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.
Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce Ave SW
Gran d Rapids, MI 49506
Meals on Wheels
2900 Wilson Ave SW # 500
Grandville, MI 49418
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
The heartbeat of wherever he went, Miles Wiebenga had a contagious zest for life that made him so much fun to be around. He knew what it meant to work hard, but Miles also squeezed every last drop out of life that he could. Although his life was greatly enriched in numerous ways, there was nothing that was more near and dear to his heart than his beloved family. Very much the patriarch of his family, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were so blessed to call Miles their own. Although he was taken from his loved ones without warning, his family finds comfort in knowing that he has been reunited with his loved ones in his eternal home.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless American servicemen and women were serving in the fight for the preservation of freedom while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1942 when Joe and Anna (Reynhout) Wiebenga were pleased to announce the birth of the healthy baby boy they named Miles Eugene on April 1st. Born in the family home at 955 Fremont, NW, he was the ninth of fourteen children in his family. However, by the time he was born some of his siblings were already living on their own. In fact, Miles even had nieces and nephews who were older than he was. He was a good baby, and his older siblings played an active role in caring for him.
In many ways, Miles experienced an upbringing that was fairly typical for the youth of his generation. He grew up in tight quarters, spending many of his formative years in a one bathroom home on Straight Street. This did allow Miles and his siblings to bond well, and they remained close throughout the rest of their lives. As adults they just loved getting together and there were more than enough stories and laughter to go around. Miles was a good kid overall, but he did get into a bit of mischief from time to time. He loved things like playing baseball with other boys, riding his bike, and climbing trees, and as he got older he got into boxing. As a student Miles attended Straight Elementary and Lexington Elementary and then went on to Union High School.
As a young man Miles found work as a cook at the Knife and Fork, a restaurant located in the Pantlind Hotel downtown. When Miracle Lanes opened he and some other workers left the hotel to work there instead, but Miles found himself back at the Pantlind Hotel. From there he worked in the warehouse for A&P and then for Coca-Cola, but he found his longtime work at Mayflower Moving Company. Miles was a great mover as he was a skilled packer who took great pride in his work. He enjoyed it, too, including the heavy lifting. Social and outgoing, Miles was also a great conversationalist who loved talking to people whether at work, on the way to work, or after work. A stranger was never a stranger for long when Miles was around. He spent about 30 years with Mayflower before retiring.
It was while working in the Pantlind Hotel that Miles’ life was forever changed when he met a young woman named Josie Munger. They began dating and were later married in 1962 at First United Methodist Church. Although their marriage later ended in divorce, Miles was forever grateful for the four children they shared. Later on, Miles married Mary Leverich. To their marriage Mary brought her son, and together Miles and Mary had three more children. After eight years, they divorced.
Miles truly treasured his family, and he treated all of his children the same. He was always a lot of fun as a father, and even though work kept him busy he made the most of the time that he had to spend with his children. When he wasn’t working, Miles was always there for his family. Although he loved going out to dinner at Long John Sliver’s, he was an amazing cook who took care of much of the meals for family gatherings. Among his specialities were his potato salad and red cabbage just like his mom used to make. Since Miles didn’t know how to cook in small portions, his kitchen was always something to behold when he was cooking since he had all the pots and pans to prove it! Miles did have a sweet tooth and enjoyed cookies as well as his sister’s pineapple upside down cake. He was delighted to become a grandfather, and he was known to go to baby showers even if he was the only man there since he just loved all things baby.
Throughout his life, Miles was a man of many interests. He had rather extensive collections of things like Indian paintings and figurines, various antiques, and Western collectibles as he was a huge John Wayne fan. Miles was an avid camera guy who was always the one behind the camera at family events. He always loved fishing, but after retiring he had even more time to devote to it. Miles took fishing trips to Bay De Noc at times, and closer to home he liked fishing on Murray Lake. He particularly liked fishing for bullhead and had kept his own worm farm in his basement!
All who knew Miles Wiebenga would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was known to laugh and tap others on the shoulder since he didn’t have a sense of personal space, but no one really minded all that much. Always laughing and joking around, Miles was also easygoing, fun-loving, and forever concerned about others. Deeply loved, he will never be forgotten.
Miles E. Wiebenga, age 73 of Grand Rapids, has been called home to be with his heavenly Father and to reunite with some family and friends that he has not seen in a while. We know that he is laughing and giving them all a little "love" nudge now and then! But mainly we are in awe as he is in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just think, right now he is catching up with, laughing with and hanging out with his Mother, Anna (Bert) Belk; Father, Joseph (Ila) Wiebenga; sisters Fredricka "Ricky" (Ray) Sue Bordeaux, Shirley Sandee, Patricia Crowe; brothers William "Billy" Wiebenga, Gordon Boogard and Burt Belk; brothers-in-law Robert Babcock, Robert McCoin and Bow Sandee as well as some nieces and nephews. He does have a few people still down here that are hoping and praying that he is not eating all the orange Jell-o and drinking all of the Pepsi-Cola before we get there. Miles will be greatly missed by his children: Laura (Bill) Bearss, Miles E. Wiebenga Jr., Jerry Wiebenga, Randy Wiebenga, Kenneth Leverich, Lucas Wiebenga, Victoria Wiebenga, Samantha (Fred) Markham, Sherry (Brian) Soderquist; 16 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren; brothers Ed (Maudie) Boogard, Joe (Joan) Wiebenga, Chuck (Barb) Belk, Buddy Belk; sisters Marilyn McCoin, Joan Babcock, Darlene (Ray) Boogaard, many nieces, nephews and close family friends. We look forward to reuniting with him in the near future. It is so amazing as Thanksgiving was one of his favorite holidays and wouldn't you know it with God as his personal party planner, they scheduled a wonderful reunion with his family and friends. Come join us as we celebrate the life of Miles and lets share a few "happy" tears, listen to some good music, get and give those great bear hugs, do some reminiscing and share and hear a lot of laughs at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van't Hof Chapel, 851 Leonard NW on Monday, November 16th at 11 AM. Friends may visit with his family on Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Mel Trotter Ministries or Meals on Wheels are appreciated. To read more about Miles, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com