Wednesday, August 2, 2017
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Rosary will be prayed at 7:30 PM
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
To say Pat Antor was “one tough cookie” would almost be an understatement. Throughout her life, Pat was a hardworking woman who faced life’s challenges head-on. Although she could be stubborn, it was that unshakable spirit that saw her through some of life's biggest hurdles. Pat was a devoted wife, dedicated mother and grandmother, and a wonderful friend to those who knew and loved her. Devout to her Catholic faith, she served selflessly and advocated for those unable to speak for themselves.
The Depression years were made much brighter in the lives of James and Reynelda (Homrich) Russell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, with the birth of their little girl, Patricia Louise on May 18, 1933. Patricia was later joined by her two younger brothers, Ronald and Richard in their family home at 144 Garfield NW. Her father worked as a grocer, and he later came to own his own grocery store, Fulton Foods, on West Fulton Avenue which was a longtime staple on the city's close-knit Westside.
Family get-togethers occurred often, and there was never a lack of anyone to play with. Memorable times were spent during the summers at Lincoln Park swimming and playing softball. She was close with her many neighborhood friends. Everyone pretty much knew everyone in the neighborhood and there was always someone willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Family and friends alike attended St. Mary’s Church while Pat and her brothers went to school there.
During her youth and in addition to her studies, Pat worked at her father’s store at the cheese counter before graduating from Catholic Central High School with the Class of 1951. While in school Pat made lifelong friends that she's treasured all these years. She then went on to further her education at Mercy Central School of Nursing located in Detroit, although for about half the time she did hands-on study at St Mary's Hospital right in her hometown. Quite the go-getter, Pat was very motivated, goal oriented and skilled. A very knowledgeable nurse, she first worked at St. Mary's and then Blodgett Hospital. She retired from Blodgett after over 30 years of service.
It was while attending a wedding at a dance hall on the Westside that Pat met a young country boy by the name of Leo Antor. Quite smitten, he liked her style, and she could dance a mean Polka! Nearly finished with nursing school when they met, the couple courted for about two years before sharing vows of marriage at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on September 23, 1957. The newlyweds honeymooned at the Wisconsin Dells.
Pat and Leo began married life in a rented apartment where they welcomed their first child, Alaynna in 1958. They soon built their own home on Brookmark SE in Kentwood. David and Karen joined the family in 1960 and 1961, respectively. In 1963 they moved to their Aberdeen Street NE where the birth of Paul in 1969 completed their family. Her part-time nursing work was well balanced with Leo's and they often worked opposite shifts so one of them could always be with the kids.Extended family also lived in the Aberdeen area, and numerous memories were shared and enjoyed throughout the years in their family home where Pat and Leo remained for many years. Family summers were spent enjoying a seasonal spot at Sharp Park in the Gun Lake area.
Pat knew how to stretch a dollar; as a matter of fact, she took great joy in frugality. She and Leo were committed to responsible spending and saving was always important to them. As a couple they valued Catholic education for their children and made it their highest priority.
Pat and Leo shared many enduring friendships. They were a very social and outgoing couple, having enjoyed card groups, bridge clubs, penny poker nights and Sunday night bowling leagues. Travel was another part of their lives that Pat and Leo enjoyed together. When their family was young they took trips around Michigan to destinations like Drummond Island or to Pennsylvania to visit relatives. In later years, Pat and Leo took in multiple cruises to places such as Russia, Scandinavia, and Alaska. They traveled to Spain and Austria, and when they bought their RV, they even drove to Alaska during a multi-month trip. Eventually they bought a place in a retirement community in Lady Lake, Florida. While there they made many amazing friendships, enjoying their time there each winter playing softball, tennis, golf, and horseshoes.
When it came to adversity, tough was second nature to Pat. She had a will of iron, especially when it came to being a two-time breast cancer survivor. Her treatments were so very grueling they took her to the brink of death, but in typical Pat fashion, she said, “Bring it on!” Pat was a very practical woman who thought things through. Many looked to her to guide the way, and when faced with challenges or decisions, those who knew her best often thought, “What would Pat do?” Wise and logical, she made realistic decisions, and they usually served her well.
To Pat, it never mattered if someone was family or friend; she was someone on whom others could rely. With ways all her own, when it came to her family and dearest friends, there was a love in her heart beyond compare. One of a kind, Pat leaves behind a legacy never to be forgotten.
Patricia L. Antor, age 84, of Grand Rapids, passed away July 30, 2017 at Trillium Woods with her loving family at her side. She was the daughter of the late James and Reynelda (Homrich) Russell. She was also preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Leo Antor, and her son, David Antor. Pat is survived by her children, Alaynna (Mike) Yates of Mesa, AZ, Karen Patterson of Jacksonville, FL, Deacon Paul (Janet) Antor of Summerville, SC; ten grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers, Ronald (Mary) Russell of Charlotte, NC and Richard Russell of Tempe, AZ. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, August 3 at 11 AM at Blessed Sacrament Church, 2275 Diamond Ave NE. Friends may visit with her family from 6-8 PM on Wednesday, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE, and beginning at 10 AM at the church. A rosary will be prayed at 7:30 PM, Wednesday. Entombment will be in Resurrection Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Blessed Sacrament Church or Faith Hospice. Please visit Pat's personal web page to read more of her life story, leave a condolence or memory at www.lifestorynet.com.