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Life Story / Obituary
God's beloved son - an extraordinary husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, Durward “Dewey” Bakker lived his life in conscious service to others. Loved and revered by many, Dewey will be profoundly missed and lovingly remembered.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope remained in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. There was great joy in Holland, Michigan where John and Lena Bakker welcomed their first child Durward into their hearts and home on May 2nd, 1930.
The oldest of four children, Dewey learned the core values of hard work and service to others from his parents. While his mother lovingly cared for the home and children, Dewey’s father provided for the family by working as a Barber. The Bakkers made their home on the south side of Holland on 23rd St. and built their family values on the firm foundation of their Christian faith. Upon this foundation, the Bakkers made the necessary sacrifices to send their children to Holland Christian Schools.
After graduating from Holland Christian High School, Dewey began his college education at Hope College. In 1952, Dewey graduated from Hope College and enrolled at the University of Michigan where he studied pediatrics.
While working his way through Medical School, Dewey married the woman he would share the next 61 years, Jacqueline Mae Marcusse. Together, Dewey and Jacqueline would build a loving home and family that included their three treasured children, David, Nancy, and Marc.
From 1959 to 1961, Dewey proudly served in the United States Air Force working as a base doctor in New Mexico. By the conclusion of his service, Dewey had earned the rank of Captain.
Following his time in the Air Force, Dewey and Jacqueline returned to Grand Rapids. The happy couple purchased their home on Shawmut St. NW and Dewey began working for Butterworth Hospital. Dewey joined Dr. John Wilson in private practice on the NW side of Grand Rapids and over the next 40 years, he also shared the practice with Dr. Joseph Taylor, Dr. Vern Vaandrager, and eventually others, serving numerous pediatric patients within his community.
As their family grew, Dewey and Jacqueline chose to move to 1560 Blythe Dr. NW where they raised their children and lived for the next 50 years.
Dewey was a humble, service-minded man who lived in moderation. He appreciated the simple pleasures in life, recognizing them as gifts to be treasured. Whether enjoying the superb food Jacqueline lovingly prepared with delight, reading, the beauty of classical music, or the privilege and calm of working his yard, Dewey embraced life with awareness and gratitude. When the children were young, Wednesday nights were family night which sometimes meant a ride to Fricano’s in Grand Haven. Though two of the children had yet to acquire a taste for this pizza and took with them sack lunches prepared by their mom, Dewey’s night off was spent in the good company of those he treasured most, his family. The family also enjoyed many memorable vacations together. The last week of summer was spent at a rental cottage on Spider Lake where the legend of Al Capone was very much alive in the local building he was rumored to have owned. A motorhome trip out west and Spring Breaks in the Gulf Coast also proved to be wonderful memories for all.
In full knowledge of Christ’s love, Dewey embraced his faith wholeheartedly and committed himself to lovingly ministering to others. As a Charter member of Westview Christian Reformed Church, Dewey proudly served his fellowship in a variety of ways over the years. Welcoming the responsibilities of serving as a Deacon, Elder, Youth Group Leader, and Catechism teacher, Dewey naturally infused his ministry with honor and integrity. Not only did Dewey celebrate his faith within the Westview CRC fellowship, he was also a vibrant member of Bethany Christian Services and an integral part of the development of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
The game of tennis was a favorite for Dewey, and he could often be found honing his skills on the court. When not on the court, Dewey thoroughly enjoyed riding his bicycle with friends. Yard work was a sure stress reliever, and together with Jacqueline and friends, Dewey enjoyed attending the symphony for more than 50 years. Over time, Dewey became a regular at his favorite restaurant, Mr. Burger, where he was considered a bit of a legend and a welcome friend.
After retiring in 1999, Dewey and Jacqueline enjoyed many years of travel together. Though they had the joy of spending time in Florida, traveling out west, and exploring Europe and Belize, Dewey’s favorite trips were times exploring the local wonders of Traverse City and Mackinac Island.
In September of 2014, following his beloved Jacqueline's death, Dewey bravely continued to embrace each day as a blessing. He remained as active as possible, reading, nurturing relationships and cherishing time with family. He frequented Mr. Burger, attended church, participated in the community, and enjoyed time with lifetime friends in Holland and elsewhere. In 2016, Dewey sold the family home and moved to Edison Manor where he was able to live the rest of his life in the peaceful comforts of a Christian community home.
Without a doubt, Dewey’s greatest joy was his family. With deep faith, respect, and gratitude, Dewey treasured his children, nieces and nephews. Dewey’s grandchildren were his heart’s delight for in their eyes, he could see the spark of his legacy and his hope for the future. Dewey was honored to be their grandfather and cherished each moment in their good company.
It was in the deep comfort of his loved ones that Dewey entered eternal life. With his family at his side, Dewey died at Butterworth Hospital on July 9, 2017. Surely those that came to know and love Dewey may feel less certain without the steadfast wisdom and guidance of such an inspiring patriarch. May it provide deep comfort to know that with each Christ centered step we take, we are living Dewey’s legacy of love in our own daily lives.
BAKKER – Dr. Durward “Dewey” J. Bakker aged 87, of Grand Rapids, passed away on July 9, 2017 at Butterworth Hospital with his family at his side. He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Jacqueline, in 2014. Dewey is survived by his children, David Jon Bakker, Nancy Lynn (Jeff) Droge, and Marc Thomas (Jayne) Bakker; grandchildren, Naomi and Sarai Droge and Alexander, Macy, and Hayden Bakker. Also surviving are his siblings, William (Betty) Bakker, Kathleen (Fred) Van Tubbergen, and Daniel (Sandy) Bakker; sister-in-law, Barbara (Larry) Van Genderen; and many treasured nieces and nephews. Dewey was an extraordinary husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend to all who knew him. He will be profoundly missed and lovingly remembered. Dewey was a pediatrician on the North West Side of Grand Rapids for over 40 years. He was active at Westview Christian Reformed Church and Bethany Christian Services and the development of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The Funeral Service will be held at Noon on Friday, July 14, 2017 at Westview Christian Reformed Church, 2929 Leonard St. NW. Friends may visit with his family from 5-8 PM on Thursday and on Friday for one hour prior to the service at the church. Contributions in his memory may be made to Bethany Christian Services. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read his lifestory, archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook before coming to the funeral home.