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Helen May Postema, wife of Wild Bill the Boatman (John William Postema), passed away at home on Tuesday, April 12th, 2022; she was 91 years old. She is survived by her two children, Kim (& JaLene) Postema and Lisa Freeman.

Helen’s life began in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 25th, 1930.  She was the youngest of five daughters born to William & Mary Hilferink.  Helen’s father was an entrepreneur and prominent business owner in Grand Rapids; he was well known for being a strong businessman who was soft spoken with a very kind heart.  Helen’s mother raised the girls and took care of the family, being a stay-at-home mother. They lived in Grand Rapids, but eventually built a beautiful home on the Thornapple River, where get-togethers were frequent and many wonderful family memories were made.

Helen was exceptionally talented at accounting and operating a business. She maintained the books for her father’s home décor business, as well as her husband’s auto business. Helen also enjoyed many hobbies, including gardening, home decorating, macrame’, and arts & crafts. She loved to take photographs and then arrange them in books or frames so that she could enjoy looking at them. She took great pride in her home, and you’d rarely find an unmade bed or a messy house.  In the summer months, she spent most of her time outside, planting flowers and trees, and making her back yard a haven for relaxing. Helen also loved to read and would go through several books within a week’s time.

Helen and Bill eloped in November 1952. Helen’s parents were not convinced Bill was “right” for her (Helen’s mother thought Bill was too wild and would never amount to anything), so they secretly married in South Bend, Indiana. They spent the next 67 years raising 2 children and living quite an adventurous life. They had numerous friends and they loved to boat on Gun Lake, travel to Florida, ride motorcycles, relax on their deck overlooking the lake, and entertain – their house was home to many parties and events for many years.  Everyone loved to visit the Postema’s!

Helen had an incredibly strong mind, body, and spirit. She possessed more integrity and moral stability than most, and you could trust her implicitly. She cared about people and animals, had a kind heart, and donated to causes that were important to her.  Helen and Bill both dearly loved their grandchildren – Madison (Madi), Zach, and Kyle – they enjoyed babysitting, taking the kids boating, camping, and teaching them life skills — even fishing and beer drinking!

Bill wanted to have fun – and he found the perfect partner in crime with Helen. She gladly supported his antics and together they lived a fun-filled, full life.  They threw some of the best parties Gun Lake has ever seen, served a heck-of-a-lotta beer along the way, listened to every Elvis, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings song ever made (again and again), drove fast cars (and boats, snowmobiles, and motorcycles), hung out with family and friends at every opportunity, and raised hell together for nearly 70 years. They laughed often, enjoyed ice cream and home-made pie, BBQ on the grill, and never turned down a cold beer.

Helen will be lovingly remembered by her two children, Kim & Lisa; grandchildren Zach Postema, Kyle Postema, and Madison VanderPloeg; and several nieces and nephews, and sisters-in-law – all of whom she loved dearly.  She was preceded in death by her parents, William & Mary Hilferink, and her sisters Grace, Mary, Louis, and Barbara.

Here’s to you, Helen…may you & Bill find peace in Heaven…and party on!

A Celebration of Life will be held at Helen’s house, 12646 Park Drive, Wayland, MI 49348, on Saturday, August 13, 2022 from 1:00 PM until 6:00 PM.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Helen’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, (616) 452-3006.


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