Joanne Vereeke

August 11, 1942 - December 10, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI

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Kindred Hospice
625 Kenmoor SE, Suite 115
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
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Life Story / Obituary


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Joanne Vereeke was a wife, loving mother and grandmother. She made new friends easily and loved all people. She was a hard worker and a special person to so many. Joanne enjoyed many years fishing, cooking, and baking, yet her favorite time was spent with her children and grandchildren. She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered.

Joanne’s story began during a time that was marked by WWII. Families in the United States were experiencing a gas rationing of only three gallons a week and a new breed of war movies were debuting at theaters. Bing Crosby’s most popular song of all time, "White Christmas" first appeared in the movie "Holiday Inn” and the Alaska highway from Alaska through Canada had finished completion. The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series and the government establishes the Manhattan Project, an effort to coordinate the ongoing designing and building of the atomic bomb. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph and Anne (Frydrych) Idziak were pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl, Joanne in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 11, 1942. She was one of five children in the family and her birth brought much joy and promise in an era of great change.

Born to Polish parents, her family was very proud of their heritage. She learned to cook many traditional Polish dishes following her mother’s example. From her father, she learned how to fish and enjoyed tagging along with him to Garfield Park where he worked as a caretaker. They enjoyed many visits to the popcorn store near the park together building lasting memories. Growing up, her family were devout members of their church home of Basilica of St. Adalbert. Joanne attended local schools and enjoyed spending many of her childhood days outdoors. Joanne lived a life of hard work and began working at the tender age of fourteen. Her early paychecks from Montgomery Wards and later Old Kent Bank went to help the family during lean times. Maturing into an adult with a strong set of values, she proudly graduated from Union High School.

The story of meeting the love of her life, Dennis Vereeke began one evening while dining at the local McDonald’s. It was love at first sight and eagerly wanting to start their lives together they married in May of 1962. Dennis was a service member of the United States Navy relocating the newlyweds to the state of Virginia where they started their young family with the birth of their daughter, Denise. After being discharged from the service, they returned to the Grand Rapids area settling at Lincoln Lawns in Standale. Before their marriage later ended, they welcomed home two more children, their sons; Jeff and Rich. After some years, she found companionship with Keith Cook and together they had another child, their son John.

Joanne has always been known for not being one to sit still for very long. Her active personality aided her in her ability to keep a very kept home that was always neat and tidy with everything methodically in order. Her organizational skills came in very handy in her work with Nicholas Plastics and later at St. Anne's Home. She was also a great cook! In addition to her favored Polish meals, she could also make the most savory baked beans and delicious apple pies. The family looked forward to joining together and sharing meals at many special occasions over the years. Many Friday evenings she looked forward to taking the family out to eat at the German Village, her favorite restaurant. In addition to these special memories, she cherished her days fishing on the Muskegon River. No other hobby brought her the same type of peace and contentment. A fond lover of all animals, she treasured the many dogs she owned over years. Later in life, she enjoyed the special relationships she made with each of her grandchildren. For some of their early years, she watched them as well as attended their various activities. When Joanne was able to slow down enough, she spent time doing puzzles, watching her favorite soap opera, Days of Our Lives, and cheering on her favorite NFL team, the Detroit Lions.

Roughly eight years ago, Joanne moved into Marsh Ridge Apartments where she enjoyed the rich relationships with several friends from the west side. She loved to watch the deer in her backyard and never passed down a trip to the casino with friends. 2016 brought Joanne many health concerns and sadly she was diagnosed with cancer. After several months of battling her illness, Joanne moved to Medilodge of Wyoming where she received additional support and care. Described as a people person who could talk incessantly to just about anyone as well as show a fierce stubborn streak from time to time, Joanne’s perseverance and strength did not go unnoticed. Sadly, she passed away and leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for all who knew and loved her.

Joanne M. Vereeke, age 74 of Grand Rapids, passed away December 10, 2016. She is survived by her children, Denise & Bob Felty, Jeff Vereeke, Rich & Shelly Vereeke; grandchildren Andrew Felty and fiance Katie Tenhopen, Terry Felty, Alyssa Vereeke and fiance Justin Vander Vennen, Stephanie, Jeremy and Justin Yow; two sisters and two brothers as well as several nieces and nephews. Her request was to be interred next to her beloved son Johnny who preceded her in death in 1997. Her family suggests memorial contributions to Kindred Hospice who cared for Joanne during her last days. Thank you especially to Darcy. To share a memory or photo or to sign her guestbook, visit lifestorynet.com