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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Margery Koster would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was kind, sweet, and gentle, yet her strength was truly inspiring. Margery was deeply devoted to her family, and she was so proud of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. With faith as a cornerstone in her life, Marge exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Although she will be deeply missed, she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Jazz music was hot, the lights of Broadway never shined brighter, and prosperity was largely felt nationwide. It was during this exciting time that Issac and Alice (Antonides) Balk were pleased to announce the birth of their twins, Margery Helen and Philip on May 27, 1924, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was one of four children in the Balk clan as she was raised in the family home on Walnut Street alongside her brothers, Louis and Donald in addition to her twin brother. Her father worked as a printer while her mother was a busy homemaker. Margery was close to her siblings, and she remained that way for the rest of her life. She attended Creston Christian until she successfully begged her parents to allow her to attend the school her brothers attended, Davis Tech. Marge loved ice skating and spent every Saturday skating during the winter. She learned how to sew while growing up and was such a talented seamstress as she won the state competition by sewing herself a winter wool coat while still in high school.
Not to be forgotten during Margery’s years in high school was her introduction to the man of her dreams. His name was William Koster, and sparks flew right from the start. He asked her for a date, and she said she had to go home and ask her parents. Marge’s parents granted permission, and when he walked up to the house Margery’s mother said, “Oh Peggy (her name with family), he is so handsome!” He moved to Detroit to work for GM, but he ended up missing his sweetheart so much that he came back and said, “I have to marry you so you can come to Detroit with me. I can’t live without you any longer.” Marge was more than happy to marry him, and about 18 months after they met they were married in the parsonage of East Leonard Christian Reformed Church on June 29, 1942. The newlyweds settled in Detroit, but their lives were soon changed when William was drafted during the days of WWII. Margery supported the war effort by putting her skills as a seamstress to good use. While other women were riveting to do their part for the war effort, she was busy sewing undergarments for the soldiers.
There was never anything that Margery treasured more than being a wife and mother. While her husband worked as a carpenter she was able to focus her time and attention on raising their three children including Sherry, David, and Kathy. Marge has been described as an amazing mother who would do anything for each and every one of her family members. She taught her children to be strong and independent people who were to be kind and generous toward those in need. Marge always put her family first, and her children also learned to do the same while also loving unconditionally. She instilled within her children a strong work ethic and encouraged them that they could accomplish whatever they put their mind to while working hard to accomplish their goals. Marge loved baking, and she often baked cookies, a quick bread, and a cake every Saturday. Her kids always looked forward to having these homemade treats in their lunches. It has been said that Marge made the best banana bread, cranberry orange bread, oatmeal cookies, and peanut butter cookies.
Family time was a such a special time for the Kosters. Holidays were spent gathered with extended family, and oftentimes Margery’s children just enjoyed playing with their cousins while growing up. Having lived through the challenging days of the Great Depression while growing up, Marge could never have dreamed of owning something like a cottage, but she was ever so thankful that her husband was able to singlehandedly build a family cottage at School Section Lake. This became the backdrop for so many precious memories as a family through the years. Later in life Marge was so thankful to become a grandmother and great-grandmother.
In addition to caring for her family, Marge kept busy with so many other things, too. She carried her love of needle work into a passion for counted cross stitch. Marge was a master of needle work and gave many of her projects away as gifts from her heart. Every day her husband came home and asked her to show him what she had accomplished on her current project as he was so proud of her talent. While her children were growing up Marge made most of their clothing, and she even made her husband suits. While her family watched television in the evenings, she was usually busy at her sewing machine. Margery and her husband were longstanding members of the Reformed Church of America, and most recently, Standale Reformed Church. When her children were older she worked in retail for Sears where she retired as their bridal consultant. An avid reader, Marge enjoyed reading, especially when it came to WWII era historical fiction. Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and Frank Sinatra were her favorite singers. For as long as their health allowed, Marge and her husband spent every January and February in Panama City, Florida, living in an amazing community of retirees.
All who knew Margery Koster would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was strong, yet also gentle and kindhearted with a heart that beat to serve others. Marge was never one to worry about material things, rather, her joy was found in her family. She will be forever missed by all who were blessed to know and love her.
KOSTER, Margery, Grand Rapids, MI. Marge passed away on December 13, 2016 at Covenant Village of the Great Lakes. She was born on May 27, 1924 in Grand Rapids to the late Isaac and Alice (Antonides) Balk. Marge is also preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, William Koster and her brothers, Louis and Philip Balk. Marge exemplified strength but never failed to be gentle and kind. She was an award winning seamstress and member of Standale Reformed Church. She will be missed by her children, Sheryl (James) Black of Cedar Springs, David (Sandra) Koster of Onalaska, WI and Kathy (Scot) Richards of Holt; grandchildren, Will Paiz and special friend Deb Witherspoon, Phillip (Julie) Paiz, Kelly (Nick) Hansen, Kristen Koster, Kevin (Jessica) Koster, Christopher Richards, Megan Jade Richards; great grandchildren, Aaron, Asa, Alexander and Mikaela; and great great grandchildren, Caleb and Ava. Marge is also survived by her brother, Donald Balk of Grand Rapids, and many nieces, nephews and friends. A service to celebrate Marge’s life will be held on Monday at 1 PM at Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel–2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral chapel on Monday beginning at Noon. Burial will be in Chapel Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Standale Reformed Church, Mel Trotter Ministries or Kindred Hospice. Please visit Marge's personal web page to learn more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence for her family at www.lifestorynet.com.