Wilbur Hofstra
1937 - 2020
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Hofstra, Wilbur Wilbur Hofstra, 83, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was received home by Jesus on November 18, 2020. Born to Andrew and Trienje (Wybenga) Hofstra on January 25th, 1937, in Beetgum, Netherlands; he was the third of five children including: Maynard, Tina, Harry and Lucy. His family migrated to the United States aboard the Queen Elizabeth in 1950. He graduated 9th grade at Baxter School after which his family needed him to work. He was always the hardest worker. His working life included being a dishwasher for Bierling's Bakery, a night baker, a day baker, and eventually co-owner with Hank Mulder. Selling his half, he became Floor Manager for Cream Curls Bakery in Hudsonville from which he retired in 2002. At the age of 21, Wilbur married his only love, Johanna Melles on Dec 5th, 1958 in Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, where they raised their five children in the faith. They also sacrificed to put their children through Christian schools. Upon retiring, he and Johanna moved from Jenison to Bellaire, Michigan, where he fulfilled his dream of owning horses with land to ride on. The horses he owned though the years ( Bless, Alicia, Coco, Princess and King) were all a part of the family. Along with horseback riding, he taught his children, their friends, relatives, and their children, to water-ski, play chess, tennis, soccer, biking, cross-country skiing and just about anything that was active. He would often say, "Turn that TV off and get outdoors! It's a sin to be inside on a nice day like this!" And if you didn't fall skiing he'd say, "Then you weren't trying hard enough." Alzheimer's resulted in his having to leave Bellaire and his life with horses behind, returning to Grand Rapids, and eventually residing at The Woods at Samaritas. Some may claim that COVID-19 took him, but his family would argue that it was the isolation from visit restrictions and from the dementia. Still our faith calls us to remember that not a hair can fall from our heads without the will of our Father in Heaven (Mt 10; Lk 21), and so ultimately it was God who made good on His promise to take Wilbur home to the place He's been preparing for him (John 14). Wilbur is preceded in death by his parents; his brother and sister-in-law, Maynard and Anne; his sister, Tina Diedering, and sister-in-law, Shirley Hofstra. He is survived by his wife, Johannah; brother-in-law Henry Diedering, brother Harry, sister and brother-in-law, Lucy and Chris Vanlonkuzyn. Children: Edward & Ella, Laurie & Lee, Henry & Mary, Mark & Kimberly, Amy & Bob; 21 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren: And too many extended family to list. Per his wishes, cremation has taken place and a memorial service is being planned for the spring in the pasture in Bellaire where he kept his horses. Feel free to remember him by singing his favorite hymn in Dutch, "Ere Zij God" [Glory to God (Luke 2:14)]. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Wilbur's online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: www.MichiganCremation.com


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Published in Grand Rapids Press from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22, 2020.
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5 entries
November 23, 2020
I’m so sorry to hear about Uncle Wilbur. My thoughts and prayer’s are with the families. May God give you comfort and peace. My favorite memory is when Uncle Wilbur was trying to teach me how to water ski at Gunlake. I remember his gold color boat. Uncle Wilbur said you can do it Lisa. The first time I held on for the longest time underwater until I couldn’t hang on. We all laughed then uncle Wilbur said bent your knees and push. That was the trick. I did it and he made me feel so proud of myself. Miss you Uncle Wilbur.
Lisa A Melles Anderson
Family
November 22, 2020
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November 21, 2020
He truly was wonderful, wonderful man. I will miss a lot.
Doug Miller
Friend
November 21, 2020
Uncle Wilbur was a wonderful man. He had a great smile and laugh, and he was always very nice to me. I remember water-skiing behind his boat for the first time when I was 15 years old. It was always so much fun going boating with him and the family. He will be dearly missed. May God comfort you and give you peace.
Michelle VanderHoff
Family
November 20, 2020
He will be missed. He was one of my Uncles that I saw the most. ( I worked with him at the bakery) when he moved to Bellaire he always invited me to come up. He always had a smile on his face. Miss you Uncle Wilbur.
Jodie De Jong
Family
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