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Life Story / Obituary
With eternal optimism, an infectious smile, and a deep commitment to serving others, Julie Andrews lived a faith centered life, rich in family and friends. A devoted wife and mother, Julie was protective, generous, and hopeful. With a warrior’s spirit, Julie faced the challenges of chronic illness with grace and determination. In so doing, she inspired many and will long live in the hearts and memories of those who were blessed to share her life.
The 1950’s were known as the decade of the Baby Boomer. With the Great Depression and WWII firmly in the past, the decade centered around family. Jobs were abundant, and the simple things like buying a home and raising children became the focus for most. Whether catching a ball game or watching TV, family time was the goal and hope for the future norm. It was with this sense of hope that Herman and Yvonne (Nielsen) Sharphorn welcomed their daughter Julie into their hearts and home on October 20, 1959.
As a child, Julie grew up in the comforts of her family’s home in Grand Rapids. Julie’s father provided for his family by working at Oliver Machine, A&P Grocery, and as a church janitor, while her mother worked as a homemaker. The middle of the Sharphorn sisters, Julie enjoyed a close sense of companionship with Donna and Amy. The girls spent a good deal of time in each other’s good company and unhesitatingly stood up for one another. They especially enjoyed attending the Calvinettes, a girls Bible club, and the joys of singing together in church and at several local nursing homes.
The family enjoyed traveling out west and exploring a number of national parks, while staying in a truck camper along the way. Though camping wasn’t Julie’s favorite, seeing the natural wonders with her family long held a special place in her heart over the years. Julie also enjoyed the many times the family spent at their friends’ cottage on Silver Lake. Julie spent many years involved in 4H, sewing, and cross-stitching many creations, and participating in the clown parades.
Despite the challenges of being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age 11, Julie’s natural good heartedness always afforded her easy access to finding the gold in each and every day. She had a gift for not taking herself too seriously, embracing life’s gifts, and leading by example. Regardless of the trials and tribulations that having a chronic disease presented over the years, Julie’s resolve to live wholeheartedly was always greater.
The firm foundation of faith upon which Julie built her entire life was one of the many gifts her parents provided during her youth. Not only did the family attend Walker Christian Reformed Church, Julie had the privilege of attending West Side Christian School during her youth. She later transferred and graduated from Kenowa Hills High School and then earned her associate’s degree as a medical assistant from Davenport College.
In late 1979, Julie had the good fortune of meeting Kurt Andrews. The two met by chance while passing on the highway. Instant attraction resulted in signaling one another to pull over to the side of the road where the two visited for some time. Kurt quickly asked her out and the two were soon on their first date at Village Inn Pizza on Alpine Ave. Julie and Kurt dated for eleven months before celebrating their love in a marriage ceremony at Walker Christian Reformed Church on October 17, 1980.
The happy couple made their first home Fruitridge Mobile Home Park. Kurt worked at Marquette Fabricating and Julie as a medical assistant at Pediatrics and Neonatal Associates of Butterworth. In 1982, Julie and Kurt’s joy grew in the welcoming of their son Matt who was born nine weeks early. A year later, Missy was born 11 weeks early. Though both pregnancies proved difficult as a result of diabetes, the joy of becoming Matt and Missy’s mother was far more powerful.
Julie relished in life’s simple things. She loved to sing, especially old hymns and to the music of her youth. Queen, Abba, Fleetwood Mac and other 70’s rock bands always proved to put a smile on her face. She enjoyed cross stitch and often sold her beautiful work at craft shows. Julie was famous for creating custom cookbooks for others. She would painstakingly research, collect, and compile recipes. Once she had them all ready she would carefully format the collection, binding it with love and gifting it to the intended treasured friend. Julie also intentionally created custom greeting cards for friends and family, masterfully using a desktop publishing program and her heart. Caramel corn drizzled with chocolate, Mexican and Chinese cuisine, turkey dinners during the holidays, and breakfast at Depot Cafe in Marne, MI were some of Julie’s preferred delectables. To all who knew her it was quite evident that her dogs were a constant heart’s delight. Having the opportunities to travel with Kurt on several special trips fueled Julie’s heart in a very special way. Belated honeymoons including a trip to the Canadian Rockies, an Alaskan cruise, and a Caribbean cruise were treasures Julie held most dear.
As members of Remembrance Church, Julie and Kurt explored and celebrated their faith. A devoted Christian, Julie consciously strove to embody the values of her faith. She loved unconditionally, practiced forgiveness, encouraged peace, and remained humble. Her heart was a safe place for others to simply be. After becoming legally blind ten years ago, Julie became involved in an online ministry group that provides Bible studies and music to people with visual impairments and other disabilities. It became her mission to share the love of God and salvation in Christ. This was just one of the many ways Julie embraced her hardships and consciously transformed them into heartening gifts for others. Julie will long be remembered for her love for the Lord.
Clearly, Julie’s departure has left many with a sense of uncertainty and sadness. May it afford deep comfort to know that with each greeting card we write, favorite song delighted in, recipe shared, and hardship transformed, that we continue to share the beautiful legacy of this Godly woman in our own daily lives. And, in so doing, we will continue to keep the beautiful spark of her legacy alive and emanating out to others.
ANDREWS, Julie of Grand Rapids, MI Age 57, passed away to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on September 9, 2017. Julie was born in Grand Rapids to Herman and Yvonne (Nielsen) Sharphorn. Julie is survived by her husband, Kurt Andrews; children, Matt (Carrie) Andrews of Coopersville, Missy Andrews of Grand Rapids; mother, Yvonne Sharphorn of Grand Rapids; sisters, Donna (Dan) Hoekzema of Wyoming, Amy (Kevin) Keen of Grand Rapids; nieces, nephews, and many friends. She was preceded in death by her father.
A funeral service will be held Wednesday, September 13 at 11 AM at Remembrance Church, 4575 Remembrance Rd. NW. Friends may visit with her family Tuesday from 5-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW and also beginning at 10 AM at the church. Interment will be at Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Please visit Julie's personal web page to leave a memory, condolence or sign the guestbook at www.lifestorynet.com.