Gertrude Heppe, 90, a kind and generous soul, whose life was all about her family, left this Earth June 1 and is probably playing cards right now with her husband Harvey in heaven.
“Gertie” was a mom and wife who always had supper on the table at 6; a Saturday morning pie maker; and a Sunday morning cinnamon roll maker. Her incredible pie crust couldn’t be matched and how she made that homemade frosting for those rolls so perfect was also a mystery.
Her kindness and generosity showed in those pies: If she made four, three were given away to sick friends or to the church for funerals. She spent nearly 10 years directing funeral lunches at Shiloh Community Church.
Gert left home at age 14 to attend high school because there was no bus system and her parents didn’t own a car. She boarded with a family in town and took care of their children so she could continue her education. She also worked at the Dairy Bar on Main Street in Ionia, where she even found a way to work during her school lunch hours.
After high school she married Harvey, a local farmer she met at the Palo Grange Dance. They moved into a home on his family’s farm and started a family, having four children in five years.
She was the Orleans Township treasurer for 28 years and the bookkeeper at the Ionia District Court in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Gert was a Detroit Tigers fan, watching them win two World Series, and their games were playing on the TV in her final days. Playing cards with friends and stopping at yard sales on trips up north to the cabin with her husband were other favorite activities. They tried to buy something at each sale they went to just to be nice. This helped fill their house with antiques, along with going to auctions, where you didn’t want to be the other bidder if Gert set her mind on buying something.
Gertrude died at her home in Lansing, where she lived with her daughter Donna the last 12 years. She will be incredibly missed by her family, including three surviving children, Donna Ackley, Don (Karen) Heppe and Linda Odette; eight grandchildren, Josh, Rachel, Henry and Jacob (Shelby) Heppe; Elizabeth (Brandon) Morse, Andrew (Cassie) Phelps; Olivia and Owen Odette; six great grandchildren: Jessica, Justin, Courtney and Sarah Morse; and Penny and Gemma Phelps; son-in law, Tom Phelps; sisters-in-law, Helen Towersey and Mary Ann Galloway (Gordon) and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sidney and Maggie Towersey; her husband Harvey, whom she was married to for 54 years; daughter LuAnn; sisters and brothers Dorothy, John, Russell, Geneva, Gerald, Sidney Jr., James, Shelby and Fred; son-in-law, Richard Ackley; and former son-in-law, David Odette.
A one-hour visitation will begin at 10 a.m. at Shiloh Community Church, 8197 Heath St., in Orleans Township before the 11 a.m. funeral service Friday, June 4. Internment will follow at Higbee Cemetery in Orleans Township. For those wishing, memorial contributions may be made to Residential Hospice Foundation, 5440 Corporate Dr., Suite 400, Troy, Mich. 48098.
Lehman Funeral Homes - Portland Chapel - 517.647.7995, Ionia Chapel - 616.527.2250
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