Life Story / Obituary
Wilma Jean Purple Smith (90), went home to be with our Lord and Savior, on Sunday, January 2, 2022. She was a resident of Resthaven Care Center, where she was also in the care of Hospice of Holland. She was preceded in death by her beloved parents Forest and Pauline (Ervin) Purple, brothers Melvin (Gwen) Purple, Ronald (Fern) Purple, Ervin (Veleta) Purple, Sisters Lila (William) Stuart, Ardis (Dorman) Mobley, Darlene (Leo) Forche, son Scott Smith. She is survived by children Mark (Jeanette) Smith, Lee (Caryn) Smith, Jean (Robert) Hippey, Jan (Don) Binkley and Steve Smith. Wilma enjoyed 19 grandchildren, many great grandchildren and several special nieces and nephews.
Wilma was born October 12, 1931 to parents Forest and Pauline Purple who resided in the lumbering region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They were surrounded by family in an area still referred to as “Lavender Corners.” A twist of fate in the early 1940’s brought Wilma and her family to SE Lower Michigan to Britton, which is where she discovered and grew in her love of her Christian faith. She became actively involved with the Baptist church, which subsequently led her to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, where she earned a teaching certificate and also met and married her former husband, Lowell Smith. Together they had 6 children, and raised them in and around SW Michigan in the Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Zeeland areas. Wilma was a member of Holland Baptist Church for over 30 years, where she served as a member on various church committees, was a volunteer for VBS, and also served as one of the church’s pianist’s. Her love for serving the Lord through her music was one of her greatest joys. One notable memory is Wilma playing duets and collaborating musical ensembles with the late Willis Tucker, a well-known church musician whom she admired greatly. Wilma routinely volunteered as one of several pianists who played at local nursing homes, including Resthaven Care Center, where she was residing when she passed away. A favorite activity of hers, was sharing her piano playing with family when they visited by playing “guess the hymn”, as they would join in singing the hymn.
Wilma loved to play games, as well, as watch TV game shows. She was a die-hard Detroit Tiger’s fan. Not only did she watch every game, but she had a keen interest in following each player and recording their stats in many spiral bound notebooks. Wilma was also a wizard at the game of Yahtzee and she played it daily, with herself or anyone else who would challenge her. She managed to keep this tradition going strong even through the pandemic, by playing games over the phone! She never turned down the chance to play and even developed some hilarious “trash talking” tactics while shrewdly and consistently beating her opponents. In all of her game playing and watching activities, Wilma kept a bottle of “Wite Out” close at hand…life doesn’t have to be perfect when you have enough Wite Out to fix it! Wilma also found contentment in attending Bible Study’s, reading her Bible, watching her collection of VHS and DVD movies, crocheting Afghans and puppets, coloring in her colored pencil books, crafts and playing Bingo!
Wilma will be remembered as a kind-hearted and loving mother/grandmother/aunt and friend, who lived a humble life of quiet servanthood. She will be dearly missed by family and friends, alike. In lieu of flowers; donations may be made to Moody Bible Institute. A private ceremony will be held in late Spring of 2022, when we can safely gather to honor and celebrate her life.
Arrangements are by the Dykstra Funeral Home-Mulder Chapel.