Life Story / Obituary
Fiercely independent, Lorraine June Vredevoogd lived a very active life well into her later years. She was imaginative and artistic and had a deep compassion for animals. Known to always have pets of her own, Lorraine also enjoyed caring for hurt and abandoned animals. Painting watercolors and tending to her yard were some of the simple things she loved over the years. Generous beyond measure, there simply wasn’t anything that Lorraine wouldn’t do for a friend in need. She lived her life in service to others and delighted in hosting holiday parties and celebrating life’s richest blessings. Lorraine leaves behind a rich collection of warm memories for her friends and her loved ones to cherish forever.
Looking back on the 1920’s, it was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. By 1926, The Ford Motor Company announced the creation of the 40-hour work week! The Treaty of Berlin was also signed that year in the hopes that Germany and the Soviet Union would remain neutral with each other if either were attacked by a third party. The improvement in the relationship between the two countries did not last long as Hitler rose to power. With the media focused on jazz music and celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie figures, Maximilian and Florence (Mietzner) Bradford, welcomed home their newborn baby girl, Lorraine born on June 22, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joining her older brother Kenneth, her birth brought great joy to the family home.
Tragically her father died when she was only two years old, leaving her mother to care for the young family. Lorraine took an interest in the violin in high school and not often typical of the times, she proudly graduated with the Class of 1944 from Central High School. Soon after, she took a job as a nanny for the Sebastian Family. During these years, she met the man of her dreams, Michael W. Sieracki. The two of them hit it off right from the start and after a two-year courtship joined in marriage at the St. James Catholic Church in June of 1947. The happy couple settled into their first of several westside homes on Garfield SW. Eager to start a family of their own, it wasn’t long before their daughter Carol arrived. She was their first and only child who joined them on O’Brien Rd, Mt. Mercy Drive and finally Walker NW where they made their final home for many years. Sadly, Michael died of kidney cancer in the year 1977, leaving her on her own.
Just two years later, she met Robert Vredevoogd who fell in love with her positive outlook on life. They married and then in 1990, he died leaving Lorraine a widow for more than twenty-seven years. During this time, her wide variety of interests kept her active and content. She was an avid Tigers fan and enjoyed sharing the spirit of the season from April through October year after year. She treasured the company of friends and family and savored the time she spent with her family. Sadly, her grandson John Michael Schichtel died of Leukemia at the young age of 33, reminding her of the days when Michael was ill. She supported Carol through an unimaginable time and worked to heal through caring for her garden and taking good care of herself over the years. In addition to her natural ways of caring for others, she was also an exceptional cook and shared her delicious dishes with so many.
Strong-willed and independent, it was no surprise that Lorraine had lived into her nineties. She was often one to look on the bright side and didn’t let much ruffle her feathers. Sadly, after a fall in her home roughly two weeks ago, it was discovered that she had lung cancer. With great courage, Lorraine accepted this news as her fate. Never one to sulk, she chose to let nature take its course and decided not to receive the treatments and endure their side effects. Placed under Hospice care and her final days were ones of peace and comfort. Lorraine will be greatly missed and her memories will provide lasting evidence of her unconditional love and gracious personality.
Lorraine June Vredevoogd, aged 91, passed away at the Christian Rest Home on Saturday, December 2, 2017. She was preceded in death by her parents, Maximilian and Florence Bradford (Everse), her husband, Michael W. Sieracki, her infant son, John Michael Sieracki, her husband, Robert Vredevoogd, her grandson, John Michael Schichtel and her brother, Kenneth (Lucille) Bradford. She is survived by her daughter, Carol (Tim) Carlson (Schichtel); her great-grandson, Nicholas J. Schichtel; her sister-in-law, Rosaline Coon; many nieces, nephews, and friends. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered. Lorraine graduated from nursing school in 1965. She worked at Butterworth Hospital and the Kent County Health Dept. She was past president of the Kent County Nursing Association. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 1:00 pm until the service to celebrate her life begins at 2:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Rosedale Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary. To sign Lorraine’s guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com