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Marlene Oele

November 8, 1944 - October 11, 2016
Spring Lake, MI

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Visitations


Sunday, October 16, 2016
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Lee Chapel of Sytsema Funeral Home
6291 Harvey Street
Muskegon, MI 49444
Web Site

Sunday, October 16, 2016
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT
Lee Chapel of Sytsema Funeral Home
6291 Harvey Street
Muskegon, MI 49444
Map

Services


Monday, October 17, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Covenant Life Church
101 Columbus Ave
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Map

Contributions


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.

Covenant Life Church
101 Columbus Ave
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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All who knew Marlene Oele would agree that she was truly extraordinary. With faith as her cornerstone, her life exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Marlene was blessed to share the majority of her life with her true love, and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made her so very proud. A woman of many talents, she used her gifts and abilities to brighten the lives of others, her spirit of compassion unmatched. Deeply loved, Marlene will never be forgotten.

During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Back home rationing of common goods was in place while manufacturing was focused on supporting the war effort. It was on November 8, 1944, that Julius Isaac and Jeanette Carol (Van Slooten) Vande Kopple announced the birth of the baby girl they named Marlene Carol. She was the first child of this family, who would later be joined by a brother, Jay and sister, Lois and together they lived on the South side of Grand Rapids. The family were active members of the Bethel Christian Reformed Church. Marlene’s parents were very musical, so music became a big part of Marlene’s life. Classical music was often played during dinner and the family primarily listened while they ate.

She spent her elementary years at Sylvan Christian School where she played basketball and softball, as well as the bass clarinet in the band. During this time the VandeKopple family moved to a home on Elliott, SE, and the family joined Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church. There, Marlene was an active member of the youth group, sang in the choir and learned the fundamentals of the Christian Faith she treasured. Marlene and her family were active in the 4-H program as well. After elementary school she went on to Grand Rapids Christian High where she played the bass clarinet in concert band and the clarinet as a member of the marching band. She was also a member of the choir. Marlene played the piano for the family at home and at church and later for hymn sings at friend's homes.

After graduating from high school in 1962, Marlene went to Grand Rapids Junior College while also working for the Old Kent Bank Mortgage Department. After earning her associate’s degree, Marlene worked in the engineering office of Max Lett and then later moved to the architectural firm of James K. Haverman and Associates.

Not to be forgotten during this time was Marlene’s introduction to the young man of her dreams. His name was Ronald J. Oele, and they met on a blind date in 1963. Deeply in love, they were married on February 12 1965, at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church, marking a new chapter in a love story that would span over 51 years. After a honeymoon in Florida, which included a four day cruise to Nassau, the newlyweds returned home and settled into a home they purchased on the corner of Warwick and Orville Street in Southeast Grand Rapids. The couple was later delighted to welcome their daughter, Carol, into their hearts and home. Marlene quit her job and became a full-time mother. While Ron was completing his schooling at Wayne State University they lived in Detroit. Once his schooling was completed they moved back to Grand Rapids and were soon blessed with the birth of their son, Joe. In 1974, they moved to a home on 8th Street on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids.

Marlene was all about family. She took great care in raising their children and caring for her husband. Summers were often spent camping with the children while Ron commuted between the city and the campground as he worked many hours in the funeral industry. Over the years they spent many summer days near the water with a camper trailer and later a travel trailer at the Christian Reformed Conference Grounds or at Brower Park on the Muskegon River where sometimes the whole day was spent boating and skiing. Marlene was an avid seamstress who made clothes for the family. After the children were in school full time Marlene went to work at the Standale Country House, an antique, reproduction and consignment store. It has been said that most of what she earned in wages she brought home in merchandise as she liked collecting antiques as well as Dickens Village items. Marlene also helped at Ron’s funeral homes when needed. In later years they moved to a home on Shire NW where they lived for a time before moving to a home on Spring Lake after Ron retired.

Throughout her life, Marlene’s church played a vital role. As young newlyweds they joined Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church where they became very active members. Marlene was a Calvinette leader and together Marlene and Ron served as youth group leaders. After moving to the West Side, they joined Westview Christian Reformed Church where Marlene sang in the choir and even directed the choir for a time. She was an excellent competitive slow pitch softball player on the church league and was a very active church member. After moving to Spring Lake, they joined Covenant Life Church in Grand Haven where Marlene was one of the first ones to sign up for the choirs that sang on religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. She and Ron were members of the “Prime Time Planners” that planned activities for the over 50 age fellowship and co-coordinators of a small care group call "Covenant Group". Marlene enjoyed meeting weekly with some of the ladies of the church for coffee and conversation. She also was part of the “Blankets of Love” ministry begun by her niece that supplied baby blankets to families of stillborn or infant death babies.

Always one to be busy, Marlene was a woman of many interests. During their younger years she and Ron became active and avid racquetball players. They were longtime members of a racquetball club on the West side of the city. Marlene won several awards as a Class A tournament player. Marlene and Ron also enjoyed motorcycling on their Honda Aspencade and traveled around Michigan and several other states. They also traveled to many other places, often attending the Michigan Funeral Directors Mid Winter Conferences which took them to Hawaii, several Caribbean islands and even the Canary Islands on one occasion. She enjoyed meeting up with friends and dining out together. When she and Ron were blessed with grandchildren, Marlene sometimes cared for them while their parents worked. Her grandchildren fondly remember the loving care their grandmother provided.

A kindhearted, gracious, and selfless woman, Marlene Oele was a blessing to everyone she met. Her faith was the compass she used to direct her steps, and the love she had for her family was easy to see. Marlene will never be forgotten.

OELE – Mrs. Marlene Carol Oele, aged 71 of Spring Lake and formerly of Grand Rapids, passed away Tuesday October 11, 2016 after several years battling cancer and entered into the presence of her Lord and Savior. She is survived by her husband of 51 years, Ronald J. Oele her children: Carol and Don Van Dyke, Joe and Stephanie Oele, her grandchildren: Katie and Adam Smallman, Ashley Van Dyke and Fiancé Adam Busenbark, and Bradley Van Dyke, her brother and sister-in-law Jay and Linda Vande Kopple, her sister and brother-in-law Lois and Brian Smith, her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Jerry and Trudy Oele, Sandi and Lee Marshall, Tim and Mary Oele, Barb Van Ausdall, Luanne and John Hoekzema and many nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held Monday October 17 at 11 AM at Covenant Life Church, 101 Columbus, Grand Haven, MI. Relatives and friends are invited to visit with her family Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM at the Lee Chapel, Sytsema Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 6291 Harvey St. Muskegon, MI For those who wish, memorial contributions to Covenant Life Church would be appreciated. To read more of Marlene’s life, share a memory, or sign the online register book please visit www.lifestorynet.com.

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