A beloved educator and community member, L'Bertha "Betty" Buurma Rycenga, age 86, passed away on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at her Spring Lake home. Betty was born May 26, 1927, to Rein and Gene (Buurma) Visscher in Holland. On August 22, 1947, Betty married Ted Rycenga, who preceded her in death on April 29, 2009.
Surviving Betty are her loving daughter, Laura (Rich) Draeger of Spring Lake; and son, Ted J. (Carole) Rycenga of Cadillac.
Cherishing wonderful memories of Betty are her six grandchildren, Melissa (Jim) Webb, Gretchen (Matthew) Guernsey, Joshua R. Eling, Meghan (Ryan) Howell, Lindsey (Peter) Donovan, and Matthew (Anne) Rycenga; and nine great-grandchildren, Jackson and Savanna Webb, Madeleine and Grayson Guernsey, Charles and William Howell, Brohm and Eloise Donovan, and Orion Rycenga. Also surviving Betty are her beloved niece, Lisa Vanderhill (Ringelberg); and John Logan, her loving companion these past four years.
A graduate from Hope College and Michigan State University
, Betty began a 30+ year career as an educator with the Spring Lake Schools in 1951. After many years as a highly regarded classroom teacher at the Holmes Elementary School, Betty went on to serve the students of Spring Lake Schools as an elementary school counselor. Betty and her husband, Ted, who served as Superintendent of the Spring Lake Schools from 1972 to 1984, were strong advocates for the establishment and growth of the Laker Foundation, now known as the Spring Lake Schools Foundation. Following her retirement from Spring Lake Schools, Betty, along with her husband, Ted, and daughter, Laurie, owned and managed the Dansk Kro restaurant on the Grand Haven waterfront for many years.
In addition to being a loving grandmother and great-grandmother, Betty had a multitude of hobbies and interests that occupied her time fully. She was a passionate reader and writer, and a loyal viewer of the game show Jeopardy. Her wonderful sense of humor and a beautiful smile will long be remembered. An active member of the Spring Lake Presbyterian Church, Betty was comforted throughout her life by her Christian faith and the knowledge that she walked with the Lord.
A gathering of family members and friends will be held this summer to celebrate Betty's life and legacy. Please consider the Spring Lake Schools Foundation for any memorial contribution you may wish to make in Betty's name. Please sign the family's online guest book at www.vbkfuneralhome.com.
The family is being served by VanZantwick Bartels Kammeraad Funeral Home of Spring Lake.