Life Story / Obituary
Taken from her loved ones too soon, Virginia Ambler was a blessing to everyone she met. She was a crazy hard worker who enjoyed using her time and talents to bless those within her community throughout her entire life. Deeply devoted to her family, Virginia loved hosting in her home, and she always made sure that everything was just perfect for the ones she loved. She enjoyed traveling and saw so many beautiful places, but what made these experiences so extraordinary was that they were shared with her family. Life will never be the same without Virginia here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.
The decade of the 1950s was an exciting time in America. Television brought us shows like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best, and Elvis Presley introduced the world to rock ’n roll. By the time the decade was drawing to a close, we welcomed Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great excitement in the lives of William George and Alma Lucille (White) Sims as they were preparing for the birth of their first child as January of 1958 began. Their wait was over on January 25th when the baby girl they named Virginia Kay was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She later became the oldest of four in her family as she was raised in the family home alongside her siblings, Janice, Charles, and Christina.
In many ways Virginia was a young girl of her generation. Their family enjoyed camping at Olin Lake near Cedar Springs or on Long Lake at times. Virginia attended elementary schools in Sand Lake, Grand Rapids, and then Grandville. She enjoyed school, especially the social side of things. Virginia attended Grandville High School through the 11th grade, and she also worked as a cook at Betty’s Barbeque in Grand Rapids for many years.
Although she had a bit of wild streak, she slowed down as she needed to be more responsible after welcoming her only child, Billy Sims, into the world on August 13, 1981. Virginia and Billy were like two peas in a pod as they were both opinionated and fiery. They were very close throughout her life, and they called one another multiple times a day. In many ways they were best friends. It wasn’t only her son who held a special place in her heart as Virginia was richly blessed to discover the love of her life. His name was James Ambler, and they met on a blind date that was set up be Virginia’s aunt who worked at Virginia’s family’s restaurant, Ma’s Kitchen, on Leonard and Fuller in Grand Rapids. He brought her a dozen yellow roses, and as the story goes it was love at first sight. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Virginia and James were married in 1989. The family lived in Grand Rapids, Sand Lake, and Cedar Springs. Virginia liked hosting family gatherings and cooking for them, and among her most loved dishes were her steaks, mac and cheese, and fried chicken. During recent years she had been having the family over on Sundays, and they had two grills in order to accommodate the large group.
Throughout her life Virginia was a bustle of activity. She was known for her strong work ethic, and she took great pride in her work. Virginia spent many years working at Ma’s Kitchen in a variety of positions, and she later managed group homes. This is the primary reason that their family moved so often. Virginia truly loved her job with Hope Network. She may have had just a slight shopping addiction since when her sister went to clean out the trunk from the car that Virginia sold her she found items with tags still on them in there! There was also the time that her sister-in-law needed a coat so Virginia went to her closet that had several coats in it - with the tags still on! Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club were among her favorite places to shop, and when eating out she loved Trini’s in Sparta, TGIF, or Argon. Virginia’s favorite meals were anything with shrimp, a bacon cheeseburger, or a burrito. Together she and James traveled quite extensively. About 10 years ago they took a trip with her brother Charles and his wife, and the couples traveled 6,000 miles around the country. Virginia and her husband also enjoyed visiting Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. For the most part she preferred to be indoors with air conditioning, which made it surprising that she enjoyed spending summers on a lake with no air conditioning. Virginia liked country and western music from artists like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Reba McIntyre, and when it came to her favorite television shows she was a big fan of Bravo and shows like Real Housewives. During recent years Virginia slowed down more as she was limited by various health conditions like Fibromyalgia, Bursitis, and a heart valve issue.
Even though she could be a bit headstrong, all who knew Virginia Ambler was touched in such a special way. She had a strong personality, yet she was also one of the most generous people around. Virginia was passionate about the things she believed in, and her devotion to her family was unmatched. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.
Virginia Kay, aged 58, of Pierson passed away unexpectedly on September 23, 2016. She was preceded in death by her father, William Sims; sister, Janice Ellsworth; brother-in-law, Charles Ambler; and sisters-in-law, Caroline Weeks and Vonda Ambler. Virginia is survived by her loving husband of 29 years, James; son, Billy (Gwen) Sims; grandchildren, Brendan, Andrea, Joseph, Madelyn, Olivia, David, and Ryan; and mother, Alma Sims. Also surviving are her siblings, Charles (Rebecca) Sims and Christina (Juan) Trotter; sister-in-law, Robin (Tom) Bates; and brothers-in-law, Al (Diane) Ambler and John (Peggy) Ambler. The Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Tuesday September 27, 2016 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. The family will receive visitors for one hour prior to the service. Interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read Virginia’s story, archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.