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Arthur Despres Jr.

May 25, 1929 - July 4, 2017
Grand Rapids, MI

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Visitations


Sunday, July 9, 2017
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613
Driving Directions

Sunday, July 9, 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
(616) 361-2613

Rosary will be prayed at 7:30 PM at the funeral home.

Driving Directions

Services


Sunday, July 9, 2017
7:30 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613

Prayer Service

Driving Directions

Monday, July 10, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
St.Alphonsus Catholic Church
224 Carrier Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 451-3043

Visitation at the church for one hour prior to the Mass.

Web Site

Contributions


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.

St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
234 Carrier Drive NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 451-3043
Web Site

Flowers


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


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On the day when America was celebrating the independence it gained many years ago and enjoying the luxury of sustaining such a great land of freedom, the loving family of Arthur H. Despres Jr. was forced to endure an unexpected farewell to a great soul. Arthur was a devoted husband, a loving father, and a cherished grandfather and friend to so many. We will miss him deeply.

The year of 1929, Arthur's year of birth, had 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. This crash caused the United States to join the rest of the world 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. Americans were also entertained by the first Academy Awards. Closer to home, Arthur Sr. and Margaret (Faulkner) Despres were preparing to meet their first sweet baby. Arthur Harry Couillard Despres Jr. was welcomed to the world on May 25th, 1929.

Arthur was not the only child for long, he and his parents welcomed two more children to the family over time to make their family complete. He became a big brother to Robert and Mary Lou. Many adventures and memorable times were experienced in their home located at 320 Florence NE in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His parents worked hard to create a home filled with harmony; his father worked in the heating business, and his mother worked many years as a Dietician for General Motors while keeping the family organized.

Arthur's elementary days were spent at St. Alphonsus. During even his younger years in life, he enjoyed playing baseball with friends in the neighborhood and in school. Around the tender age of 12, and on the cusp of becoming a teenager, Arthur's life was destined for a lifelong love. Next door lived a girl named Shirley Cook. The two grew up together and fell in love over the years, as they shared many nostalgic times as young people. While this love was simmering, time passed, and Arthur attended Creston High School. At this point, he and Shirley became notable high school sweethearts. Arthur graduated with the class of 1947 and was quickly drafted into the United States Army where he honorably served his country in the Korean War for two years.

Before he was officially discharged from the Army, Arthur celebrated one of the best days of his life. On December 11, 1951, he married his best friend and the love of his life. Arthur and his beautiful bride, Shirley, shared the celebration of marriage at St. Alphonsus. An amazing reception at Fingers Restaurant followed the ceremony where friends and relatives savored the special day. The happy couple was forced to say goodbye to one another, as Arthur still had to fulfill his duties in the service. This time apart was brief, though, because he returned a few months later.

Upon their reuniting, the newlyweds lived in several apartments before they finally settled into their home at 1044 Houseman. The sentimental walls of this home were witness to the full lives of Arthur, Shirley, and their family for 50 years. Before long, the excitement of parenthood became a reality with the birth of their first baby boy, Michael, who was born in 1952. Just a couple years later, a second son, Steven, was welcomed in 1954. Finally having a baby girl, Cheri in 1957, and another son Terry in 1961. Several years later in 1968, as an unexpected blessing Art and Shirley would find out that they were about to have another child, Renee, who would make their family complete.

The family enjoyed many summers in Mackinaw City and Mackinaw Island. As their family grew with grandchildren they would all enjoy several summers in Tawas, MI on the shores of Lake Huron where they rented several cabins on the beach. As his family was growing Art was busy coaching baseball for the boys for the St. Alphonsus Baseball Team. He loved the “Art of competition” so within that found himself playing softball and shuffle board on the College Inn League’s, and also joining the bowling League at Creston Rec. He enjoyed being out of doors and would spend much of his time off work throwing a “ball” with the kids, taking them swimming or taking them to the movies at the “Creston Theater”. As the years passed he would find yet another one of his passions…golf. He played on the St Alphonsus golf league with his friend and brother in law Bill for many years. Golf would also give him the opportunity to spend more time with his sons, while passing along his “knowledge” of the game.

To support his family, Arthur was a dedicated lithographer at Turnwall & Palma where he worked for over 40 years before retiring. Art was an amazing family man who had a deep love for his wife and family. The times they shared together over the years will never be forgotten. He loved action movies of all kinds and was an avid Michigan Football fan as well as the Lions, Tigers and Golf on TV.

He was a great cook in the kitchen and everyone loved his beef stew, roast beef, potato salad and corn beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. He loved eating out at Swan Inn and Logan's, and simple family picnics at Riverside Park. Family was the most important part of his life and the family enjoyed many family holidays together and celebrations of all kinds. He held a deep abiding faith and prayed for his family often.

Arthur and Shirley were able to experience much of their children’s lives as they grew into adults with respectable lives of their own. They looked forward to the honor of becoming grandparents, and in time, they were blessed with the joyful celebration of each of their 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. The gift of future generations of family was truly a gift to Arthur and Shirley. The admirable love the two shared in over 65 years of marriage is a beautiful legacy in itself. Their loving relationship served as a great example and strong foundation for the entire family.

In the presence of his loved ones, Arthur completed his life of 88 years on July 4th, 2017. We will miss his childlike sense of humor and his strong presence in our daily lives. We will hold the memories we shared with Art close to our hearts, and he will never be forgotten.

Arthur H. Despres Jr., age 88 of Grand Rapids, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, July 4th in the presence of his loving family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur Sr. and Margaret Despres, his son, Terry Despres, his brother, Robert (Marcella) Despres and his brother-in-law, William Banaszak. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Shirley Despres (Cook); his children; Mike Despres, Steven (Sue) Despres, Cheri (John) Deering, Renee (Derek) Fox; his grandchildren, Karlee (Marc) Muilenberg, Michael Despres, Jaime (Mat) deGraaf, Steven (Alison) Despres Jr., Paul Despres, Amber Deering, Karley Deering, Melissa (Chris) Byrd, Stephanie (Lee) Kleinow, T.J. Despres, Lauren (Adam) Tweedy, Nicholas Fox; 9 great-grandchildren; his sister, Mary Lou Banaszak; brother-in-law, Tom (Suzanne) Cook; many nieces, nephews and friends. Arthur honorably served his country in the US Army during the Korean War. He retired as a lithographer at Turnwall & Palma where he worked for over 40 years. Art was known for his sense of humor and his deep love for his wife and family. He was a longtime member of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church where the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated onMonday, July 10, at 11:00 AM. Burial in Rosedale Memorial Park. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 1833 Plainfield NE, with a rosary at 7:30 pm. Visitation again at the church Monday morning from 10 am until Mass begins at 11:00 am. Contributions in his memory may be made to St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. To read more about Arthur’s life, to sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com

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