Saturday, January 13, 2018
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
707 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Saturday, January 13, 2018
1:00 PM EST
Calvary Church (Chapel)
707 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Easy going, generous, and kind, Donald Koopman lived his life centered in love and an inspiring sense of faith. Don centered his life around his family, which he nurtured with both hard work and good fun. Don was a gift to all who knew him. Naturally keen on learning and growing, Don welcomed each day’s joys and challenges equally. A loving husband, devoted father, and proud grandfather, Don embraced his roles with honor leading his family by example and celebrating each day he was given. Cherished by many, Don will long be remembered by many.
Despite the obvious gloom of the growing conflict in Europe, 1939 held much to celebrate, including the end of the Great Depression, the premieres of the classic film Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, regular television begin to broadcast nationwide, and The World’s Fair in New York. As the US actively armed up for war, families continued to center their lives in love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in Grand Rapids, MI where Ben and Gertrude (Worst) Koopman welcomed their son Donald into their hearts and home on August 6, 1939.
Growing up as the Koopman’s only child on Diamond, near Fulton Street, Don enjoyed a childhood rich in faith-centered traditions, education, and hard work. It was a time that focused on family and Don was the center of his. The family attended church where he established the roots of a deep faith upon which he built the rest of his life.
A good kid, Don attended Baldwin Christian Elementary School and the Grand Rapids Christian High School. A natural student, Don loved to learn and consistently earned good grades. While he enjoyed serving as the manager for the boys' basketball team, he was especially proud of his academic accomplishments that helped him earn the Bert VandenBurg Commercial Scholarship Trophy in 1957.
After graduating high school, Don attended Davenport College for two years. He then transferred to Ferris State where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
Highly motivated and with a solid set of skills, Don soon found work at Old Kent Bank at the downtown office. It is here that he worked for the next 40 years. A pragmatic man through and through, Don walked 2.5 miles to and from work almost every day. True to his nature he computed that over the years he walked nearly 30,000 miles during his “commute” to and from work.
Shortly after graduating from college, Don was introduced to Theressa "Terry" Koopman on a blind date. Instantly smitten, they continued to date. Truly a couple who proved that opposites attract: Terry was the one to set up their social calendar where Don took care of the logistical side. Clearly, well suited for one another, the happy couple married on August 22, 1963, at Mayfair CRC, and enjoyed a honeymoon on the east coast.
Within a few years of marrying, they moved to their longtime home on Wallinwood NE where they would raise their two children, Dawn and Brent. As a father, Don was very involved. He was enthusiastically willing to play with the kids and quickly put down whatever he was doing when they asked for his attentions. Together, Don and Terry created a loving home centered on faith and family. Not only did the family enjoy the typical day to day doings, but they also enjoyed taking a vacation by car each summer. Don meticulously planned each trip. With a clear itinerary and well-planned routes, the family would embark upon their day’s travels that always included a few activities. Whether touring a famous home, walking in a park, visiting historic places, or driving to the next destination, Don was an easy going parent who enjoyed the moment.
With Terry as the primary social planner, Don was fairly reserved during his child-rearing years. While he enjoyed participating in social activities, he rarely felt compelled to initiate them. For a time, the family attended Bethany Bible Church where Don volunteered in the Library and the Tape Room. Eventually, they started attending Calvary Church which became his church home for nearly 30 years. It was at Calvary where Don’s faith powerfully grew and deepened. This growth was largely the result of his involvement in a home group that he very much treasured. This is evidenced by his own words that he often used when describing his group, “God gave me ten spiritual brothers and sisters later in my life to make up for not having biological ones.” Don also volunteered counting the money that was collected at services.
A man of many interests and tastes, Don was rarely one to sit still for long. He thoroughly enjoyed walking and would occasionally take one of his many vacation days to simply go for a walk. He took great pride in never owning a power mower, much preferring the precision and exercise he gained with his push mower. An avid learner, Don was often found engrossed in one of his many nonfiction books. For many years, Don would stop at the library on his way home from work and bring home a stack of new records to enjoy over the next week. One of Don’s favorite parts of the day was dessert. With a sweet tooth that was rarely satisfied, there were always cookies in the house. Always neat and meticulously organized, Don seemed to become more outgoing and perhaps even more outspoken after having heart surgery in his late 50's.
Don was a proud grandfather. He and Terry enjoyed doting on their granddaughter Kelsey when she lived nearby, cherishing each moment they had with her.
In 2002 Don and Terry moved into a condo. As they entered quieter years, Don and Terry traveled a bit, mainly to visit their daughter who lived in Chattanooga. After Terry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Don learned to do all the tasks required to keep the home. He also learned how to care for Terry and Brent. Don lovingly made sure Terry's needs were met within the comforts of their home where she spent most of her final years.
After adjusting to life after Terry passed away in 2013, Don moved to Breton Woods. In 2015 Don decided to contact a friend from Calvary Church. As he and Linda became more acquainted, they learned they shared a love of travel. With Linda at his side, Don began to have many adventures. The pair explored numerous landmarks throughout Michigan, monuments, and museums in Washington DC, Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington IL and The Ark Encounter in Williamston, KY. as well as taking numerous day trips throughout Michigan. Together they enjoyed these trips very much. In February 2017, Don asked Linda to be his wife, and they married on Friday, March 10, 2017, in a short, meaningful ceremony.
While it is difficult to imagine life without Don’s steadfast presence, may the many sweet memories we hold in our hearts afford deep comfort. May it also be of comfort to know that each time we enjoy a delicious dessert, take a long walk, listen to a favorite album, and enjoy learning, we carry Don’s legacy forward in our own lives. In so doing, Don’s love and light will continue to inspire countless others just as he has inspired us.
Donald Jay Koopman, age 78 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on January 4, 2018, in the comforts of his home. He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Theressa "Terry" in 2013. Don is survived by his wife, Linda; his children Dawn (Jeffrey) Jones and Brent Koopman, granddaughter, Kelsey Jones; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Cynthia Kanis, James VanDyke, Francine (Burnell) Schrotenboer, Ronald (Pamela) VanDyke as well as nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Don's life will be held on Saturday, January 13 at 1 PM at Calvary Church, 707 East Beltline NE where friends may visit with his family from 12 Noon until the service. Memorial contributions to Calvary Church are appreciated. To read more about Don's life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com