Life Story / Obituary
Sharon A. Gallapoo was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Her dedication to her family was evident in the time she spent and the care she gave. She was fun loving and outgoing at the same time that she was tough minded and hard working. Sharon’s faith-filled life showed how much she appreciated the blessings she had received.
Sharon was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan at a time when thousands of servicemen had returned home after World War II to pick up their lives and begin anew. With an energy never experienced before, industry expanded to meet peacetime needs. Americans began buying goods not available during the war, which created economic growth and plenty of jobs. Growth was everywhere and the baby boom was underway. It was a time of optimism in which families desired the best for their children, including Richard and Allene (Alters) Kuikstra, who welcomed their third child into their lives on October 2, 1949.
Sharon’s father was a home mover and her mother was a homemaker. Along with her siblings—Richard, Terry, Kathy and Jeanne—Sharon grew up on Butterworth Road NW, loving country music and her pet black Labrador named “Sammy.” She attended Oak Grove Elementary and then Grandville High School, during which time she worked the concession stand at the Vista Drive Inn. It was the first of many jobs Sharon would pursue in her lifetime.
At the age of 16, Sharon met Joseph Gallapoo through her brother Terry, and by age 17 the two had fallen in love and were married on April 26, 1966. They made their home in a succession of three apartments that dotted the city from the northeast to the southwest, until they bought a home in familiar territory: Butterworth Road NW. Joseph was a builder and factory worker, and over the years Sharon worked at Applied Arts Company and Michigan Bumper, then as a bar tender, Shell gas station attendant and A&B Party Store clerk. Most recently, she was employed by the City of Grand Rapids as a parking lot attendant and retired after 15 years of faithful service.
Sharon and Joe became parents in 1969 with the birth of Joseph, who soon became the big brother of April, Heather and Holly. Sharon was a wonderful cook and delighted the family with such meals as cabbage rolls and kielbasa, Mexican lasagna, wet burritos, burgers, hot dogs and pizza, a big favorite. One day each week, Sharon took the day off from cooking because the family went to her parents’ home for Grandma Kuikstra’s traditional Sunday dinner. Good food accompanied the strengthening of family ties.
The Gallapoo children all attended Sibley Elementary and Union High School. The rewards of completing a school year came each summer when the family vacationed at Michigan Adventure or Cedar Point amusement parks. For Sharon, it was a break from her summertime tasks of managing a beautiful flower garden, tending a small vegetable garden, and canning and freezing. Sometimes, she and Joe had the pleasure of escaping to Nashville without the kids.
Sharon’s own get-away came in the form of playing bingo at Sacred Heart, going to casinos and chancing the lottery. At home, she was most often found crocheting blankets for family and friends, reading romance novels by Victoria Hope, Danielle Steele and Harlequin, watching favorite TV shows, Steel Magnolias, Dallas, Dynasty, Knott’s Landing and Happy Days, or playing games, crossword puzzles and online video games. Perhaps it was not surprising that Sharon was a night owl, often staying up until 4:00 am.
When Sharon became a grandmother, she was thrilled to have her grandchildren in her life, and she even helped raise many of them. She absolutely loved spending time with them and was often disappointed if they didn’t come when their parents visited. The grandkids also gave Sharon reason to indulge her passion for “Goodwilling,” because she could buy more for less. Being a very thrifty person, Sharon was intent on finding the best deals and was especially happy when she came across a place where she could buy goods by the pound. She never came home empty-handed with many treasures for her children and grandchildren.
Sorrow struck Sharon suddenly on December 16, 2001 when her beloved husband Joseph, died of a massive heart attack. The loss was difficult, but with the support of her siblings, children and grandchildren, she carried on. Her faith sustained her as well, and she knew the community of Butterworth Fellowship was always nearby. Sharon continued to live on Butterworth Road all her life.
In 2006, Sharon developed cancer and underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy treatments. The disease was in remission for some time, but five years later it returned. She submitted to more surgery and chemotherapy and was able to see another four years with her family. In recent weeks, Sharon moved in with her daughter Heather and was placed under Faith Hospice. She died at her home with her loving family by her side.
Sharon will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who had the privilege of knowing her.
Sharon A. Gallapoo, aged 65 of Grand Rapids, joined her husband Joseph, on Monday, July 27, 2015 with her loving family at her side. She is survived by her children, Joseph Gallapoo, April Calver, Heather Gallapoo, Holly Gallapoo (fiancee Robert Dutcher); grand children, Cassandra, Joseph, Carl, Sarah and Katie Gallapoo, Robert, Nichole, Sharon and Ashley Calver, Randall and Michelle Kamps, Renae, Leiah and Leemon Johncock and Elijah Dutcher; 10 great grandchildren; her sisters, Kathleen (Elwin) Reichert, and Jeannie Kuikstra; her brother in-law, Dale Gallapoo; sisters-in-law, Georgia (Larry) Hagen and Charlene Gallapoo; many nieces, nephews and a host of friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Gallapoo, her parents, Richard and Allene Kuikstra; her brothers, Richard Kuikstra and Terry Kuikstra and her brother-in-law, Robert Gallapoo and sister-in-law, Donna Lutkas. A service to celebrate Sharon’s life will be held on Friday, July 31, 2015 at 11:00 am at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 851 Leonard NW. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral home on Wednesday evening from 7:00 – 9:00 and Thursday from 2:00 – 4:00 and 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Contributions in her memory may be made to Trinity Worship Center. To read more about Sharon's life, leave your own memory of her, and to sign her guest book, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com