Floral 13
Official Obituary of

Ruth D. VanWingen

July 13, 1932 ~ March 11, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Ruth VanWingen Obituary

Ruth Dayle Van Wingen, 91, passed away at her home on March 11, 2024 with all of her children by her side. Ruth was born on July 13, 1932, in Shreve, OH, to Rev. Ray M. and Emily (Woods) Wolford. Her family moved to Cleveland when she was 9 and she grew up there with her 2 sisters and brother, graduating from John Adams High School. She took a great leap of faith and a train to Holland, MI, to enroll at Hope College where she met many good friends and was wooed by one special guy, Tom Van Wingen. Ruth and Tom were married by her father in 1952 and began a wonderful life together. After moving around a bit during Tom’s military service, they settled in Tom’s native habitat, the north end of Grand Rapids. 

They lived on Westlane Dr. in a house they built in 1963 with a stunning view of the golf course at Kent Country Club. To her last day, that house was her domain, as she raised 4 children and entertained family and friends for swimming, tennis, backyard football, and other joyous fun. She loved her neighborhood and wonderful neighbors, who consistently returned that love over her 61 years there. Ruth and Tom traveled extensively, both in the US and abroad. She enjoyed traveling but mostly enjoyed her home and, as time went by, a summer home on Lake Michigan and a snowbird refuge in Arizona.

Ruth had a profound lifelong faith in a loving and nurturing God. She and Tom were very active members for decades at First United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids. Church was the center of much of their social lives as well, and was a family place (as it was for her in-laws, the Taylors). Her faith informed her life at every turn and led her to gratefully and eagerly enter God’s Heaven to reunite with Tom and so many other dear friends and family who went before. Our pain at her passing is easily matched by her joy at going home.

Ruth was smart, funny, beautiful, gracious, and generous. Mostly, she was kind and loving. We will miss her so, so much. She is survived by her 4 children, 15 grandchildren, and 9 great grandkids. The kids are Thomas Van Wingen, M.D. (Kim), of Spring Lake and Punta Gorda, FL; Tim Van Wingen (Mary), of Caledonia; Sarah Williams (Doug), of Thousand Oaks, CA; and Tyler Van Wingen (Michele Venegas), of Grand Rapids. Her grandchildren are Troy Van Wingen (Sarah) of Kentwood, Tara Westbrook (Ted) of Cascade Township, Alex Van Wingen of Tampa, FL, Emily Conaty (Brandon) of Grand Rapids, and Jack Van Wingen of Boston, MA; Meghan Travis (Nick) of Mattawan, MI, Tom Van Wingen (Katie Hart) of Toledo, OH, and Joe Van Wingen of Flagstaff, AZ; Jake Williams (Taylor), of Ventura, CA, Jenna Williams of Thousand Oaks, CA, and Josh Williams of Thousand Oaks, CA; Sabrina Pina of Phoenix, AZ, Jonah Van Wingen of Allendale, Tobin Venegas of Grand Rapids, and Selah Van Wingen of Grand Rapids. The great grandchildren are Charlotte Ruth and Grey Van Wingen; Laura, Gene, and Zelda Westbrook; John and Joe Travis; Grant Hart Van Wingen; and Bennett Conaty. Ruth is also survived by brother-in-law Joe Taylor, M.D. (predeceased by Tom’s sister Janet) and all the Taylor and Wolford nieces and nephews. So much love!

As directed, Ruth’s immediate family will privately celebrate her life at a later date.

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