Philip P. Versluis

August 7, 1929 - May 25, 2017
Walker, MI



Tuesday, May 30, 2017
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
10:00 AM EDT
LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church
107 LaGrave Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Wednesday, May 31, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church
107 LaGrave Ave
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


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.

Henry Beets Mission Society
107 LaGrave Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Faith Hospice
2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5113
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Devoted, humble, and kind, Philip P. Versluis lived his life solidly centered in his Christian faith and an unwavering commitment to living by the statement: "Lift where you stand". A man of unshakable integrity, Philip consciously chose to embrace each day as an opportunity to be of service to others. Whether providing for his family, helping his community members, or sharing in his fellowship family, Philip embodied his beliefs and naturally led others to do the same. Loved and revered by many, Philip will be deeply missed while his powerful legacy continues to inspire others to live their lives fully and with abundant gratitude.

Philip was the sixth child of ten born to Peter and Tena. The family lived on Maynard NW in Walker where their days focused on living their faith and working their family farm. The Versluis family explored and celebrated their faith through active membership at Walker Christian Reformed Church. Like most farm kids, Philip’s childhood was filled with days of hard physical labor learning the value of the land, the precariousness of weather, the value of perseverance, and the necessity of hope. During his youth, Philip’s father often spoke the words that would become one of the guiding principles upon which Philip built the rest of his life, “To live without responsibility is to live without appreciation."

Philip attended McCarthy Country Schoolhouse. Not only was Philip a student at McCarthy, but he also served as the school house’s custodian. He was in the choir "White Shirt Brigade" from age eight through twelve. Later, Philip attended Union High School where he ran track and cross country. He was pleased to run under a five minute mile. After graduating from high school, he attended Calvin College.

Philip enlisted in the U.S.Army. After his basic training, Philip served for two years in Korea. Working as an Army medic, Philip proved this commitment to being of service to others. His commanding officer noticed his army profile and said "you're going to be my bridge partner."

Upon returning home, Philip enrolled in classes at Michigan State University where he studied Criminal Justice, earning both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. During his time at MSU, Philip reconnected with Joyce Aldrink whom he’d met years earlier when her family picked cherries on his family’s farm. They commenced to get married on July 12, 1958, at Seymour Christian Reformed Church and moved two weeks after their nuptials to Muncie, Indiana where Philip had been hired as a parole officer.

Philip and Joy spent two years in Muncie before returning to Grand Rapids. Philip secured a job with the Kent County Juvenile Court. They built their home on Collindale, and began raising their four children, Peter, Chadwick, Tonya, and Vincent.

Philip had full days. Mom and dad had breakfast with the kids, then went to work. They had dinner as a family and off he went to nightly meetings. This was a routine week for the family. The reward was weekly Friday nights swimming and weightlifting at the YMCA.

Possessing a highly effective ability to read a situation and respond accordingly, Philip showed his strengths in perfect synchrony with each and every situation. With the Aldrink side of the family, he could rise up and join in the lively conversations; with the Versluis', he was more stoic and reflective; and with his kids and grandkids, he tended to take on a more instructional and fun loving role. An active learner, Philip bore a personal wealth of knowledge. Despite all he knew, he was more apt to engage others in their own self-discovery than to impart his knowledge on them outright. Philip expertly asked questions, encouraged others to think, and gently guided them toward discovering what was right and true.

Philip possessed excellent management and organizational skills which he willingly used to support many organizations. As an active partner in the family farm, a Walker City charter member, and eventually, was one of Walker’s first mayors. Philip’s daily plate was always overflowing with responsibility and opportunities to serve. For many years, Philip would work weekends at Versluis Orchards. Each September Philip spent his vacation harvesting apples, and he also worked the fruit stand a couple of evenings a week. Philip retired as Director of the Kent County Juvenile Court, having steadily risen through the ranks. An active member of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Philip served on various committees, and multiple terms as Deacon and Elder.

Philip and Joy filled their retirement years traveling the world. They also wintered in Belize for nearly 20 years and even took on the adventure of driving there for many of those years. In the last few years, Philip and Joyce wintered in Siesta Key, Florida.

Philip’s greatest joy was his family. On the foundation of faith, mutuality, respect, and gratitude Philip lovingly built and shared his life with Joyce for 58 years, and he treasured his time with his children. His grandchildren, Philip, John, Eric and Jessie, Honey Bea, Quinton, Cedric, Darius, Nina, and Esther, were truly his heart’s delight for in their eyes he could see the spark of his legacy and his hope for the future. Philip was honored to be their “Pop” and cherished teaching them to work hard and to have fun.

Surely the world feels less certain without the steadfast wisdom and guidance of such an inspiring Patriarch. May it provide deep comfort to know that Philip is walking free of his staff in the warmth of the Lord’s eternal light and love.

Philip Peter Versluis, age 87, known by name to Christ His Savior, passed away on May 25, 2017, at his home in Walker, Michigan. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, E. Joyce Versluis (Aldrink); their children, Peter and Denise (Ponshair) Versluis, Chadwick and Rachel (Faber) Versluis, Tonya (Versluis) and David Williamson, Vincent and Angela (Gordillo) Versluis; his grandchildren, Philip Versluis, John, Eric and Jessie Versluis, Bea (Williamson) and Ken Johnson, Quinton, Cedric and Darius Williamson, Nina and Esther Versluis; his brother and sister-in-law, David and Jan Versluis; his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, James Morren, Mel Smoes, Ben Eisma, Gladys Versluis, Barbara Versluis, Chet Lautenbach, Bea Idema, Ethel Brunger; and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his brothers and sisters A. James Versluis, Warren Versluis, Edith Miedema, Francene Van Netten, Elizabeth Smoes, Lois Hartwell, Esther Eisma, and Mary Morren.

A service to commemorate Philip's life will be held on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 11 AM at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW and at the church from 10 AM until 10:45 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either the Henry Beets Mission Society or Faith Hospice are appreciated. To read more about Philip, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com