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Harriet Jean (Heuker) DeVries 1/30/1941 – 7/14/2019

Early in the morning of 7/14/19, Harriet Jean (Heuker) DeVries, aged 78, passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo after a long battle with cancer.

She was born to Henry and Francis (Fredricks) Heuker on January 30, 1941 in Highland, Michigan. Born on the family farm, she was the 8th of 10 children. Her early years were spent helping her mom around the house, being teased by her older (and younger) brothers, going to the two-room schoolhouse down the road, and worshipping in the little country church around the corner. She learned the love of family, knowledge, music, and, most importantly, love for Jesus. It was fitting that she died on a Sunday, as that was her favorite day of the week.

After graduating from Northern Michigan Christian High School in 1959, she moved to Grand Rapids, where she studied nursing at Pine Rest, and became a Licensed Psychiatric Attendant Nurse (LPAN). This was a perfect choice for her, as she was always compassionate and reaching out to those in need of care, medical or otherwise. While at Pine Rest, her sister-in-law conspired with a neighbor and set her up on a blind date with a young man named Fred DeVries. She would marry Fred on March 29, and they moved to Kalamazoo, where they had three daughters. After working at Borgess Hospital for a year, she would spend the remainder of her nursing career at Upjohn Nursing Home. Caring for elderly people was a tough job, but also one of her greatest joys.

When she finally gave up nursing, she remained a caregiver in many capacities. She cared for children in her home, and later would serve as a foster grandparent for elementary students that were struggling to learn to read. She was also an “unofficial” grandmother to the babies in the nursery at church, and any other child she encountered that needed time, help, or affection.

Even though she struggled with rheumatoid arthritis, and later cancer, she never complained. She sewed clothes for her daughters, her grandchildren and made Fred’s favorite “Hawaiian” shirts. She baked pies for bake sales, and no one ever went away from her house hungry.

She was many things to many people, but she will be remembered most for her kindness, selflessness, encouragement, and her love for Jesus.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and brothers Harm, Harold, and Bill Heuker. She is survived by her husband Alfred (Fred) DeVries, siblings Elsie Meekhof, Annette (Bud) Rosema, Jim (Lois) Heuker, Ted (Marlene) Heuker, Millie (John) Rozeveld, John (Donna) Heuker, Kay Heuker, and two sisters-in-law Donna (Bill) Wands and Bonnie (Tom) Boomsma, her daughters Julie (Mark) Meinema, Jill Boerman, Joan (Dale) Doezema, and her grandchildren, Andy Boerman, Dave (Marissa) Meinema, Jonathon (Sylvia) Meinema, Jake Terpstra, Alyssa Boerman, Karl Meinema, Adam (Kelsey) Terpstra, Erin Meinema, Hope Doezema, and Katie Doezema, a great-grandson, Kai Walters, and many nephews and nieces.

In accordance with her wishes, cremation has taken place. There will be a visitation on Friday, August 2nd, 2019, from 6-8pm at Milwood Community Church (3306 Lovers Lane, Kalamazoo), and on Saturday August 3rd there will be a visitation from 1-2pm followed by a Celebration of Life at Grace Christian Reformed Church (1724 Whites Road, Kalamazoo).

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Harriet’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: www.MichiganCremation.com

Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation and Funeral Care, Grand Rapids. 

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1 Comment

  1. Sherri Fraaza on July 31, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    My deepest sympathy to the family. Aunt Harriet was truly an inspiration to many. You never heard her complain. Whenever you saw her she always seemed to have a smile on her face. She always had a kind word for those in need. She will surely be missed by many. Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers and she will forever be in my heart. Love, Sherri



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