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Rest Haven Homes
1424 Union NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
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Life Story / Obituary
Ruth Boluyt was born on a day with celebration, fireworks, warmth, and happiness. Ruth Boluyt's personality reflected these qualities. Ruth was a caring wife, a loving mother, and a cherished grandmother and friend to so many. We will miss such a kind-hearted and caring spirit.
In the year Ruth was born, 1929, there were many notable highs and lows. The most historic event of the year was the rise and fall of the stock market. The Wall Street Stock Market reached its peak creating an economic boom. Soon though, the market began to fluctuate and eventually crashed resulting in The Great Depression. Remarkably, this is also when the country hit a new population mark of 120 million people. Not all was bad though, in fact, many exciting events still raged on. Charles Lindberg flew 3,400 miles from Detroit to Cape Horn, and many people heard about this amazing news on their car radios first introduced in this year by Motorola.
Closer to home, John and Cora (Baas) Van Ree were preparing to meet their new baby. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ruth was welcomed on Independence Day (which was more than fitting to her personality) - July 4th, 1929. Ruth became a little sister to Margaret who was the first and oldest. Before long, two more sisters joined the family; Jane and Carol helped make the family of 6 complete. With four girls in the family, there was never a quiet or dull moment.
The Van Ree family home was located on Eastern Avenue SE which was near the old airport. They kept busy with many chores. Ruth learned about tending to the farm and harvesting its bounty at an early age, as her family grew produce and sold it at the market. These skills remained with her throughout life and became a labor of love for her own family as an adult. As a child, when she was not helping her family with duties at home, Ruth attended Seymour Christian Elementary followed by Grand Rapids Christian High from which she earned her high school diploma. She spent time playing basketball, volleyball, and softball for extracurricular activities. Upon graduation, Ruth found employment at International Harvester working in the billing area.
Through church connections, she met James Boluyt. Soon they became a couple planning a wedding. They married at the minister's study on September 12, 1950. As the new Mr. and Mrs. James Boluyt, they celebrated with a reception at the Dutch Kitchen. The newlyweds settled into their new life establishing a home on the NE side of Grand Rapids. They soon entered the adventure of parenthood together and before long, they welcomed five children into their home. Ruth took to motherhood like a natural, and she created a comfortable home life for the entire family. This environment was achieved with tenacious effort, for she rarely sat down to rest. Ruth was the disciplinarian in the home and she did this with fairness and love. Her family benefitted greatly from her constant routines which she enforced with grace. Her children would often see her hanging out the fresh laundry on the clothesline to dry in the summertime breeze, and they helped her in the gardens both of the vegetable and beautiful flower varieties. An expert from her childhood experiences, she canned everything providing the family with two freezers full of the taste of Michigan summers for the winter months. Her cooking skills were also notable, and her potato salad was delectable. Her kids looked forward to the Saturday night tradition of hamburgers and ice cream malts. The many traditions and routines she created made for the best kind of childhood memories.
In the rare times Ruth did sit down, instead of relaxing, she would have some kind of knitting project in the works. She crafted many quilts, afghans, coats, and clothing for the kids. She even made extra to donate to the school sales. Though she spent the majority of her time organizing her family and the home, she did occasionally take on a few cleaning jobs to earn a little extra money. She also loved to help and volunteered often.
A true creature of habit, Ruth spent her weekends with traditional plans too. Her Friday nights were shared with her sisters and Saturdays with the Boluyt side of the family. Ruth's place in the Boluyt family never seemed like an in-law type relationship, but rather she felt like a true sister. Always active in her church, Ruth was a part of the Mary Martha Circle. When her kids were a bit older, she volunteered to host the group's Sunday evening snack after church. Keeping true to her liking of the comforts of routine, she remained lifelong friends with Helen, whom she met in kindergarten. The two looked forward to meeting at Russ' for lunch every Monday.
Throughout the years, her son Tom struggled with health issues. He needed a great deal of special care, and Ruth always stood by him to provide the help he required. As all of her children matured and found lives of their own, Ruth and James looked forward to becoming grandparents. They joyfully celebrated the gift of 9 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Ruth was always interested in the grandchildren's activities. She would make time to attend their various events or play games with them. Each of them always counted on Grandma to sneak them a treat - a cookie or a sweet treat from the candy closet (or both!). Her lap was also a coveted cozy spot to curl up and listen to a story read from a book.
Though many spots in Ruth's life were bright, she did endure some sad times. She was forced to say goodbye to her husband in 2011, but with the support of her loved ones and the memories she held close to her heart, she was able to find the goodness in life again. Sadly, her son, Tom, passed away in 2014. This was extremely difficult for Ruth. She was surrounded by so many people who loved her, and this helped ease her sorrow. Not long after her husband's passing, Ruth moved to Rest Haven Home where she was able to gain more assistance with day to day living. The Rest Haven home staff was so kind, caring and loving and really helped Ruth work through her later years. With her kind and compassionate personality, she made friends quickly there. She proved to be a wonderful listener, yet she could also hold her end of a conversation up if she was chatting amongst good friends.
As summer approached, Ruth's health continued to falter. She was surrounded by family when she passed away on August 19, 2017. We will miss her quick ability to laugh and her warm smile, for she always had a great sense of humor. We will fondly remember the great times we shared with Ruth, and she will never be forgotten.
Mrs. Ruth Boluyt, age 88 of Grand Rapids passed away August 19, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Sr. in 2011 and her son, Tom in 2014. Ruth is survived by her children James Jr. & Betty Boluyt, Gloria & Dave Swann, Julie & Tim LaRocque, John Boluyt; grandchildren: Ryan (Jessica) Boluyt, Andrew Boluyt, Adam (Kristy) Swann, Allyson (Jonathan) Beeke, Ashley (Jorge) Santander, Abraham Swann, Travis LaRocque, Trent LaRocque, Corey (Heather) Postma; 9 great grandchildren; sisters and brother-in-law Margaret & John VanderBoon, Jane Boluyt and Carol Averill as well as many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Her funeral service, officiated by Dr. Jerry Bilkes, will be held on Tuesday, August 22 at 1 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends may visit with her family on Monday from 6-9 PM and on Tuesday from 12 Noon until 12:45 PM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Rest Haven Homes are appreciated. To read more about Ruth, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com