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Life Story / Obituary
Lee Remynse was loving wife, mother and grandmother and a cherished friend. She was generous yet frugal, laid back yet fun loving. Delighting family and friends with her wit and humor, Lee was proud to see that trait rub off on her children. In so many ways, she made life sweet for the family that meant the world to her.
Lee’s story began in Kalamazoo, Michigan during the harsh years of the Great Depression. Families were struggling to survive yet managed to make life pleasant by their resilient spirit and hopeful outlook. Lena Mae or Lee as she was always called, was born July 25, 1931, the fourth of Lambert and Minnie (Talma) Dieterman’s five children. She enjoyed a childhood of friendships and fun, which characterized her life into adulthood.
Growing up on the city’s north side; Lee attended the area schools and graduated from Kalamazoo Central. She went to work for the Upjohn Company, a major employer in central Michigan. Yet more than being a preferred place to work, the site provided the setting for a romantic relationship to begin. When Lee met Robert Remynse, she formed an instant crush on the handsome young man. While it was true that she had to chase him a bit, Robert didn’t mind being caught because they both knew they were meant to be together. So it was that Lee married the love of her life on December 17, 1954 and received his daughter Nancy into her heart.
When their sons Rick, Randy and Kevin who was suppose to be a girl, were born, Lee and Robert raised them on Beethoven Avenue in Portage, along with their dog Betsy. One of Lee’s favorite stories to share about Betsy was the time she was sleeping in the middle of the road. A driver coming down the road laid on his horn to get the dog to move. If Betsy was rattled, it couldn’t have been half as much as the driver, whose horn stuck and could be heard all over the neighborhood.
Always looking for ways to save money and work for items that the family could use, Lee became masterful at “couponing.” At times, she and the kids went “dumpster diving” so they could help her snag the valued UPC codes from various products and she could send away for rebates and promotional gifts. If she wanted new furniture for their home, she worked to purchase what she wanted. When Robert and his brother-in-law Tom Cross opened a diner in Vicksburg, Lee was right there working the counter. She and her sister Heddy ran the Sugar Shack for many years, giving customers the hamburger and soda fountain experience.
Lee’s best friend and “partner in crime” for over 60 years was Joyce Carruth. The two of them could sit for hours talking on the phone, smoking and drinking Pepsi. They also shopped together, sometimes on foot but certainly by screen. Lee loved QVC the home shopping network and redecorating her house was a good way to use some of her purchases. When she sat down with a good book, it was most often a Perry Mason mystery.
If, from time to time, Lee gave into a craving for peanut butter with chocolate, it can be said that she absolutely indulged in a favorite pastime—casino gambling. Every year, she and Robert spent a month traveling to Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada for a little video poker. Their road trips included a side trip to California to see their son Kevin and to North Dakota to see their son Randy, where they also played at the Indian band casinos. Lee always said that if she hit a Royal Flush she was going to use the winnings to buy her daughter-in-law Michele a new stove. Unfortunately, the dream never materialized, and it has been said that Michele needed therapy to get over the loss of a new stove.
Having such high regard for her daughters-in-law was typical of Lee, who loved them as daughters and easily welcomed them into her life. It was because of these quickly formed bonds that when Lee’s health began to fail, Jerri and then Michele naturally became her caregivers. The family was grateful for their dedication and loving care over the last four years. When the family grew to include grandchildren and later a great-grandchild, Lee couldn’t have been happier. She loved having them around and spoiling them with such goodies as Klondike bars. The time she spent with grandkids Matt, Nathan, Eric, Beth, Kevie and Jason at the summer house on West Lake made for great memories. The entire family will always remember Lee’s love and laughter.
Lena Mae Remynse, age 84 of Portage, Michigan died at her son’s home in North Dakota on November 27, 2015. Her husband Robert Lawrence Remynse preceded her in death October 7, 2013. Lee was also preceded in death by her brother Henry Dieterman, her sisters Marge Wdowicki and Heddy Cross and her daughter-in-law Jerri Remynse.
Members of Lee’s family include her children, Rick Remynse, Randy (Michele) Remynse, Kevin Remynse, step daughter Nancy (Ashraf Maher) Remynse, her 6 grandchildren: Jason (Sara) Remynse, Kevie Remynse, Matthew (Amanda) Remynse, Nathan (Rachel) Remynse, Eric Remynse, Beth (Christopher) Fryling; her great grandson Jason Remynse II, her sister Martha Veldcamp-Spencer as well as many other relatives.
Visit with Lee’s family on Wednesday December 2, 2015 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Life Story Funeral Homes, Portage; 5975 Lovers Lane (269-344-5600) where a funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
Visit Lee’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read her complete life story, archive a photo or memory and sign the guest book. Memorial donations may be directed to the Meals on Wheels or Rose Arbor Hospice.