Thursday, May 19, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Westend Christian Reformed Church
1015 Westend NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Outreach Program of Westend Christian Reformed Church
1015 Westend NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Marvin Walter Maat was a role model of faithfulness and an example of quiet servanthood. He was utterly devoted to his wife, wonderfully caring of his children and grandchildren and fully committed to his friends and fellow church members. He was gentle and slow to anger, yet stern when necessary and apologetic when needed. He was humble in spirit and sacrificial of heart. Marvin lived his life as a willing and joyful Servant of the Lord.
Born to Martin and Alice (Wynsma) Maat on August 8, 1926 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Marvin Walter was the third of four boys. When his brother Wilbur died as a baby he became the middle son. Overall, he was a very kind and responsible child, having been raised in a Christian home and school and taking on the personality and commitment he saw in his father.
Growing up on Pine Street, Marvin enjoyed a childhood that was idyllic in many ways. Though he did not participate in organized sports, he was athletic and spent hours playing in Richmond Park with his brothers. They shared one bicycle between them and managed the arrangement well...until the bike was stolen. They were content with simple pleasures, such as viewing the holiday lights in East Grand Rapids and receiving an orange at Christmas time. Despite the austerity of the Great Depression, the family considered themselves rich because of the faith and community life they shared at West Side Christian School and Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church.
After graduating from Davis Tech in Grand Rapids, Marvin enlisted in the Navy during WWII and served as a gunners mate. He shipped out to Hawaii just after the Pearl Harbor bombings, and then to Japan. He arrived shortly after the atomic bombs were dropped. Marv saw a lot of the world during his tour of duty and was proud of his service. Even more important to him was the fact that his spiritual life was strengthened during those years. The faith that he knew as a child became real and personal to him when he accepted Jesus as the Lord of his life. He lived each day in the certainty that he belonged to Christ, and over the years, it was his desire that every one of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would know that same joy.
When he returned home from the war, Marvin had the delight of meeting Esther Bergmans at a church softball game. The two began dating and over a two-year courtship, their love and commitment grew. They married at his church on July 23, 1948 and honeymooned in nearby Grand Haven, along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan.
Marv and Esther spent the first few years of married life in apartments and then settled into a brand new home on Wendover. Through the years, they lived on Sunset Hills (during the time of the 1956 Tornado that they narrowly escaped), on Widdicomb and then their permanent home on Richmond Street. With the help of his dad, Marv was instrumental in sub-contracting a few of those houses while working full time. He had first worked for Kelvinator manufacturing before taking a sales route with Roskam Bakery. After a many years, he moved to Butternut Bread for a short time and then spent a few years with Shaffer Bread Company, from which he eventually retired. Marv worked hard at his bread delivery job that began at 3:30 AM each day and gave him just Sundays off. On some Saturdays, he was able to take one of his children with him. They were the reason he worked six days a week and even took on extra jobs. Marv was dedicated to providing for his family, and even more so, because he was intent on financing a Christian day school education for his children. The five of them spanned 20 years between them and kept their parents young and active over the long years of schooling. That gave Marv and Esther the opportunity to establish routines that provided stability and strength to each child for years to come. They ate dinner together every evening, read the Bible and prayed as a family.
Having a deep commitment to his family didn’t mean that Marvin wasn’t also focused on his church. Through the years, he supported it financially and served wherever he was asked: as deacon, elder, Sunday School teacher and superintendant, as well as a member of various committees and golf and bowling leagues. He was dedicated to the mission of the church and had a heart for reaching people in the surrounding neighborhood. It was common for Marv to come home from work, eat dinner and then head right back out the door for church meetings or functions. As the center of Marv and Esther’s social circle, the church fostered friendships and the two of them spent many hours over cups of coffee with fellow believers. Some of them became such special and long-time friends—even picnicking and spending summer vacations together—that the children took to calling them “aunt” and “uncle.”
Hard-working Marvin had to snatch recreation time wherever he could. He liked watching sports on television and Lawrence Welk on Friday evenings or going to Travelogues with Esther, which he referred to as great nap times. With just two weeks of vacation each summer, he made the most of them at Silver Lake and later in Cadillac. On a regular basis, the two of them sought to brighten each other’s lives with a little fun. Esther liked to pull the occasional prank and Marv played along and returned the favor with his dry, witty humor.
Marvin retired in 1988, mainly to attend to his beloved Esther as her health began to suffer. For 17 years, he faithfully cared for her at home and then at the Christian Rest Home, where he showed up every day from 2:00-7:30 PM to visit and feed her dinner. Marv bound himself to his wife, never complaining and feeling as if a piece of him was missing when Esther died. To his family, he was a model of faithfulness to his spouse for 57 years and then to others as his life continued. He quietly served where he could, often giving rides to those who needed them. Marv’s family served in kind—staying with him, checking on him and helping him with groceries at home and in the last 18 months at Edison Manor. In all that he did for everyone else, Marvin never wanted to receive credit or special attention, just the calm assurance that he was serving his Lord and Savior in all things.
Marvin W. Maat, age 89 of Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away Sunday, May 15, 2016 and is now with his Lord and Savior. He was preceded in death by his wife, Esther in 2005, and by his brothers, Gerald and Wilbur. Marv is survived by his children Larry & Diane Maat, Linda & Ron Roloff, Randall & Linda Maat, Susan & Mark Lake, and Kevin & Shelley Maat; 22 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren; his brother, Clarence & Lucille Maat; brother-in-law Henry and Maxine Bergmans and numerous nieces and nephews. His funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 19 at 11 AM at Westend Christian Reformed Church, 1015 Westend NW. Friends are invited to visit with his family at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM and on Thursday at Church from 10 AM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to the either the Christian Rest Home or the Outreach Program at Westend Christian Reformed Church are appreciated. To read more about Marv's life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com