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.
Humane Society of West Michigan
3077 Wilson NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Life Story / Obituary
Lois Carolyn Higbee was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She was generous and kind, selfless and caring. She was attentive to others and looked for opportunities to compliment them. Calling Lois a “classy woman” had less to do with status than with her grace and goodness. Flashing her warm, beautiful smile, Lois made people feel important, and that’s exactly who they were to her.
Lois Carolyn was born June 3, 1940 in Grand Haven, Michigan at a time when the United States was cautiously watching events unfold in Europe, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was encouraging Americans with his Fireside Chats. Families had come through the challenges of economic depression with a strong work ethic and a determination to make life better for their children. One such family was Herman and Doris (Crall) Rycenga, who were raising four children—Herman, Roger, Elwood and Lois—on his salary as a security guard.
Sadly, Lois’ father died when she was just seven years old. The family drew comfort from their faith and the community of Second Reformed Church, and they banded together around a sense of responsibility. Not only did Lois have chores to do, she actually liked doing them, especially gardening. As a student at Ferry Elementary in Grand Haven, she stayed busy with school activities and her many friends.
After graduating from Coopersville High School in1958, Lois went to work as a medical assistant and took to traveling with her girlfriends. Eventually, it was a boyfriend who captured her attention and her heart. By then, Lois was working at Bissell Manufacturing Company in nearby Grand Rapids and living with her grandparents during the work week. She met fellow employee Ron Higbee on a blind date and went walking the pier with him at Grand Haven beach. A few years later, Lois and Ron were walking the aisle of their church (Fairview Reformed Church) to be joined in marriage. The couple honeymooned in Niagara Falls before settling in Allendale for the next two years until their English Hills residence became the family home of Dawn, born in 1966, Rhonda in 1969, and David in 1970.
Though Lois continued with Bissell, Ron worked for a while as a barber, but his major employer was MichCon. The two of them always had time for their children, and over the years the backyard pool supplied the family with endless hours of recreation. They also took trips to Deer Park Funland and vacationed in cottages at Bills Lake near Newaygo and Lake Mitchell in Cadillac. When Lois retired from Bissell after 40 years, she and Ron continued to rent cottages in Traverse City or on Spider Lake, where their growing family could join them.
When Lois became a grandmother, she was thrilled to have children around her once again. She cooked many of the same great meals that her children enjoyed—meatloaf, casseroles, chicken cordon bleu, pies, banana bread, Boston brown bread and cookies. She attended all the grandkids’ school activities and special events and never once missed their birthdays. Around the house, Lois was entertained by such TV shows as Walker Texas Ranger, The Price is Right, Hallmark movies, American Idol and The Voice, which was understandable since Lois liked listening to all types of music. And true to her nature, Lois always loved to indulge her love for shopping.
In June of 2014, Lois was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and sustained many treatments of radiation and chemotherapy. Though no cure resulted, Lois never gave up her brave fight and always remained positive. Having been hospitalized recently, she made the decision to go home because she wanted to be with her family.
Lois died Saturday January 23, 2016 at 3:34 PM with her family at her side. She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew her.
Lois C. Higbee (Rycenga), aged 75 of Grand Rapids, Michigan is survived by her husband of 52 years, Ron Higbee; her children, Dawn and Paul Seelye, Rhonda and Tim Dieterman, David Higbee; her 5 grandchildren, Dylan and Olivia Seelye, Rachel, Grace and Jason Dieterman; her brothers, Roger (Edith) Rycenga, Elwood (Marge ) Rycenga; sisters-in-law-and brothers-in-law, Betty Rycenga, Tom Higbee, Tim (Anita) Higbee; many nieces, nephews and friends. A service to celebrate Lois’s life will be held on Wednesday January 27, at 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday from 9:00 AM until the service starts at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice or West Michigan Humane Society. To read more about Lois’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com