Wednesday, November 14, 2018
11:00 AM EST
Berean Baptist Church
1574 Coit Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Visitation at church from 10 AM until 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.
Berean Baptist Church
1754 Coit Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Donations can be specified to either the "Building Fund" or for "Missions". Those not specified will be determined by the family.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a journey that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Gary Reames lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He was a hardworking man, but he took the time to enjoy life along the way as well. Although he accomplished so much of which to be proud, there was no greater joy in Gary’s life than his family. He was strong, encouraging, and kind with a fun-loving side, too. Although he will be dearly missed, Gary leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
Life during the 1930s was primarily defined by the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and things only became more dire when a drought crippled our nation’s heartland for nearly two years. Despite the trials around them, Harold Lee and Gladys Irene (Cherry) Reames were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they welcomed the baby boy they named Gary Lee into their hearts and home on March 8, 1935, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The youngest of four, he was raised in the family home on Arlington Street, NE alongside his brothers, Keith, Roger, and Bruce. Gary was truly the baby in the family as he was 10 years younger than Bruce.
In many ways Gary was a young boy of his generation. He learned a lot from his father including how to be handy and a love for both sports and the outdoors. Gary loved playing ball as a kid and earned his letter while in high school. When he was a bit older, he had a paper route, and when he was 14 he would sneak his father’s car and use it to deliver his papers. Gary also caddied at Kent Country Club. This is where his love for golf as born, and he loved to golf throughout life. Gary attended local schools and graduated from Creston High School.
Not to be forgotten during his years in high school was Gary’s introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Carolyn Beukema, and interestingly he met her sister first while rollerskating at Ramona Park. Although Gary had gone on a date with her sister as Carolyn was a triplet, the sparks flew between he and Carolyn after he and his friend had arranged for them to sit next to each other in the car while on a double date. They fell in love while he was still in high school, and while babysitting for his brother’s children about 4 years later, they began planning their wedding right then and there in his brother’s living room on Oaklawn Street. Gary graduated early and on March 26, 1954, the sweethearts were married at Grace Reformed Church. The newlyweds took a quick honeymoon to his father’s cabin near Hardy Dam, and once they could get more time off work during the summer they went to Tahquamenon Falls.
The couple initially lived in a house next to his parents’ home on Ann Street. Gary found work at a factory on the South side of Grand Rapids. However, soon Carolyn was able to get him a job at Bissell, where she and many of her family members worked. The family grew to include their son David. When his brother was ready to sell his home on Oaklawn, Gary and Carolyn purchased it. This would remain their home for the rest of his life, spanning nearly 60 years. This was also where their family was made complete with the birth of their son, Dan. Gary continued working at Bissell for about 42 years, spending most of the time in the motor department. His coworkers were like family to him as he spent a lot of time with them both in and out of work. As someone who lived an active lifestyle, Gary often joined coworkers for bowling leagues, golf leagues, baseball, and softball leagues after work. He loved baseball, and as he got older Gary made the transition to fast-pitch softball. He was a fantastic pitcher.
There was nothing that was more important to Gary than his family. As a father he was strict at times, but he was also fun. The boys each shared some of his interests, but they each had interests that were all their own as well. For this reason, each of Gary’s sons were able to spend some time with him on an individual basis. Dave enjoyed both hunting and fishing with his dad, often with other family members as well. He was also the one who was quick to help on a car or a project around the house. Dan enjoyed golfing with his dad, and they often played at Grand Isle Golf. Later in life Gary even taught Carolyn to golf.
Throughout his life Gary maintained an active lifestyle. He enjoyed living a simple life where he took his role as provider to heart, but he also taught his family the importance of having some fun. Gary was mindful of living within their means, too. He could often be found puttering around the yard, and he always had a nice looking yard and beautiful rose bushes. During their later years he and his wife would go shopping, and he was perfectly happy to drive her wherever they needed to go. While she was inside, Gary just enjoyed waiting in the car reading the paper or listening to the radio. Sometimes they just took longer day trips in the car. Gary wasn’t one to talk a lot, and since Carolyn was a bit more conversational he could engage in conversation, too. Yet, he was also fine with silence. When he was 14, he started attending Berean Baptist Church with a friend. Once Gary married, it was their church home for several years as well. They returned to Berean in their retirement years, and this is where they have worshiped for the last 20 years. As his family can attest, Gary usually didn’t throw things away since he was convinced there would always be another use for whatever it was.
About 30 years ago, Gary developed cancer in his eye. Although he was able to recover, another cancer did reappear about five years ago. Gary dealt with some additional health challenges, but it was a stroke this past Saturday that proved to be the battle he wasn't able to overcome.
Strong, steady, and quiet, Gary Reames was a humble man who made the most of the moments he was given. He worked hard, but he played hard, too, and his most memorable experiences were the ones he shared with his family and friends. Gary will never be forgotten.
Gary L. Reames, loving husband, father, brother, uncle and friend, passed away and went home to be with the Lord on November 6, 2018, following a stroke after surviving a terminal cancer and heart failure. He will be forever loved and remembered by his wife of 64 ½ years plus 4 years of dating, Carolyn (Beukema); his sons, Dave and Dan; special friends Joan, Sheri and her family who were a special part of his life for 14 years; sisters-in-law Judy Reames and Winona Gagnon; brother-in-law Bud Beukema and his wife, Laurie, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brothers Bruce, Roger and Keith; his sisters-in-law Joyce Reames and Marian Vonk; brother-in-law Arlyn Vonk. Gary was a member of Berean Baptist Church and an employee of Bissell Inc. for 42 years. His memorial service will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 11 AM at Berean Baptist Church, 1574 Coit Ave NE. Friends are invited to visit with Gary’s family at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE on Tuesday from 4-6:30 PM. For those who wish, Gary’s family suggests memorial contributions to Berean Church for either their building project or mission fund. To ready more about Gary’s life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com
For the battle is not yours, but the Lord’s. 2 Corinthians 20:15