Phyllis Hart, aged 100, of Ft. Myers, Florida, departed this life and went to be with her Lord on Thursday, June 17, 2021.
She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers, her husband, Robert (“Bob”), and her son-in-law, Morton Crane. She is survived by her daughters Beth Crane, Mary (John Kovach) Hart, Marcia (Jeffrey) Baker, many nieces and nephews, and close companion Benjamin Elkin.
Phyllis was born in 1921 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to the late Samuel and Bessie Lantinga. As the youngest child and only daughter, she grew up playing sports with her brothers, including hockey and baseball. After graduating from Union High School in Grand Rapids, she worked for Howard Stanton in downtown Standale (Walker) as a bookkeeper. She caught the eye of Bob Hart, the local mailman, and he and Phyllis dated for close to a year. They were married in February of 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And, after only six months of marriage, Bob was drafted into the U.S. Army. The couple would spend the next three years in separation; with the exception of a furlough, and a visit by train to the El Centro, California, army training camp. When WWII ended, and they were at last reunited, they made their home in Standale, surrounded by family.
Phyllis continued her career as a bookkeeper, working for her brother, Sam. He and Jerry VanderVeen co-owned Laveen’s Department Store. She and Bob raised their children in her family home and were active members of Standale Baptist Church.
In 1962, their family of five relocated to Holland to open Holland Motor Supply, now known as NAPA on Chicago Drive. They worked side-by-side at the store until retirement. Once retired, they enjoyed golf, travel, snowmobiling in northern Michigan, and spending the winter months in Alabama on her brother’s horse farm. For many years, Phyllis volunteered at Holland Hospital. She also hand stitched numerous crib-sized baby quilts for family and friends. A widow at 72, Phyllis continued to play golf, enjoyed a weekly card club, visited with family and friends, wrote to shut-ins, and faithfully attended church.
At 90, Phyllis moved to Cypress Cove, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), in Ft. Myers, FL. With an ability to make friends easily, she was soon part of a foursome at her new home. Continuing to quilt, Phyllis donated her quilts to Barbara’s Friends, the childhood cancer fund for the Golisano Children’s Hospital. Throughout her life, Phyllis was a testament to her faith, greeting everyone with a smile and a positive attitude. She faced adversity with her belief in prayer, and was often referred to as the family “prayer warrior.” While at Cypress Cove, Phyllis met Ben Elkin, and their friendship blossomed into a sweet and loving companionship that was endearing to all who witnessed them together.
The family extends their deepest gratitude to the staff at Cypress Cove for their devoted and loving care of their mother.
The funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 23, at Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service, Grand Rapids, Michigan, followed by burial at Rosedale Memorial Park.
Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider a donation to Words of Hope at https://www.woh.org/donate/
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