Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.

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: LaRaine (Caleb)Thurston, Jayne (Shannon) Purkey, Heather (Connor) Brink, Luke Hofstra, Rene Macapagal, Caesar Macapagal, Rina Macapagal, Jacob Macapagal; Alison (Brian) Murphy, Hayley (Ryan) Van Heck, Maddie Scott; Christopher (Heidi) Hofstra, Joshua Hofstra, Katie Hofstra, Alisha (Barry) DeYoung, Pieter Hofstra, Hannah (Austin) Ogrin, Pipo Hofstra, Isabella Hofstra; Rachel (Egon) Stowers, Ryan Felton and 15 great-grandchildren: Payton Velthouse, Phoenix Velthouse, Noah Thurston; Jackson Purkey, Alle Purkey; Joey Brink, Fisher Brink; Havyn  Rene Sachiko Clymer Hofstra;; Cassidy Murphy, Duncan Murphy;; Ava Hofstra, Ellie Hofstra & Judah Hofstra;; Melody DeYoung, Hezechiah DeYoung. 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:

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


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.


  1. Andrea Blahuta Vaughn on November 19, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Very sorry for your earthly loss Mark and Family- I enjoyed very much reading about your Father and Grandfather. And how your faith will see you through…AMen

  2. Anna and Jack DeGraaf on November 19, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Sorry for about the loss of your father Mark. You and the family are in our prayers.

  3. Jane (Van Biessum) Foster on November 19, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    My deepest sympathies to the family. I will always have such fond memories of Uncle Wilbur. His smile and twinkle in his eyes will be forever remembered. But, what comes to mind the most is Uncle Wilbur’s ability to make one feel so special and welcomed.

  4. Linda DeLoof on November 19, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    Mark, so sorry to hear of the passing of your father. What a blessing to know has gone home.

  5. Loretta Fenske on November 19, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Dearest Mark, Kimberly, Joanne, and children,
    You have been extremely blessed to have such a vibrant, God fearing, Jesus loving father, husband, and grandfather. I always felt loved, welcomed, and appreciated when I married into your family and he was a part of that. The twinkle in his eyes and friendly greetings I will always remember.
    With much love,

  6. Geanie Franklin on November 19, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Pastor Mark sorry for your loss.Praying for you and your family.❤️ And miss all of you.Geanie Franklin

  7. Diane Droope on November 19, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Dear Aunt Joann and family,

    I share sadness in the loss of Uncle Wilbur and will always remember him as a fun loving, good man, with a great smile. Sending loving thoughts and prayers for your family today and the days to come. And, celebrating him in his eternal home with Jesus.

  8. Casey Ter Haar on November 20, 2020 at 5:57 am

    I remember Wilbur well. My deepest regards to family members.

  9. Kathleen Martinchek on November 20, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    So very sorry to see this. Sending prayers along with my sincerest condolences!💕

  10. Dawn Verbrugge on November 21, 2020 at 10:05 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Mark, Amy and family. I have fond memories of always being welcomed in your home. Your dad was a big part of that. May God give you comfort, peace and boatloads of good memories.

  11. Brenda Mulder Dodde on November 21, 2020 at 10:18 am

    I remember Wilbur and Johannah when they went to Baldwin street c.r.c in Jenison!

  12. Beth Gardner on November 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Wilbur was my boss at Creme Curls bakery. He was such a nice guy, always smiling, chattinf with us on the rolling line. He was sorely missed when he retired. He always cared about his workers.
    My deepest sympathies to his family.

  13. Doug Miller on November 21, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    I’m not sure how to begin this comment, i have so many memories flooding back, and i’m also in shock. Wilbur was an awesome “father” figure to me. He and Joan opening their home to me, a stranger who needed a second chance at life. They always rooted for me, quietly. Wilbur and i talked a lot, especially in the garage when he would smoke his Salem, and me my Marlboro. He taught me, advised me on so many things, which is what i needed at the time, and i still carry some of it with me today. I still have the picture of the first car i bought shortly after getting a job at Family Fare. They were proud, and so was I, as it was a huge accomplishment at the time. I will be forever grateful to the Hofstra Family for welcoming me, and accepting me and my “personal” baggage. One thing i was taught, and still carry it with me today, and that is family, and the need to keep the bond strong, and loving no matter what. I am truly sorry for your loss, may you find peace, comfort, in the Lord always, and always remember Wilbur is not gone from your hearts, and your thoughts. We will see him again someday. Can’t wait.

  14. Robert and Alice VanderTuin on November 22, 2020 at 8:58 am

    We wish to express our sincere sympathy to you in Wilbers passing. Bob remembers the Bible study he and Wilber and Harry attended at BCRC. We remember our visit with you and Wilber in Bellaire. we appreciated you friendship . He is now enjoying Glory. Bob and Alice VanderTuin.

  15. Emily Brink on November 22, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    To Joan and the family, my sincere sympathy, and also my gratitude for the beautiful summary of Wilbur’s life in the obituary. I was grateful to have known Wilbur since days at Baxter School, and as an elder to Joan and Wilber from Eastern Ave Church. May the God of all comfort bless you all.

  16. Belle M Schmidt on November 23, 2020 at 11:24 am

    So sorry to learn that Wilbur has passed. I have many great and kind memories of Wilbur in relationship to learning to waterski 43 years ago at Spider Lake ? and listening to different Hofstra Family stories throughout the years. My mother, Evelyn Schmidt, was Shirlee Hofstra’s sister.

  17. Gerrit J Zylstra on November 29, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Joanne so sorry to read of Wilbur’s passing. You have my deepest sympathy. I have many pleasant memories of the Saturday morning breakfasts at Mr. Burger and the golfing afterwards.

  18. Luanne Hindenach on December 4, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Wilbur was my boss at Creme Curl Bakery. He worked right beside us and always asked about our families. He was always smiling and we knew he cared about us. I was happy he could move near his daughter in Bellaire but we really missed him. My deepest sympathies to his family.

Leave a Comment