Clarice Josine Westendorp
May 22, 1932 – January 8, 2021
Clarice Josine (Baas) Westendorp died peacefully at home on January 8, 2021, adding to the choir of Heaven a grace-filled woman, a piano player, an alto singer, and a fine poet. A committal service for her immediate family will be held at Lakeshore Memorial Services in Holland, Michigan on Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 1 pm. The committal service will also be livestreamed on the website of Lakeshore Memorial Services. Click on Clarice’s name or go to Lakeshore Memorial Services’ Facebook Page.
Clare was born in 1932 to Jacob and Anna (Leguit) Baas, in the small farming town of Pease, Minnesota. As a young girl she attended a one room schoolhouse, delivered there by her father’s sleigh in snowy winters. Her kindness stood out to classmates in grade school, and she excelled at writing from a young age. Clare was salutatorian of her graduating 8th grade class. Yearly she contributed her beautiful alto singing voice to her high school choir. She graduated from Milaca High School in 1950. Clare went on to attend Calvin College (now University) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the summer of 1951, she took a job at the Fruit Basket in Grand Rapids, where she met the love of her life, Floyd Westendorp, a fellow Calvin student. Clare graduated from Calvin in 1952 with a teaching degree and went on to teach 3rd grade at Cutlerville Christian School.
Floyd and Clare married in Pease in 1954 and had four children. Floyd’s career as a physician took them to cities and towns first in Michigan, and later to states across the US. Clare and Floyd enjoyed travel around the world, with treasured visits to Japan, Switzerland, Scotland, and the Netherlands. Wherever they resided, Clare developed lasting friendships while she contributed to church and community programs and projects. She provided ongoing support for her sister Shirley over the course of her life. She taught Vacation Bible School in Holland, Michigan and taught English as a Second Language to new immigrants in Little Rock, Arkansas. She volunteered at Community Action Center in Holland, Michigan, and served as President of Presbyterian Women at First Presbyterian Church in Holland, Michigan. Clare was one of the first women to be ordained as a deacon in the Christian Reformed Church.
Writing poetry was one of her greatest joys, and Clare was an accomplished storyteller. She found community by starting writing groups wherever they lived. Clare’s book of poetry, A Way with Words, was published in 2011, and her short essays also appeared in local publications. She sang in her church choirs for 40 years, and cherished singing in the Calvin Oratorio community choir’s yearly performance of Handel’s Messiah. Clare loved to laugh, and was the hailed champion of many competitive card and Wii bowling games. She threw great parties, always having a strong sense of decorum, but, most importantly, fun.
Clare’s family, friends, and those knew her will remember her with deep love. She was unfailingly kind, thoughtful, and compassionate. She gave selflessly. Her grandchildren knew her as “Gram,” a grandmother who spent hours making each of them feel special as she read to them, baked cookies, did creative projects, taught them games, and shared stories with them in letters and conversation. She loved her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren unconditionally, and was an extraordinary partner to her husband, Floyd, for 66 years.
Clare is survived by her husband, Floyd; her four children, David, Doug (Krista), Jayne (John Kooistra), and Jewell (Stephen Daney); 7 grandchildren, Jessica Ruiz-Westendorp (Rogelio), Jasper Westendorp (Gina), Jill Westendorp (Don), Aaron Westendorp, Alexandra Haan (Laura), Kiah Westendorp-Holland (Brad), and Britton Westendorp-Holland; 6 great-grandchildren; and her sister, Shirley Baas. Clare was preceded in death by two granddaughters, Megan Elizabeth Haan and Chaia Alyssa Haan.
The family extends sincere gratitude to Clare’s compassionate and attentive caregiver Tonya Davies for 3 years of dedicated love and care, and to Faith Hospice for their exceptional care during Clare’s last week of life. We feel extraordinarily blessed to have been a part of Clare’s life and will continue to honor her. Her ever-light spirit and enduring sweetness will live on in each of us. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Clare’s memory to Church of the Servant Outreach Program, Church of the Servant, 3835 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49545.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Clarice Josine Westendorp
Dan (Jr.) Hendriksen
January 13, 2021
Dear Uncle Floyd, David, Doug, Jayne, Jewell, and family:
You have our deepest sympathies in the passing of your wife and mother. Aunt Clare was such a gracious hostess and was so kind to all of us relatives. We'll always have good memories of her calm, friendly demeanor and her loving, welcoming smile at family gatherings.
Dan Jr. and Nancy Hendriksen
January 12, 2021
You and Clarice were on a long journey together and you accompanied her through all the ups and downs. You were a faithful caregiver and I know you will miss her! May you feel the Lord’s presence now as you finish your journey without her and find comfort in your sorrow.
Blessings to you,