Friday, September 29, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church
2100 Chelsea NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
The family will greet visitors at the church from 10-10:45 AM and for a time after the service.
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.
Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church
2100 Chelsea NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
South Christian High School
160 68th Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49548
Grand Rapids Christian School Foundation
2400 Plymouth Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Determined and hardworking, Carl Meekof lived a faith-centered life rich in family and faith. Deeply committed to his family, Carl embraced his roles as a husband, father, and grandfather with honor and integrity cherishing each moment he shared with his loved ones. With an unflappable spirit, Carl welcomed both the challenges of triumphs in life with dignity and determination. In so doing, Carl inspired many and will long live in the hearts and memories of those who were blessed to share his life.
The mobilization of war efforts in 1942 was quick and effective with car makers and other manufacturers changing to the production of weapons of war. Gas rationing, Scrap Days, and Victory Gardens became the norm, while The Declaration of the United Nations, the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, and The Voice of America assured that every citizen had their eyes focused on a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in McBain, Michigan where Myne and Josie (Veltema) Meekhof celebrated the birth of their youngest child, Carl, on August 31st.
The Meekof family lived on and worked a sizeable dairy farm where their hard work and steady faith afforded a firm foundation for their children to build the rest of their lives. As his older sister, Angie, died before he was born, Carl grew up with two older sisters and three brothers who were considerably older than he was. Under his parents’ and siblings’ wings, Carl learned the laborious life of farming. Like most farmers, Carl had chores from a very early age, and he quickly learned the fickle ways of nature. The family had little time for vacations but enjoyed church picnics, family reunions, and picking cherries in Traverse City. Though the house lacked indoor plumbing, it was always filled with the warmth of family.
In spite of the demands of farm life, Carl managed to find enough mischief as a youth to inspire a few epic stories over the years. What he learned for certain was that farming was not how he wanted to spend his entire life. When his brother bought the farm, while Carl was a teen, his parents moved to a house next door, and the glimmers of a farm free life began to shine in the distant future. Carl attended Northern Michigan Christian High School and played some basketball and baseball as a youth. As soon as he graduated and turned 18, he headed to Grand Rapids in search of work.
While living with relatives in Grand Rapids, Carl first found work at Keeler Brass. Here he quickly learned that working indoors was definitely not a fit for him and he began his search for work that would allow him to be outdoors. As he actively searched for this next work, Carl centered his spiritual life in the fellowship at East Leonard Christian Reformed Church. In time, he met and became lifelong friends with Dale Springfield. With much in common, including a desire to serve their country, the two buddies soon enlisted in the National Guard. During their service, they eventually spent a good deal of time helping begin to heal the deep wounds caused by Detroit police brutality, and that inspired a rebellion long referred to as the Detroit Riots. In time, Carl found work laying brick with VanderLaan and Wierenga, and a long career path became abundantly clear.
One fateful night, while Carl was playing hooky from church, good fortune blessed Carl by crossing his path with Nancy Verwys. As he and his buddy met Nancy and her girlfriend on the "circuit" in downtown Grand Rapids, Carl found himself smitten. Because Nancy and Carl had known of one another before this evening, she allowed him to drive her home. As they say, “the rest is history.” Eleven months later the couple was engaged, and on May 13, 1966, they celebrated their marriage in a wedding ceremony.
After honeymooning in Clearwater, Florida, Carl and Nancy returned to Grand Rapids and began their life together in an apartment they rented on the SE side of Grand Rapids. They began building the home Carl would spend the rest of his life in on the NE side, and Carl did all the masonry work himself. Shortly after they moved into their home, the happy couple joyfully welcomed the birth of their first child, Jodi. Steve and Stacy soon followed, completing their family.
A man who never shied away from hard work, Carl knew what he wanted and didn't usually like to be told how to do something. With the encouragement of his father-in-law, Carl struck out on his own and began Meekhof Masonry. Learning the business side as he went, with great determination and effort, Carl built a successful business that would be his only job for the rest of his life.
