Monday, February 5, 2018
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
The rosary will be prayed at the funeral home on Monday evening, February 5, at 6:00 pm.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
St. Lukes University Parish
10144 42nd Ave.
Allendale, MI 49428
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.
Allendale Nursing and Rehabilitation Community
11007 Radcliff Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Melvin Impens was the type of person you would be proud to call a friend and would be even luckier to call husband, dad, or grandpa. A terrific storyteller and hard worker, he shared himself authentically with all who knew and loved him. His natural curiosity about other people made him an easy person to get to know and like and no one was ever a stranger in his eyes. He was a man of great integrity who committed his life to serving others. Melvin’s life was richly blessed by the many relationships he nurtured and he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered for generations to come.
Melvin’s story begins in the year 1939, Lou Gehrig retired from the New York Yankees, the much-loved classic film, The Wizard of Oz held its Hollywood premiere, and the first commercial air flight crossed the Atlantic Ocean. George and Alma (Cook) Impens welcomed home their newborn son, Melvin, on April 2nd in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born the youngest of three children, his birth brought much happiness to the family home.
Growing up, Melvin held a natural wonder about nature and spent many of his childhood days carousing with the Cook boys and John Pierson. They spent their fair share of time hunting both small game and white-tailed deer. His father modeled a life of providing for the family as a truck driver and also ran a family farmer’s market, while his mother was a homemaker. Typical of boys his age, he attended school through the eighth grade and then started earning his own way in the world by peddling an ice cream cart in the westside neighborhoods. In addition to this job, he also helped his father on a produce truck, set pins at the Wenger Bowling Alley on Stocking Avenue, drove a taxi for the Vets Cab Company, as well as delivered groceries with his older brother, George.
Melvin’s life changed for the better while cruisin’ the streets of downtown Grand Rapids and he happened upon, Mary Beth Hendershot! Dating for a few months, the smitten couple were eager to spend the rest of their lives together and joined in marriage at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on November 21, 1959. The newlyweds honeymooned to West Virginia and settled back into an apartment on the north end of town where they started their family. With a desire to serve his country, Melvin proudly served with the National Guard for three years during these early years. Together they raised eight wonderful children; Ted, Dan, Beverly, Mike, Annette, Scott, Joan, and Chris, moving from their first home at 456 Cloverdale NW in Standale to 1470 Kenowa Avenue SW.
Faith was important to both Mel and Mary Beth and they attended Holy Spirit Catholic Church ensuring their children grew up receiving the sacraments and having a personal relationship with their Lord and Savior. His work began with Haviland Chemicals until later he became a truck driver for Roadway Trucking and eventually retired from ABF in 1998. Melvin’s hard work supported his growing family allowing Mary Beth the opportunity to stay home until the children were older. The family treasured many wonderful trips together in their childrearing years. They visited Florida, Deer Park Fun Land, went camping in Mackinaw City, and frequented the Vista Drive-In on weekends, always with the kids in their pajamas! Other favorite family pastimes included Sunday trips to the Hendershot grandparents which often included a stop at Dairy Queen afterwards, visiting downtown to see the Christmas lights, and riding the Polar Express train in the basement of the Wurzburg Department Store downtown. On hot summer nights, the family fondly remembers watching home movies with no sound on a sheet hung up in the cool basement. Melvin loved to narrate the movies bringing his humor and zest for great storytelling to each and every moment. For date nights and social time, he and Mary Beth enjoyed many years of bowling on leagues with their partners, Floyd and Dee Tubergen.
In addition to the financial support he gave his family, he also pitched in to help out in the kitchen! He was a master at making mashed potatoes, kielbasa and sauerkraut, and often fired up the grill no matter the weather! Hard to believe he any time for much else, yet he also held a unique passion for auto racing and visited the Speedrome and Berlin Raceway where he cheered for Johnny Benson Sr., Johnny Benson Jr, and Jeff Gordon his favorite drivers. Melvin also was a huge fan of Notre Dame sports, especially football! With so many wonderful memories to cherish, it is no surprise that the family remained close throughout the years. Each and every holiday was shared together. Even as their children started families of their own, the traditions of coming home for dinner continued. Another favorite pastime of his was polka dancing with his lifelong friend, Roy Mongar. Any chance to break out his old 45 records of Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Tennessee Ernie Ford was a pleasure to Melvin! To him, music was the food for his soul.
As much as Melvin enjoyed his time and memories as a father, nothing could match the unique joy of being a grandfather. He simply loved being with his grandchildren and best of all to make them laugh. He often poked fun and joked with each and every one of them! No greater testimony of his love was found then when he supported Mary Beth through her battle with cancer. Deeply devoted, Melvin cared for her tenderly until she died on November 18, 2001. He leaned on his strong faith and family ties to sustain him through the difficult loss. Diagnosed with diabetes in 1984 which caused kidney disease requiring dialysis three times a week, Melvin was never one to complain about his own struggles and turmoils with illness. Instead, he kept himself active, cutting neighbor’s lawns, watching the grandkids, and helping family members. As his health began to diminish he held one wish; to go deer hunting one last time. Honoring his wishes, his son, Scott helped him bag a beautiful trophy-sized buck last fall. Described as soft-hearted, compassionate, and sensitive at times, Melvin’s wonderful collection of memories will not go unnoticed. With each and every family gathering and celebration, his richest blessings will be shared and cherished in the hearts of many.
Melvin G. Impens, aged 78 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Friday, February 2, 2018, at Allendale Nursing home, surrounded by his loving family. He was preceded in death by his wife of 42 years, Mary Beth (Hendershot) Impens, sister Leona Ellenwood and brother George Impens. He is survived by his children, Ted (Mercedes) Impens, Dan Impens, Beverly (Stuart) Bernard, Mike Impens, Annette (Dave) Hicks, Scott (Amanda) Impens, Joan Impens (Brent Yankee), Chris Impens (Amy Cooper); his grandchildren, David, Erin, Clinton, Nicole, Alyssa, Alexander, Samantha and Ethan; great grandchildren, Olivia, Bayliee, Coral and Brantley; brother-in-law and sister-in-law's, Tom (Jane) Hendershot, Mary Ann Hendershot, Maureen Gust; many nieces, nephews and friends. Melvin was a loving and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and a friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, at 11:00 am at St. Luke’s University Parish, 10144 42nd Ave., Allendale, MI 49428. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Monday, February 5, at Heritage Lifestory Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm with the rosary prayed at 6:00 PM. Visitation again at the church on Tuesday from 10:00 am until the Mass begins at 11:00 am. To sign his guest book and to leave your own memories of him, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com