On Saturday, November 14, 2020, Dorothy M. Stoepker's, faith filled prayer to be with God, and Wally her husband of 73 years was fulfilled. Dorothy's entire life was one of devotion, love and selfless caring for Christ, her husband, family, friends, and persons in need. She was born on December 29, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the daughter of Tony and Alice Ferwerda, and grew up attending Third Reformed Church and Central High School where she helped to create the high school report card and where she formed lifelong friendships that were passed on generationally to her children and grandchildren. She was active in youth group, Sunday School and volunteered her time at a local hospital in Grand Rapids where she met her future mother in-law. Following high school Dorothy worked for a downtown real estate company where she developed lifelong administrative and leadership skills. On May 16, 1946, Dorothy married a recently ordained minister in the Reformed Church, Reverend Wallace Stoepker. That date was the start of a lifelong marriage filled with love and devotion. Dorothy was at all times not only a partner in marriage but was a full and supporting partner in ministry. In each every Church they served starting in Clymer Hill, New York, and thereafter at Ferry Memorial in Montague, MI, Aberdeen Church in Grand Rapids, MI, Brooklyn Reformed in Ohio, Greenwood Reformed in Kalamazoo, MI, and Maranatha Reformed Church in Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada, Dorothy led Church groups, was the wedding coordinator, visited each Church member with Wally, and opened the doors of each parsonage feeding and hosting countless church members of all ages, missionaries and anyone else who needed a perfectly and lovingly cooked meal. Dorothy was a true disciple of God's loving hospitality and all who received it were immeasurably blessed. At all times she was a loving and caring mother, grandmother and great grandmother who enriched the lives of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, she instilled a desire to learn, confidence to pursue aspirations, the importance of sharing, the value of family traditions and the meaning of selfless love and devotion to family and friends. Dorothy lived by the rule that we were never to speak a degrading word about another person and to think what it would mean to be in another person's shoes. Dorothy knew everyone's favorite food, birthday cake and sewed incredible clothes for herself, Wally, and family. On many Saturdays, the family was treated to Dorothy's picnics over the Coleman stove even in the cold of January. Picnics and weekends in a park were a key staple of her life and our lives. Laughter was embedded in Dorothy and was contagious to anyone in hearing distance. Fun and games with family and friends were a daily part of Dorothy's life. She would play Skip Bo, Seven's Racko, Domino's, shuffleboard, make jigsaw puzzles and stayed up until the very last hand was dealt. Dorothy was the emcee for the annual family talent show which occurred at the annual Thanksgiving weekend and made sure we sang a song each year in Dutch while we devoured down her traditional family Christmas recipes. Summers were initially spent at Silver Lake with her childhood friends and their families with countless morning coffees, hotdog roasts and hikes in the channel and over the dunes and then at Kline's Resort at Vicksburg, Michigan where Dorothy and Wally summered for over 45 wonderful years. At both places and at their home in Portage, Michigan she and Wally embraced time with family and friends. In retirement Dorothy continued her faith walk at Southridge Reformed Church where she helped to organize a seniors group which she and Wally hosted many times. Dorothy had a holistic approach to life which included, balanced meals, being outdoors, walking daily, praying, and reading the Bible, word games, and constant reading of the newspaper, Newsweek, and Guidepost. Dorothy and Wally moved to Friendship Village where she has lived the past 3 years under the care of the great staff there. The love and legacy of Dorothy continues through her four children, nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren (with a 12th about to be born).
With love and joy, Dorothy is and will be remembered by sons Dr. David Stoepker & wife Carol, Daniel Stoepker (dee.) & partner Brad Kosko (dee.) & Barb Cripe (dee.), Tim Stoepker & wife Jane; daughter Ruth Stoepker Wilson & husband Charles (dee.); grandchildren: Elizabeth & Matt Duncan, Sarah and Dr. Leland Webb, Andrew Stoepker, Jennifer & Mike Jura, Dr. Jeremy Stoepker & Dr. Tanveer Ahmed, Tom & Julia Stoepker, Marta Stoepker, Dr. Peter & Brooke Stoepker, & Sophie Stoepker; great grandchildren: Gabe Webb, Mallory Webb, Alydia Jura, Carlie Jura, Avery Jura, Skyler Jura, Peter Stoepker, Malini Stoepker, Nicole Stoepker, Liam Stoepker, Everett Stoepker and soon to be born Elliot Stoepker.
A Service of the Resurrection is being planned by family and will be held remotely. Memorial Contributions can be made in honor of Dorothy to "Reverend Wallace and Dorothy Stoepker Scholarship Fund", Western Theological Seminary 101 East 13th Street Holland, Ml. 49423 and to "Open Doors", P. 0. Box 50102 Kalamazoo, Ml. 49005-0102. Please visit Dorothy's online guest book to leave a personal message or memory of her at https://www.langelands.com
The Reverend Wallace and Dorothy Stoepker Scholarship Fund
Western Theological Seminary, 101 East 13th Street, Holland MI 49423
PO Box 50102, Kalamazoo MI 49005