At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Samaritas Senior Living
1950 32nd Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Life Story / Obituary
Gaye (Geessien Mulder) Hekman, age 91, passed from this life peacefully in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 26, 2020. She was born on June 23, 1928 in the town of Ter Apel in the Netherlands and grew up as the daughter of a farmer and the granddaughter of a ship captain. This likely was the source of her lifelong ability to nurture all living creatures and also the source of her sparkling sense of adventure. She always had a beautiful garden and a happy home.
On December 20, 1951 in the Netherlands she married William Hekman and together they immigrated to the United States, arriving by ship to the harbor in New York in early 1952. What an adventure! Theirs was a friendship of more than 80 years that started in elementary school. Together they proudly became American citizens, ran a successful family business (Hekman Heating and Air Conditioning), and most importantly to them, raised 4 children who never doubted that they were deeply loved.
Her life was marked by kindness and gentleness; she always put the needs of others before her own and was an example to all of us of joyful humble service – whether that was patiently meeting the needs of a child, grandchild, her husband, or any other family member or friend – or cooking wonderful delicious meals (she was a fantastic cook and hostess!) – or grading prison ministry Bible lessons – or delivering TODAY booklets (Back to God Hour) with Dad – or even spending more than a year on the island of Dominica where she and Dad managed the Voice of Life Radio station for RACOM (the radio broadcast of the Back to God Hour). There she baked dozens of chocolate chip cookies and welcomed the staff of Voice of Life and the people of Dominica into her home. It is no wonder that they were affectionately known all over the island as “Brother Bill and Sister Gaye”. They traveled extensively mostly visiting family and friends or representing RACOM and everywhere they looked for new things to learn.
Gaye was preceded in death by her husband William Hekman in 2016. She leaves behind 4 children: Shirley (Frederick) Fleischmann, Ed (Becky) Hekman, Mary Hekman, and Fred (Karen) Hekman, as well as 13 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. She cherished her family; we are grateful for her life and the ripple effects she has played through all our family and all who had the privilege to know her.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, January 30, 2020 at Dykstra Funeral Home – Northwood Chapel, 295 Douglas Avenue in Holland. Reverend Mary Dewitt will be officiating. Burial will be in Lakewood Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 10-11 am prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be given to the Samaritas Senior Living, 1950 32nd Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508.