Life Story / Obituary
Gentle and loving, Myrtle Juliette Peters sought no fanfare, no praise, no admiration for the ways in which she served others, particularly her family. She quietly went about her business, helping where she saw a need and taking pleasure in things others often take for granted. Myrtle loved social gatherings with her family and friends, and she was always pleasant, fun, and interesting company.
The turn of the century decade, from 1900 to 1909, was one of transition and progress. The industrial age was in full swing and mass production made prices fall to all time lows. Henry Ford provided the first affordable car and the Sunday drive became a national pastime. In the community of Overisel, Michigan, life for George and Julia (Brouwers) Peters was also in transition. On December 5, 1909, they welcomed the birth of their first child, daughter Myrtle Juliette, who was born at home. A few years later, she was joined by baby brother, Jay, in 1911. They were always very close growing up.
Myrtle spent her younger years in Overisel, where her father farmed their 40-acres of land, while Julia, her mother, was a busy homemaker, caring for the needs of her family. George and Julia raised their children in the Christian faith, a faith which Myrtle held onto throughout her life, and they regularly attended the Overisel Reformed Church where Myrtle was baptized. She received her formal education in the Overisel Township Schools and graduated from Holland High School in 1928. After graduation, Myrtle set out on a once in a lifetime adventure with some friends traveling throughout the United States. Their journeys took them to New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas and California, where they even lived for a while. Myrtle then returned to the Michigan area, working in Grand Rapids and Greenville before making her way back home to Overisel for good.
The Peters farm was truly home for Myrtle. She loved its simplicity, its wild gardens, its wide-open spaces. And her family always came first; she would do anything for them. Myrtle was a very caring woman with a deep sense of compassion, and for many years she selflessly cared for her parents until her father’s death in 1959, and her mother’s in 1973. Her caregiving attention was also given to her brother’s family after his death, and to her sister-in-law, Esther, until her passing in 1996.
Myrtle liked sharing her love with people, but she also extended this feeling toward her many pets. At first she had only dogs (YoYo, Fifi, and Fifi II) but, later in her life, her nieces and nephews gave her a cat. She named him Sam Donaldson, after the newsman, and they quickly became close pals and companions. Through the years, Myrtle also fostered many close, personal relationships with her neighbors, friends and church family. Once Myrtle’s health kept her from getting out on her own, she was given church services on tape so that she could watch them in the comfort of her home. With the generous help of Jay, Judy and Larry Klingenberg, Roger and Marcia Slotman, Lois Lugten, Caryl Koopman, Hazel Bosch, and Sue Pfnister, Myrtle was able to live independently in the home she loved until just after her 95th birthday. She appreciated that more than words could express.
Besides caring for her family, Myrtle enjoyed reading, particularly about nutrition and exercise (she bought a book on Tai Chi in her 90’s), and kept up on all the current events in the world. She was always known to have a candy dish out at her house and treated just about everyone to their favorite cookies, which she baked especially for them. And as a self-proclaimed packrat, her home was filled with many treasures—furniture, dishes, letters, newspaper clippings--from her lifetime. For her 80th birthday, Myrtle asked for a 6-foot aluminum ladder because her wooden one was just a bit too heavy to haul around. For her 95th birthday, all she wanted was a diary to record her 96th year and a good stiff broom for sweeping snow away from her doorstep. Her nieces and nephews will always treasure celebrating that milestone birthday with Myrtle with a family party in her own home.
Myrtle Peters was a special woman who dedicated her life to her family. Always thinking of others before herself, she was both blessed by and a blessing to those she loved. She will be deeply missed.
Myrtle Juliette Peters of Overisel, MI, died on Sunday, January 30, 2005, at the Inn at Freedom Village. She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Julia (Brouwers) Peters, her brother and sister-in-law, Jay and Esther Peters, and her nieces and nephew: Joanne and James Van De Wege and Joyce Mulder. Myrtle’s family includes her nieces and nephews: Robert Mulder of Grand Ledge, Jayne (Dave) De Witt of Holland, Jay Jr. (Mary) Peters of Holland; many great and great great nieces and nephews.
A funeral service for Myrtle will be held on Wednesday, February 2, at 11:00 a.m. at the Overisel Reformed Church, 4076 142nd Avenue, with Rev. Scott Lokers officiating. Friends may visit with her family on Tuesday, February 1, from 7-9 p.m. at the Dykstra Funeral Homes, 29 East 9th Street, Holland, Michigan. Please visit Myrtle’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a memory, order flowers or make a memorial contribution to Overisel Reformed Church.