcefulness that helped assure her family’s needs were met. The family never ate out, for a standard meat and potatoes meal was not only prudent but necessary. A large vegetable garden provided much of the family’s food, and June sold the excess to Neal Mieras to buy the kids one new pair of shoes each year. During the leanest of times June’s children vividly remember one occasion when a cousin came over for dinner but didn’t eat because there wasn’t enough food to go around. They also remember that every time the family felt like they would be short, an envelope with money in it would appear in the mailbox.
Such a faith-affirming experience only reinforced the beliefs the family explored and celebrated during their attendance at West Leonard Christian Reformed Church. June supported the church’s many events by lovingly creating delicious baked goods. Her famous applesauce, Jello, and Boston Brown bread often provided comfort to those who were gifted with their delicious nourishment. June also served as the Mary Martha Bible Leader. Her leadership included her piano playing, wonderful desserts, and loving guidance. June’s knitting skills resulted in making sure all the new babies were enveloped in a soft, warm embrace right from the start.
Without a doubt, June’s family was her greatest joy. Sunday family dinners, holidays, and birthdays were infused with her love and dedication. Whether cooking the morning’s oatmeal on the stovetop, taking the kids camping in Grand Haven while Burton worked his summer job, or graciously welcoming her children’s friends and mates into her heart, June was happiest when meeting her loved one’s needs and supporting their endeavors.
Once her children were grown June grew her volunteerism. She worked as a poll worker and also ran the daycare at the West YMCA. After Burton retired, the couple enjoyed traveling more especially enjoying a memorable Alaskan Cruise through the inner passage. Later on, after selling their home and moving into a condo in Jenison, June and Burton grew to enjoy spending a month during the winter in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The greatest gift of these later years was the time to attend her grandchildren’s events.
In 2008, after 63 years of marriage, June had to say goodbye to her beloved husband. Soon after Burton died, June fell, and her children noticed that she forgot how to bake and cook. As June began to require more care, her children helped her make a move to Oakcrest Manor, later known as American House. June’s final years were spent in the comforts of the fine care and compassion of the American House community. It is here that June was called home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on the anniversary of her husband’s death, March 21, 2017. Though the world is surely duller without June’s steadfast light, her warm and loving Faith legacy will continue to shine in the hearts and lives of those she leaves behind.
June was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Burton; daughter, Judyth Gezon; grandson, James Gezon; sister, Ruth Elve; and numerous brothers-in-law and sisters -in-law. She will be lovingly remembered by her children, Robert Breuker, Don and Kim Breuker, Barb Meeuwsen, Chuck and Tammy Breuker, Joyce and Chuck Weaver, Burt Jr. and Nancy Breuker, Faith and Dave Miedema, along with son-in-law, Tom and (Patricia Nichole) Gezon; 21 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are a sister, Carolyn Wassenaar; brother, John and Carol Workman; brother-in-law, John and Christine Breuker; sisters-in-law, Ruth Newmeyer and Marilyn Breuker; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Her family would like to thank American House for the care and compassion shown to June over the last eight years. The Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. N.W. with Rev. Garrett Eriks officiating. Her family will receive family and friends from 6-8 PM on Monday and one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the funeral home. Interment in Washington Park Memorial Gardens. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Christian School of your choice. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read her lifestory, archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.