No matter how hard Carl worked, he always found time for his kids. An undauntable fan and presence, his enthusiasm for his kids and passion for sports were often effortlessly heard across fields and courts alike. Carl proudly attended “Indian Princesses” with Jodi and trained Steve in the masonry business. The family enjoyed vacationing in and around Michigan, especially the time they spent at Nancy’s parents’ cottage. As the kids grew older, Carl and Nancy began taking them to Florida for Spring Break. These annual trips forged a love for Florida that eventually inspired Carl and Nancy to purchase a home in Panama City. Though Carl and Steve had their differences, they also had their unique nightly “knock” that clearly signaled their love and respect for one another.
A man of many interests, Carl enjoyed bowling, racquetball, and a lot of church league fastpitch softball. Carl and Nancy also enjoyed golfing together and were members of Alpine Golf Club for several years. Carl especially enjoyed spending the winter months in Florida. Knee replacement surgery during his 50s gave Carl freedom to work, golf, and walk. Church remained a constant source of community. Carl and Nancy spent a lot of time enjoying the friendships they made through their membership at Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church and her work. Many card and board games were played over the years, and many wonderful annual trips were taken in the good company of their friends. An unwavering and faithful fan of all Grand Rapids Christian Girls Basketball and Softball, Carl even postponed going to Florida so he could be around for the state tournament. Though quiet in his younger years, Carl learned the art of talking with anyone. A big presence, his voice often boomed without intent, and he had to work to consciously use it when necessary and soften it as needed.
Carl was famous for his routines. He went out for breakfast every morning--enjoying a series of favorite restaurants through the years including Mr. Fables, Red Hot, the Red Geranium, Bills, New Beginnings and most recently, Grand Coney. He had a great fondness for his donuts from Van's Bakery, and his daily naps were epic. Sundays were church days that began by walking with his sweetheart to and from church and often included afternoons surrounded by family in the home Carl loved so dearly.
Without a doubt, family was Carl’s heart’s delight. When his children married, Carl delighted in welcoming his sons and daughter-in-law into his family. As they blessed him with grandchildren, his joy grew beyond measure. Carl relished in holding the babies, often because he could nap with them at the same time, and as they grew, he became their number one fan. Carl loved taking them out to breakfast and especially enjoyed cheering on their sports and other endeavors. In Carl’s heart, his grandchildren knew they were loved, safe, and enough. In their eyes, he knew his legacy and hopes for the future were assured.
Called to share his gifts and faith, Carl served as a youth leader at his church several times through the years. He was also a Deacon. Though he never considered he was qualified to be an Elder, he eventually did serve as an elder, faithfully visiting people, meeting seniors for dinner, and often sharing time with the younger members and dessert with the adults. Carl did his best to embody his faith by loving unconditionally, forgiving freely, encouraging peace, and remaining humble. In so doing, he was a powerful role model for many.
Even in the face of life’s greatest challenges, Carl chose to find the gifts in each moment. Whether facing the challenges of cancer in his fifties or the risks that came with his recent spine surgery, Carl trusted his faith and loved with all his heart. It was in the reflection of his faith and love that Carl's family enveloped him during his final days.
Clearly, the world seems less certain without Carl’s steadfast presence. May it afford deep comfort to know that each time we take on learning something on our own, make sure we have a toothpick handy, relish in a nap, and enjoy each other’s good company, we continue to share the beautiful legacy of this good man in our own daily lives.
Carl Meekhof, age75 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on September 24, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; children Jodi and Paul Jeltema, Steve and Barb Meekhof, Stacy and Brad Meulenberg; grandchildren Devon and Abigail Jeltema, Nick, Seth and Alyssa Meekhof, Carly, Alex, Blake and Taylor Meulenberg; brothers Milton (Bern) Meekhof and Don Meekhof; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Bob DeKraker, Vincent and Sue Verwys, Janice and Dr. Dane VerMerris; as well as several nieces and nephews. Carl was preceded in death by his siblings and their spouses, Calvin and Bea Meekhof, Angie Meekhof, Maxine Meekhof, Ange and Ray Elenbaas, Joyce DeKraker. The service to remember and celebrate Carl's life will be held on Friday, September 29 at 11 AM at Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church, 2100 Chelsea NE. Friends are invited to visit with his family on Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel and on Friday at the church from 10-10:45 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Grand Rapids Christian School Foundation, South Christian High School or Beckwith Hills CRC are appreciated. To read more about Carl's life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com