Thursday, February 9, 2017
11:00 AM EST
West Leonard Christian Reformed Church
1053 West Leonard NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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.
Bethany Christian Services
901 Eastern NE
Grand Rapidss, MI 49503
West Leonard Christian Reformed Church
1053 Leonard St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Mildred Miedema, it is easy to see that her love for her Lord and Savior, as well as her desire to serve Him, permeated everything she did. Her love and care for people was also evident throughout her life. A devoted wife and mother, Millie was filled with joy when her family tree blossomed to include the six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren who filled her with such happiness. Life will never be the same without Mildred here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever treasure.
On March 12, 1925, Ralph and Margaret (Ronda) Terpstra were blessed with the birth of a baby girl they named Mildred Elaine. She was the oldest of three children in her family as she was raised alongside her younger siblings, Richard and Marilyn, in the family home in a rural setting in Walker Station.
In many ways Millie was a young girl of her generation. She enjoyed playing games like hide and seek, kick the can, and bat and ball with neighborhood friends. During the winter months she enjoyed ice skating and during the summer she and her siblings liked building rafts to float on a nearby pond where they had fun catching polliwogs. Millie also had a pet goat named Ruthie. Family vacations were often spent at Michigan fishing lakes because her mother was an enthusiastic fisherwoman. Millie attended 4-H fairs where she won many blue ribbons for her canned goods and sewing projects as she was an excellent seamstress even as a young girl. As a student Mildred attended Walker Elementary, Oakleigh Middle School, and Grand Rapids Christian High. While a student at Oakleigh, she either hitched a ride home from school or made the five mile walk herself. Millie worked at a book binding store after school when she was in high school, and she enjoyed recreational tennis as well. As a family they attended Walker Christian Reformed Church and later, Twelfth Street Christian Reformed Church.
New and exciting changes were in store for Millie when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Peter Miedema, and he was a young serviceman who had just returned from serving in WWII. She caught his eye while in church, and he soon called to ask her for a date. Millie accepted, and they went to a play at Reeds Lake on the fateful evening, and their second date was a formal dinner at the Pantlind Hotel. After dating for two years, the sweethearts were married on September 26, 1947, at Twelfth Street Christian Reformed Church. After a honeymoon in New York City and Niagara Falls, they moved into a home on Myrtle Street, then spent more than 50 years living on Kenan Avenue. Mildred spent a few years working at Old Kent Bank, but when children began arriving she left the workforce. Together she and Peter welcomed two children, Edward and Kathleen, into their hearts and home. Once her children were in middle school, she began working part-time in the tax department at Old Kent Bank. As a family they often vacationed in cottages in Northern Michigan, and they also took a trip to the World’s Fair in New York, and a trip to California. As a mother Mildred was loving and protective, but she also encouraged industriousness and diligence in her children.
Millie was always busy. Her skills as a seamstress continued into adulthood as she could sew almost any clothing item, and she even designed her own patterns. Millie made many of her own clothes as well as clothes for Kathy, and she also crocheted, and did needlepoint, knitting and embroidery. She helped make beautiful banners for church. Millie taught 4-H and was very involved with volunteering at her church and at Westside Christian School as well. For several years Millie volunteered with the Criminal Justice Chaplaincy and she also participated in distributing Bibles with the Gideons.
Creative and talented, Millie shone in many ways. In addition to being a skilled seamstress, she had a well-deserved reputation as a great cook and marvelous baker. Millie loved having people over for dinner, especially on Sundays. In addition to family, she was known to invite widows and the elderly over and she also delivered meals to shut-ins. Millie relished hosting groups of college students during her grandchildren’s college years at Calvin. She developed quite a reputation for her delicious pastries, including pies, cream puffs and banket. Friends and family welcomed her gifts of home-canned fruit and bread and butter pickles.
Always one to keep busy, Millie had many interests. She was an avid reader, and although she read both fiction and nonfiction from Christian authors, the Bible was her favorite book as she was a lifetime student of God’s word. Millie and Pete’s travels included visiting Kathy’s family in Colorado, and visiting Ed’s family in Arkansas, Haiti and North Carolina. Millie also developed an interest in bird watching and had an antique tea cup collection.
Millie’s primary interest, however, was in building relationships, and she made every effort to stay in touch with family and friends whether near or far away. She sent countless letters and cards to her children and grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews and friends all over the country. Millie suffered a great loss when her dear sister Marilyn and brother-in- law John died in a plane crash in 1981. Subsequently Millie and Pete had a special bond with Marilyn’s children and their families.
All who knew Mildred Miedema would agree that her heart was as big as they come. She lived a life of service to others whether she was cooking, hosting guests, visiting the sick, or sending encouraging cards and letters out of a heart that beat to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Mildred’s greatest accomplishment was passing on her faith in Jesus Christ to her children and grandchildren, and they cherished her ongoing prayers for them. Her many prayer journals attest to her commitment to carry everything to God in prayer. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.
Mildred E. Miedema, aged 91, formerly of Grand Rapids, went to be with her Lord on December 24, 2016 in Denver, CO. She was a longtime member of West Leonard Christian Reformed Church. Mildred was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Peter Miedema, her sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn and John Smith and her sister-in-law, Martha Terpstra, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Lucille and Russell De VriesShe is survived by her children, Edward and Christie Miedema, Kathleen and Fred Ritsema; her 6 grandchildren, Philip Miedema, Mark Miedema, Rachel (Brendon) Johnson, Emily (Matt) Duntsch, David (Erin Stacy) Ritsema, Katie (Brian) Roelofs; 10 great grandchildren; her brother, Richard Terpstra; many nieces, nephews and friends. Mildred was a loving, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and a friend to all who knew her. She was a faithful servant of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in everything she did. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A private Burial was held in Washington Park Cemetery. A service to celebrate Mildred’s life will be held at West Leonard Christian Reformed Church, 1053 Leonard St. NW, on Thursday, February 9, 2016 at 11:00 am. Contributions in her memory may be made to Bethany Christian Services or West Leonard Christian Reformed Church. To read more about Mildred’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com