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Life Story / Obituary
Not many people live a lifetime putting others first, but that’s exactly how Ruth Vos spent her life. Whether it be hosting large family meals and gatherings, or spending quiet afternoons with her husband watching crime shows or Fox news, Ruth touched the lives of everyone she encountered. Generous, selfless and loving, she created a life that others wanted to emulate. It is because of the many memories she created with her family, friends, and neighbors that she will never be forgotten and forever missed.
Ruth Mae was born to Abraham Jr. and Katheryn (Stehauwer) DeBruyn on November 9, 1932, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they couldn’t have been prouder. Her earliest memories were spent with her mother, brother Bob, and sister Faith, in their family home at 1549 North Ave NE, and her fathers local candy store. Ruth lived a life grounded by her relationship with the church and her Christian upbringing. It was this faith instilled in her by both of her parents that helped her survive her greatest loss, the loss of her mother when she was only eight years old. This loss left Ruth, brother Bob, sister Faith, and their father leaning on each other. This closeness formed a tight bond with her sister that remained throughout the rest of their lives.
From a young age, Ruth loved reading. She especially enjoyed reading and memorizing bible verses and poems. She also loved her neighborhood where she would go swimming in the summers at Briggs Park, even winning first place in the city for swimming the backstroke.She would also go skating around the neighborhood. She attended East Leonard Elementary, and then went on to graduate from Creston High School.
After graduating high school Ruth landed a job at Bell Telephone Company, where she had some of the best times of her life. She made many new friends, with whom she would get together for outings and activities outside of the office. Aside from work, Ruth remained a member of the Berean Baptist Church that she belonged to as a child. It was through the church that she met and fell in love with Vernon Vos. They started dating when Ruth was just 19, and by the age of 20 on March 20, 1952 they were married at that same church. The newlyweds honeymooned in Niagara Falls and then settled into life on Prospect NE in an apartment above her In-Laws.
Her married life included much travel with her brother in law and sister in law earned through their joint business. She experienced exciting places like Switzerland, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas in addition to many places within the United States. She developed a penchant for travel that would continue throughout her life.
Ruth’s true calling was realized when she became a mother. Shaped by the death of her own mother, Ruth set out to create a home and the best upbringing she could envision for her five children. Ruth and Vernon were elated at the arrival of Cynthia Ruth in 1957, followed by Judith Kaye in 1959, quickly after was Mary Beth in 1960, and Thomas Mark in 1961. Ruth’s family was finally complete in 1966 with the birth of John Steven. With five young children Ruth worked tirelessly and selflessly to keep a wonderful home for both her children and her loving husband. She and her husband raised their children in the same church they were married in, Berean Baptist Church, eventually moving to Trinity Baptist Church, then Calvary Church.
Ruth was loving, attentive, and joyous when it came to being a mother. It was her greatest passion. Always with a smile on her face she encouraged each of her children to reach their full potential. She attended hundreds of piano lessons, swimming lessons, school activities, and sporting events. She loved to dress her children and later her grandchildren in beautiful clothes.Always making her children and their friends feel welcome and supported, she was there to celebrate and open her home and her heart to whomever she encountered. There were countless sleep overs, birthday parties, and get-togethers in their home on 1813 Orchard Lane, not far from where she grew up.
Wanting to give her family all that she could, they took many family vacations visiting grandparents in Florida, going to Chicago to visit museums, Niagara Falls, and Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. However, their greatest family time was spent at their cottage on Maranatha Bible Conference in Muskegon, MI. They would spend summers at this cottage for over 42 years, starting with their family of five, then slowly adding sons and daughters in laws, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren.
Being a grandparent became another great source of joy for Ruth. She loved watching her grandchildren Brooke, Kyle, Andrew, Eric, Sara, Haley, and Hannah, grow and achieve their dreams. As a grandmother, there was nothing Ruth wouldn’t do to make sure that her grandchildren were happy and loved.
From her early days being a support to her sister, brother, and father after the loss of her mother, to the love she gave her husband and children, grandchildren and great grandchildren her genuine spirit was apparent. Ruth lived her life in a way that consistently enriched all of those who came in contact with her. Always wanting to give more, be greater, and love harder she was never without a smile.No matter her hardest days, she approached everything with selfless grace. There are no amount of words that can describe how deeply she will be missed.
VOS, Ruth M.
Grand Rapids, MI
Age 85, of Grand Rapids, went to be with her Lord on February 24, 2018. She was born November 9, 1932, the daughter of Abe and Kathryn DeBruyn. She is survived by her husband of nearly 65 years, Vernon Vos. She will be lovingly remembered by her children, Cynthia (Dave) Kielbasa, The Honorable Judy (Don) Mulder, Mary Guidry, Tom (Ann) Vos, John Vos; and grandchildren, Brooke Koerber, Kyle Linkfield, Andrew and Eric Mulder, Sara Guidry, and Haley and Hannah Vos and two great grandchildren, Kaiden and Carson. Ruth fondly remembered her years working as a manager for Bell Telephone Company in her 20‘s. Throughout her life, she was always concerned about others and truly had the gift of giving. She supported many christian charities helping the poor and needy. Ruth was a giving and loving mother and grandmother who devoted her life to her family. At her request, cremation has taken place. A memorial services will be held Thursday March 1 at 7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave. NE. Friends may visit with her family from 6-7 PM. Memorials may be sent to Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Please visit Ruth's personal web page to read more of her life story, leave a condolence or memory at www.lifestorynet.com.