Official Obituary of

Angela Jackson

February 3, 1938 ~ August 21, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Angela Jackson Obituary

Angela Jackson was born February 3, 1938, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away peacefully August 21, 2023.  She is preceded in death by her father Antanas Petronis, mother Julia Petronis, sister Jane (Janina) Rodriguez, ex-husband and father of their five children Richard E. Jackson (Roger), and her grandson Jared Jackson (Randy’s son), along with many other aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. Her lifelong friend Marilyn Hooker.

She is survived by her sister, Genevieve Coykendall of Rancho Mirage, CA, her brothers Tony Petronis of Reno, NV, and Joseph (Mary Lou) Petronis of New Braunfels, TX, plus many special nieces and nephews.

Angela leaves behind her five children, Deborah Klooster of Belmont, MI, Susan (Mike) Rubin of St. Augustine, FL, Randy (Donna) Jackson of Sevierville, TN, Diana (Kevin) Sorensen of Grand Rapids, MI, Karen (Dan) Andrus of Ada, MI. 

She also leaves behind her fourteen grandchildren Deborah's children Jason Klooster, Brian Klooster, and Jayna (Alex) Anderson; Susan's children Nathaniel Bingman, Brandon (Gina) Bingman, and Anthony Perotti; Randy's children Holly Davis, Ryan Jackson, Tyler Jackson, and Dawson Russell; Diana's child Victor Jackson; Karen's children Erika Nowicki, Jackson Goudzward, Isabelle Andrus, and Mason Andrus. Along with her great grandchildren Melaney (Tim) Smith, Peyton Klooster; Jaydon Klooster and Shanna (Eric)Henrickson; Spencer, Warren, Kenlynn, and Michelle Anderson; Riley and Brooklyn Bingman; Carsten Davis; Emilee and Evan Nowicki, and great, great grandchildren Kellan and Dawson Smith; Levi Klooster.

Angela had a very fulfilling and busy life. She was born in Anyksciai, Lithuania. They had a wonderful life in Lithuania and were quite affluent with her father owning his own brewery and lemonade business. He was also a member of the Underground Police for Germany and the United States.  When she was three, her family had to flee the country because of the war. Her father came home with a horse and buggy, a cow for milk, and a ham and told her mother she needed to quickly gather the children and head to Germany for safety. He needed to finalize things as they would never be able to return to their home. Her mother and siblings were attacked by enemy troops near Austria, and everything was stolen from them. They were very lucky to not have been killed. They set off on foot to a distant farmhouse where a family took them in. They got word to her father. He came to find them, and they all made it safely to Bavaria, Germany. They would find refuge in Castle Schwarzenberg in Scheinfeld, Germany. They went to school there and learned German. Angela became fluent and taught German to other children.  In 1949, at age 11, they had the opportunity to come to America. They boarded the warship General LeRoy Eltinge that was used to transport emigrants from Displaced Persons camps of World War II.  After a long, nauseous sea voyage, they made it to the port in New Orleans, LA. They continued to an immigrant camp in Vance, Mississippi. They went to school and learned English and helped their mother pick cotton. After two years, they headed to Grand Rapids, MI and bought a house on the west side where many Lithuanian and Polish families came at that time.

She went to Harrison Park and Union High School. During high school, she worked at a store with her girlfriend. She met her soon-to-be husband, Roger. They dated and soon married in 1955. Roger had been drafted into the Army. His first deployment was ironically Germany. She went overseas with him, and they had their first child, Debbie, there. They were able to visit the castle she lived in and show him where she spent so many years as a child.

Upon returning to Grand Rapids, they started adding to the family ending up with a total of five children. Angela was an excellent homemaker, wife, and wonderful mother. She was a remarkable woman with many talents and interests. She helped her husband with jobs in the numerous homes he built. They bought Soft Water Lake Resort in 1970 and the family ran that for 11 years. It also involved apartments above the resort and a cottage on the lake. They had built a duplex, on the other side of St. Jude’s Church, and she was a landlord for those as well. She decided to get her real estate license and worked for Westdale Realty.  She then managed an apartment complex for a few years. She loved fashion and clothing and worked at Houseman’s Downtown and Career Image in Woodland Mall where she earned a retail award. She granny nannied two sets of grandchildren and then went on to elder care. She worked for several years at Northview Manor which is now Vista Springs. She then did live in full-time care for Jeannette Post, and then Pat Grabau, whom she adored like family. She loved cooking and baking and worked in the bakery at Family Fare on Northland. 

At 75, she took a road trip, by herself, all the way to California to visit her sister Gena (Genevieve). Before Genevieve moved to California she lived in Grand Haven, MI. Angela would visit her regularly and stay for the weekends. They would go to the beach and loved to watch the sunset. They both have said they want their ashes to be spread off the Grand Haven Pier. Genevieve said jokingly, “then they can both float all the way back to Lithuania.”  On her way back from California, she went to Oklahoma to visit her dear friend, Marilyn, who had moved there. She had a wonderful time. What an adventure!

When she came back to Michigan, she moved into her small apartment on Coit Ave. which has so much history for this family. Roger was born in the house on the corner of Guild and Coit. Roger grew up at 716 Coit where he was living when he first started dating Angela. Their first house together was around the corner on Riverside Street. Her ending up back on Coit, for the past ten years, was kismet.

She made a significant impact on the neighborhood with her loving heart and friendly personality. She kept beautiful flowers in the summer on the corner there, fed the birds and squirrels, had great conversations, and made new friends. People looked out for her, and everyone was so kind to her.  “Big Scott” Veeneman was extra special to her. Even though people would offer to help, even her grandson, Jackson, who lives right upstairs, she refused and was able to keep the sidewalks shoveled and put the big trash bins out every week herself. She wanted to stay active, and it gave her purpose. She loved the party store a couple houses down.  She could walk there and buy her lottery tickets and scratch offs. She loved going to the casino and was quite lucky in life with her raffles and winnings. She always wanted to win big, so we all wouldn’t have to work so hard.  Angela was very proud of her Lithuanian heritage, but she was also proud to be a citizen of the United States.

Angela studied many religions over her life. She did not feel obligated to disclose, talk about or explain her religion, faith, or belief. She knew it can mean different things to different people, and people may relate to one but not the others. Her faith was her own. Angela chose to be cremated. Cremation will be handled by Memorial Alternatives of Grand Rapids, MI. A memorial page will be there for those who wish to share and remember her.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, September 2nd, 2023, from 1:00pm-4:00pm at 3020 Coit Ave, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. Please stop by to share stories, memories, and visit with family and friends. We will have food and refreshments. If you have any questions, please contact (616) 460-6227.



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