Wednesday, May 17, 2017
1:00 PM EDT
Heritage Reformed Congregation
540 Crescent Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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.
Plymouth Christian Schools Foundation
P.O. Box 150032
Grand Rapids, MI 49515-0032
Life Story / Obituary
Never one to seek the attention of others but always sweet, kind and caring, Laurena Vander Boon spent her days living life with purpose and organization. Her faith was ever present in her life, modeling it daily. She was a loving wife, a caring mother, and a cherished grandmother, and we will never forget her.
The year was 1928, and the decade was still very much in full swing with the notable title, the Roaring Twenties. Walt Disney produced and released Mickey Mouse’s debut into the cartoon world with “Steamboat Willie,” while Amelia Earhart became the first solo woman to take flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The world of modern medicine was also changed forever with the discovery of Penicillin, which later created the antibiotics of today. In a world of such amazing discoveries and inventions, John and Margaret (Vander Zand) Quist were making strides of their own with the birth of their 9th precious baby named Laurena. She was born in Holland, Michigan on May 15th, and she completed their family. Sadly, two of her siblings passed away in infancy, yet Laurena and her other six siblings kept the family very busy.
She spent her childhood in Holland, and her days were full of music, for Laurena learned to play the piano and organ. She also loved to sing; she enjoyed music greatly. One of her favorite pastimes as a kid was the pleasure of a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich along with an afternoon spent reading a good book. Her joy of reading proved to influence her love for learning as well, as she excelled in her academics. She attended Holland High School and earned grades that put her at the top of her class; however, her family moved to Grand Rapids and her grades did not transfer. She graduated from Union High School, but if she had stayed in Holland, she would have been valedictorian of her graduating class. Even after graduation, her love for reading continued. Her genre of choice was the biography; she focused on current people, religious individuals, and wives of presidents especially.
After graduation, Laurena took stenography classes and worked for a short time as a stenographer for a law office. Around this time, she was finding her way with love. She had a boyfriend, and thankfully while out on a date with him, she was introduced to his friend, Orie Vander Boon. Right away, something clicked between them. He appreciated her down to earth style, and she appreciated his straightforward approach to life. It took about a month, but she finally received a call from Orie after she broke up with the other boy. Orie asked her out to listen to a barbershop quartet, and she gladly accepted the invitation. From then on, they were a couple. About a year and a half later, the two rang wedding bells when they married on October 27, 1948.
The newlyweds began their adventure in life together by renting a cottage for awhile while they started to build their own home. A tragic fire destroyed their plans along with all their cherished wedding gifts. They endured the difficult time and looked to one another to find the goodness in life again. As time progressed, they added 9 children to their family spanning 18 years from oldest to youngest.
The Vander Boon family shared many happy times together. Laurena loved to support her children in their various activities. She tended to worry quite a bit about them risking injury, so she sometimes had a hard time watching them play football especially. When they were not busy at home with sports and other extracurriculars, the family looked forward to their annual trips to Rock Valley where the other side of the Vander Boon family resided. Laurena took pleasure in the time spent on the farm while visiting.
Many days, Laurena was busy enough merely keeping the house organized and her children fed. Thankfully, Orie and Laurena raised their children to help out when it was needed. She took pride in tending to her family's garden, canning the harvest to last through the cold winters, and even pasteurizing the milk and churning butter. She was a good cook and was never afraid to try something new. In her big pots, she would prepare all sorts of great food, but she was known for her pickles, applesauce and raisin bread.
When her children matured to find lives and love of their own, Laurena took in other children for whom she nurtured and cared - as was in her nature. In later years, she even offered her upstairs to single people with whom she shared her kitchen and helped them as she could. But after a house full of 9 children, she and Orie finally had some time for just the two of them again. She helped Orie with his car sales, as she would set the time on the clocks, adjust the radios, and type the necessary paperwork. Together, they spent almost 70 years in this life; they complemented one another well, for they were both hard workers and organized. Their opposite traits were used to help one another. Family and loved ones counted on spending the holidays with Orie and Laurena, as they were great hosts and always made these times memorable. Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and typically Thanksgiving and Christmas as well were spent at their home. New Year's Day was an exception, as the family often gathered at a local buffet instead. As a couple, they also traveled to Florida for a week during the winter and took several trips out west where they made many great memories together.
Orie and Laurena were blessed with 50 grandchildren and 63 great-grandchildren - an amazing legacy! Laurena loved seeing each and every one of them as often as she could. She never missed sending birthday cards faithfully to every family member which was just evidence of her incredible organization and extraordinary memory for names and events - though her detailed calendar helped too!
In times of solitude, Laurena volunteered for many years at Plymouth Christian School in the Trash for Cash program which involved clipping coupons and labeling or organizing. She also worked in the school library. Due to her organizational skills, when something came up missing, she was mystified until it was found and put back in its proper place. When all else failed to need her help, she loved crossword puzzles and Word Power from "Reader's Digest," for she had always been good with words and grammar.
Sadly, we are forced to say goodbye to Laurena. After 88 years of life, she passed away on May 12, 2017. We will keep the memories we shared with Laurena close to our hearts, and we will dearly miss her in our lives.
Laurena Vander Boon, age 88 of Grand Rapids, passed away May 12, 2017. She was preceded in death by her son, Bob; son-in-law Ed Falk; grandson Joshua Vander Boon; as well as 8 brothers and sisters. Laurena is survived by her husband, Orie; children Lois & Pete Vander Stel, Janice & Ralph Van Ens, Jim & Gwen, Ronald, David, Susan & Dale Mulder, John & Kathy, Don & Ellen; daughter-in-law Coral & Mark Hoffmann; 50 grandchildren and 63 great-grandchildren; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Frances Quist, John & Margaret Vander Boon, Pauline Groen, Ann & Fred Vlastuin, Connie & Ed Brown, Abe & Sandi Vander Boon, Marie & Gerritt Rozeboom, Lena VanRavenswaay; and many nieces and nephews. Friends are invited to visit with her family at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel on Sunday from 5-8 PM, Monday from 2-5 PM and Tuesday from 5-8 PM. Her funeral service will on Wednesday, May 17 at 1 PM at Heritage Reformed Congregation, 540 Crescent Street NE with interment in Fairplains Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Plymouth Christian School Foundation or Puritan Theological Seminary are appreciated. To read more about her life, to share a memory or photo or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com