Gladys May Kapenga

Gladys May Kapenga Grand Rapids Gladys May Kapenga passed into Eternal Life on Sunday, April 28, 2013. Born on July 14, 1927 to Albert and Ova May Gray, she graduated from Cedar Springs High School, returning to Grand Rapids as a Michigan Bell Telephone operator for her lifelong career. She married John A. Kapenga, Sr. on August 31, 1946 at Burlingame Congregational Church, and they remained loyal members there. She is predeceased by her parents, siblings Kenneth and Lucille, and dear friend, Maeola Danielson. She is survived by children, John Jr. of Kalamazoo, Jeanne May of Okemos, and Dennis of Bexley, OH; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. Upon retirement, Gladys took a growing leadership role in the religious community in Michigan, at Burlingame Congregational Church, UCC Women of Michigan, and Church Women United at every level. She also served honorably in dozens of other community service organizations and received numerous awards including Grand Rapids Hometown Hero Award (1998), UCC Laywoman of the year (1995), and CWU Valiant Woman (1996), to begin the list. She traveled the world tirelessly in her commitments. Last May, her extensive collection of church related archives was gratefully welcomed to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. Always active with family picnics and daytrips to every Michigan zoo, park, and museum, she also enjoyed flower gardening, crossword puzzles, and holiday family gatherings. Those of you who knew her personally would recognize her for her overwhelming generosity and intense compassion for those in need. Services will be at Matthysse Kuiper DeGraff, Grandville Chapel on May 2, 2013 at 11 am. Visitation will begin one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Humane Society of Western Michigan. "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Published in Lansing State Journal on Apr. 30, 2013