Life Story / Obituary
With a journey that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Marian VerHage lived a life of purpose while holding her loved ones near. She was kind, gracious, and generous to all who were near. A loving and devoted wife and mother, Marian was filled with great joy to witness her family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who were her greatest source of pride and joy. A woman of faith, her life exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Deeply loved, Marian will be forever missed.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Radios and washing machines were signs of the time while motion pictures, in both color and sound, colored the cultural fabric of our nation. It was just as this decade was dawning that Fred and Mary (DeMeester) Verhey were pleased to announce the birth of a baby girl named Marian Ruth on December 20, 1920, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Raised on the West Side as the second to the youngest of twelve, she joined her siblings Arie, Semore, Dorothy, Cornelius, Cora, James, Lavina, Katherine, Lucille, Fred, and Robert. Her father had emigrated from the Netherlands and worked at Verhey Lumber and then as the sexton at Washington Park Cemetery. Marian’s mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. The family lived on Muskegon Avenue and later moved to Alpine Avenue when Marian was five.
In many ways, Marian was a young girl of her generation. She loved playing with paper dolls and jacks. As a family, they faithfully attended 1st Netherlands Reformed Church and Marian attended West Side Christian School. She was an amazing seamstress, making bridesmaid dresses along with clothing for her family. The family always gathered together for the Fourth of July, which were some of their most fun family memories. Marian went on to graduate from Union High School in 1938.
New and exciting changes were in store for Marian when she became better acquainted with a young man from the neighborhood named Henry Medema. They began dating and it didn’t take the couple long to fall in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Marian and Henry were married on November 14, 1941 at Alpine Avenue Christian Reformed Church. The newlyweds took a honeymoon to Chicago and then returned to Grand Rapids to settle into their new roles as husband and wife. They first lived in a home on Fremont Street NW, then 11th Street NW, and then settled on Rudgate in Alpine Estates. Together Marian and Henry welcomed two children. Kenneth Peter was born on December 7, 1943, and Mary Susan on March 6, 1947. Marian was an active part of her children’s lives and she was the disciplinarian who was always pushing her children toward independence. Marian was a fantastic cook who was especially known for her casseroles. As a family, they enjoyed memorable vacations to Whitefish Lake.
Throughout her life, Marian was a bustle of activity. She continued to faithfully attend church where she sang in the choir. Marian was also a member of the Grand Rapids Metropolitan Choir and she loved all the traditional hymns. She enjoyed reading the Bible and Christian novels. For many years, she worked as a bookkeeper for her brother at Verhey Carpets. When eating out, Marian loved eating at Arnie’s and she enjoyed fresh fruit. After Henry retired, they did some travelling, mostly to Traverse City.
After Henry’s death on December 29, 1985, Marian did her best to move on and she moved to Birchwood Condominiums. During these years, Marian spent a lot of time with special friends, Steve and Brenda Zuiderveen, helping them with their young family after their twins were born. In later years, Brenda had the honor of helping Marian with things she couldn't do for herself anymore. Five years later, Marian became reacquainted with Louis VerHage. They started dating and were married on December 27, 1991, at Westend Christian Reformed Church and went on a honeymoon to Chicago. Lou's son, Tom, his children and grandchildren became a part of Marian’s life. Soon after the wedding, the couple moved to Beckwith Condominiums. Although her children lived in different states, Marian loved spending time with her grandchildren and later her great-grandchildren as often as she could.
On June 13, 2005, Marian was deeply saddened by Lou’s death. She remained at the condo for awhile but then moved to Edison Manor where she knew a lot people and also made new friends. She eventually moved to Edison Assisted Living and then to the Christian Rest Home about two years ago.
All who knew Marian Verhage would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She stood tall and was practical, sensible, and determined in everything she did. With a deep love for her family, Marian’s greatest joy was found in being surrounded by the ones she loved. Gracious and positive even when faced with challenges, she was a true inspiration. She leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Marian R. Medema-VerHage (Verhey) aged 97, of Grand Rapids, met her Lord and Savior face to face on Saturday, July 7, 2018. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Henry Medema, and her second husband, Louis VerHage.She is survived by her children: Mary and William Wilmeth, Kenneth and Jane Medema and their children: Aaron and Sonya Medema (Charlotte and Henry), Rachel and Dennis Gilchrist (Logan and Fiona). She is also survived by her stepson and daughter-in-law Tom and Carla VerHage and their children: Todd and Kathy VerHage (Courtney, Christopher and Cameron), Tami and Jay Crank (Carlie and Lindsey), Marc and Amy VerHage (Emily and Zachary), Kris and Jeff VanVuuren (Jacob and Audrey). She will also be missed by special friends Steve and Brenda Zuiderveen and their family, many nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by eleven siblings. Marian was a member of Free Reformed Church. She was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother and a friend to all who knew her. Marian was a very gracious person and was content in whatever situation she was in. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A celebration of life service will be held on Friday, July 20, at 7:00 p.m. at Heritage Lifestory Funeral, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. A private burial will be held Friday afternoon in Washington Park Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet with her family at the funeral home on Thursday, July 19, from 6:30 - 8:30 and for an hour before the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Christian Rest Home. To read more about Marian's life, to sign her guest book, and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page a www.lifestorynet.com