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Carolyn Greydanus

2/27/2017


Carolyn Joan Greydanus, age 72, of Grand Rapids, Michigan and a former longtime resident of Wayne, New Jersey, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 27, 2017.

Carolyn was born in Paterson, New Jersey. She became the oldest living child of Neil and Bernice (nee Spyksma) Greydanus when her older brother Stewart passed away at the tender age of five. Along with her four younger siblings, Carolyn spent her early years living in Prospect Park, Hawthorne and North Haledon. Her maternal grandparents were Dutch Friesian immigrants who came to America in 1912 on a ship called the Nieu Amsterdam. It was interesting to note that they originally booked passage on the infamous Titanic but, as God’s will would have it, they asked to be taken over on a Dutch ship instead.

Carolyn was a graduate of Eastern Christian High School of North Haledon, New Jersey with the Class of 1962. After high school she pursued her aspirations of becoming a registered nurse graduating from the Columbia School of Nursing in New York City with the Class of 1967. Her passion was caring for children and, touched by the loss of her older brother Stewart to leukemia when he was just five, she first worked in oncology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, caring for children suffering from the same affliction that took her brother’s life. The bulk of her nursing career was working with little ones, for many years on the pediatric floor at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, a nursing instructor at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck and later a labor and delivery nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson. Much of her spare time was also spent both advocating for the unborn as a volunteer with the Right to Life Organization and helping to place children for adoption through Bethany Christian Services.

As if working in the hospital and volunteering in her spare time wasn’t enough activity for one person, Carolyn also kept busy at home raising her two daughters and two sons. As a former member of Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Paterson and Cedar Hill Christian Reformed Church in Wyckoff, NJ, she volunteered as a leader for her daughters in the church’s Girl Scout troop called Calvinettes.

A lover of family traditions, Carolyn always enjoyed spending summers as a child down the Jersey shore in Wildwood at a hotel owned by her parents called The Grey Manor. As a teenager, she enjoyed earning spending money by working part-time in the hotel cleaning rooms, then passing the rest of the day being with family and friends enjoying the sun and surf. When she had children of her own, they often spent summers down the shore too, as well as a week in Speculator, NY at a Christian summer family camp in the woods – appropriately called Camp of the Woods.

Every fall after going apple picking as a family, Carolyn would get busy in the kitchen making delicious fresh apple sauce for everyone to enjoy, and during the Christmas holidays her house was always filled with the smell of delicious Dutch apple breads which she gave as gifts to friends. As a child she learned of the Dutch Christmas customs all based around Sinterklaas, who would come to each children’s house with treats. Carolyn enjoyed Sinterklaas so much as a child and she loved celebrating the tradition with her own children and grandchildren too. She was also an excellent seamstress. She could make anything including nightgowns for her nieces, Halloween costumes for her children, and even doll clothes.

Clearly, Carolyn held her family very close to her heart. She simply loved being with them, thinking nothing of traveling to see them in Florida, California, Michigan or Ohio. She also enjoyed vacations with them to far-away places including seeing much of the American Southwest, a trip to Italy when her youngest daughter Janelle was studying there, and trips to Amsterdam and Paris with her daughters and granddaughter.

Carolyn will be missed for her vivacious personality. She was a lot of fun to be around. She loved her red 1960’s Ford Mustang so much, she bought another one in the early 2000’s. She had a warm and giving spirit that will always be remembered and cherished by those blessed to have known her. In her later years, due to declining health, her giving spirit was channeled to interceding for others through prayer. Carolyn would let people know that she was covering them in prayer on journeys or for other concerns.

Carolyn was the loving mother of Kevin and his wife Gail Hengeveld of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Judith Hengeveld and her husband Jason Meurer of Wayne, Stewart Hengeveld and his wife Emel Demirel of Hasbrouck Heights, and Janelle Hengeveld and her husband Chris Guerrero of Houston, Texas; adored grandmother of Ella, Maddie, Isabella, Evan, and Christopher; dear sister of Elaine and husband Wayne Bush of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stuart and wife Mary Greydanus of West Palm Beach, Florida, James and wife Suzanne Greydanus of Grand Haven, Michigan, and Judith Greydanus of Spring Lake, Michigan; and loved aunt of numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brother Stewart Greydanus when he was just five years old.

Friends may visit with the family at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne, on Friday, March 3, 2017 from 4-8 PM.

A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017 beginning 9:30 AM, at the funeral home. Interment will follow at Fair Lawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy in Carolyn’s name are asked to consider St. Baldrick’s Foundation, 1333 South Mayflower Avenue, Suite 400, Monrovia, CA 91016 (www.stbaldricks.org). St. Baldrick’s Foundation is dedicated to funding research for childhood cancer.

Guest Book

3/1/2017

I am sorry for your loss. As flower girl at Carolyn and Bob's wedding, Carolyn was always very kind to me and interested in my studies and life. I have no doubt she was a blessing to as many folks in Michigan as she was to those in New Jersey. May the promise of eternal life and the end of her physical suffering comfort you on the loss of your mom, grandmother, sister, and friend. Please know you are in my prayers.

Nancy King-Berkovitz

3/2/2017

I have pleasant memories of growing up with the Greydanus brood! Uncle Neil, Aunt Nell, Carolyn and Bob, etc.. Lots of good times at weddings and such. I enjoyed being a teacher of Kevin and Judith. God bless Carolyn and lets remember the good times we had together! Roger King (cousin).

Roger King

3/2/2017

So sorry not to be with all of you, but you'll be in my heart. So many good memories to keep close.

Joan Agnello

3/3/2017

Like Joan, I too am so very sorry not to be able to be with you all. My heart is holding you all close. The memories have been abounding, and they are worth holding. Deepest sympathies. Much love to all!

Marcia Meabon

3/3/2017

Dear Family of Carolyn, may you be at Peace knowing Carolyn is now with her Lord and no longer suffering. God Bless you and the Family. May our Dear Lord be your Light. Sincerely,The Sheridan Family

The Sheridan Family

3/3/2017

As one of the younger members of the Spyksma cousins clan I have very fond memories of Carolyn's love and devotion to family. I remember that during the many large family gathering at Aunt Nell and Uncle Neil's house that she was always kind and comforting to me as a young boy. The obituary is beautifully written and holds dear memories for all. Much love and prayers to all at this time of Carolyn's passing.

Eric (Ric) & Roni Schutt

3/4/2017

My condolences to Aunt Carolyn's family - to Kevin, Judith, Stewart and Janelle, and to their spouses and children, and to Carolyn's siblings and their families. I have so many happy memories associated with Aunt Carolyn - days at the beach at Green Pond, endless summer afternoons swimming and noisily playing with cousins at the home on Ratzer Road, family gatherings for Sinterklaas Day and Uncle Neil and Aunt Nell's house (remember all those crazy poems we had to write on presents?) This is a very lovingly written obituary. We can take some comfort that she is at peace with her Savior. Much love to all and prayers for all --

David Steensma


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