Thursday, October 21, 2021
1:00 PM EDT
Fellowship Reformed Church
PRIVATE FAMILY SERVICE
Life Story / Obituary
Phyllis Bierema was fiercely loved by her family and friends. She had a strong faith and attended Fellowship Reformed Church where she was a youth group leader and role model. Phyllis tirelessly put the needs of others above her own and she enjoyed spending time with her family and many friends. Surrounded by her beloved family and friends, Phyllis passed away peacefully after living for many years with Parkinson’s Disease. All those that knew and loved Phyllis will cherish her memory and beautiful personality forever.
The 1940s were a difficult decade filled with tension over World War II. Franklin Roosevelt spoke his famous words “will live in infamy” after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the only US president to win more than two terms; he was elected a total of four terms but sadly passed away just a few months into his fourth term. Thankfully in 1945 the war finally ended with an Allied victory. Once the war was over, things started to return to normal. The introduction of the bikini was made in Paris in 1946, and Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in 1947. On April 8, 1942, Richard Lowell Carpenter and Lela Ruth (Lamphere) Carpenter welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Phyllis Lynn.
Phyllis attended and graduated from Plainwell High School where she was the head majorette for the marching band. During her time in high school Phyllis met the love of her life, Kenneth Gerald Bierema. The pair were high school sweethearts and drawn to each other because they had common values. After a four-and-a-half-year courtship, Phyllis married Kenneth on April 20, 1963, at Kanley Chapel on Western Michigan University’s campus. Their love was further deepened when they welcomed to the world their three children: Laura, Ken, and Diane. Her children meant the world to her, and Phyllis was a wonderful and attentive mother.
Over the years Phyllis held several different jobs. She worked as a dental assistant and then gravitated to an interior design-related career path at HODA (House of Decorative Accessories), DeKornes, and Great Lakes Interiors. Phyllis became a self-taught interior designer and certified building contractor who owned an accessory retail store and founder and principal of Professional Design. Her design skills were highly sought after and she designed many residential and commercial properties throughout her long career. Her designs were featured in the Holland area Parade of Homes and by Holland Home Builders. In her spare time Phyllis enjoyed entertaining and making beautiful custom floral arrangements. Phyllis loved the water and would often spend time at the many lakes and beaches in Michigan. When the snow would fall, Phyllis would go cross country skiing. Cooking and serving good food to her family and friends, Phyllis was known to make some delicious dishes and throw lovely parties. After she retired Phyllis enjoyed traveling. She and Ken went on cruises and frequent extensive travels.
Faith was always an integral part of Phyllis’s life. She and Ken were members of Fellowship Reformed Church for over 30 years. During this time Phyllis was a youth group leader and a member of the building committee. She also went on quite a few mission trips over the years. Many fond memories were made by all the youth group children that had the honor of being led by Phyllis. Always the giving kind of person, Phyllis was involved with Habitat for Humanity. She made history when she became the first president of the Holland Optimist Club.
Whenever Phyllis was in her car or at home, everyone knew she was probably listening to country music. Phyllis enjoyed many memories being a part of a gourmet supper club with her friends, and she valued any time she spent with her family at multiple reunions over the years. Her love did not end with the people in her life, Phyllis also cherished her furry friends that consisted of several cats and her Daisy dog.
Throughout her life Phyllis was a constant source of love, hope, and joy for everyone that she knew and loved. Her children and grandchildren will forever remember Phyllis and the many memories that she leaves behind. After living may years with Parkinson’s Disease, Phyllis is finally free of pain and reunited with her beloved Ken. Phyllis was such a special woman and lived her life going above and beyond to do anything she could to help those around her. Country music legend Dolly Parton once said, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” Phyllis Bierema led a life that created a legacy for so many people, and she inspired everyone and anyone she met.
Family and close friends will remember Phyllis at a private memorial on Thursday, October 21, 2021, at 1:00 PM EST. The memorial will be live streamed for extended family and friends at fellowshipreformed.org/livestream . The memorial will be followed by a private burial at Cooper Township Cemetery, in the Kalamazoo, MI area.