Cover photo for Gertrude Ann Zook's Obituary
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1941 Gertrude "Trudy" Zook 2024

Gertrude Ann Zook

October 14, 1941 — May 22, 2024


On Wednesday, May 22, 2024, Trudy passed into the loving arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ at Centrica Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo.  Trudy was born October 14, 1941, in Kalamazoo, to the late Peter and Marie (VanderRoest) Balkema and was the oldest of 5, including brother Henry, and sisters Donna, Jane and Christina.  Her childhood memories included many hours spent with extended family, including sleepovers with her favorite aunts and cousins at her grandparents' home on Miller Road and large family picnics.  She attended Kalamazoo Christian schools as a young girl and valued a Christian education for her own children.

In 1959, she married her first husband, Bert Batts, and together they raised 4 children, Paul, Steve, Debbi and Betty. They built a busy life with building 2 houses, driving a school bus, helping to start Portage Christian Reformed Church and running a Large Equipment dealership.  After Berts’ death in an auto accident in 1980, she stayed in Denver where she met and married Doug Getchell whom she divorced a few years later.  Due to health concerns, she moved from Colorado back to Michigan, where she met Ed Powless.  They were married for 23 years until his death in an auto accident in August of 2014.  During her marriage to Ed, they became heavily involved with the Lions Club and she continued to collect donations of glasses for them until her death.  Losing Ed meant it was time to downsize and so she moved to Hope Woods apartments where she met and married her final husband, Wilbur Zook in 2018.

Trudy loved to travel and to spend time with family, especially her kids and grandkids and never missed an opportunity to celebrate holidays, birthdays and school functions.  She had an appreciation for all types of equipment – Semi’s, motorcycles, tractors, or a nice truck and enjoyed taking a ride with her kids when the opportunity arose.  Trudy lived her life with much joy and also much tragedy and will be greatly missed.

Trudy was preceded in death by her parents, Pete and Marie Balkema, her brother Henry and his wife Anne, sister Jane and her husband, Vernon Geschwendt, 3 husbands, Bert Batts, Doug Getchell and Edwin Powless, son Paul Batts and son-in-law, Steve Gibson.

She is survived by her husband, Wilbur Zook and his family; 2 sisters, Donna (Marinus) DenHarder, Christina (Dale) Beauchamp; as well as 3 children, Steve (Katie) Batts of Paw Paw, Debbi Batts of Aurora, Colorado, and Elizabeth (Betty) Gibson of Aurora, Colorado.  She also leaves behind 6 grandchildren, Nela (Jesse) Williams, Christopher Gibson, Lindsay (Michael) Rodriguez, Bethany Batts (Andy Armstrong), Amanda Batts (Nick Byers) and Sean Batts (Cassandra Cushman) along with 10 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, from 5-7:00 PM and a Celebration of Life will take place on Thursday, May 30, 2024, at 11:00 AM, both at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial and Cremation Services, 3926 South 9th St, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009. Lunch will be served after the service.  Graveside service will be at 2:00 PM at Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park on South Westnedge.

The family would like to thank the staff of Centrica Rose Arbor Hospice and her husband Bill, for their compassionate care of Trudy in her final days. Memorial contributions can be made to the Lions Club of Kalamazoo.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)


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Graveside Service

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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