My Grandma: A Legacy of Faith

On Sunday, my Grandma Catherine Gladys Vander Kooi went to be with her Lord and Savior. For the past week, we have spent many hours with family, sharing the stories that made her so special. Yesterday was a true celebration of her life as family and friends gathered together for a beautiful graveside and memorial service.

Somehow throughout the week, we've continued to come back to Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 is the quintessential description of the godly woman. It begins in verse ten with these words: "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."

The following twenty-one verses describe this woman of noble character, one who takes care of her family, makes wise decisions, offers good council. She sets food out for her family and also evaluates some land and buys it. She is loving and generous, while still bold and wise.

This was my Grandma. She was incredibly humble, a woman of few words and simple actions. But she lived her life authentically and faithfully. She served God each day, and in her service to Him, she loved her family with a persistent and constant love.

I have many sweet memories with my Grandma, but I am most thankful for the time I spent with her a couple of years ago. That was the year I left my job, and since I had some time, I would go almost weekly to her home and clean for her. Of course, I did it because I loved her and I knew how difficult cleaning a house was for her, and yet she wouldn't let me leave without handing me some cash! :)

Those few hours were so special. We'd talk about our weeks, what was going on with the family and in our churches. I'd share how Robby and I were doing, and what the news was with our infertility. She'd often have a little treat for me: a piece of cake or a cookie she had saved. And I would bring over anything tasty I'd made recently...she always loved a good sweet! Sometimes we'd go and grab a hamburger together afterwards, or sometimes we'd run a quick errand. It was simple, everyday life, but I am so thankful to the Lord that He made that happen for us. I feel like I got to know my Grandma that year.

Grandma's faith was made sight this week, and we praise God for this! As we spent time together, it was clear that although Grandma may have been a simple and humble woman, her work for the Lord's kingdom has been anything but. She left a beautiful legacy of faith.

Her children arise and call her blessed.
"Many people do noble things, but you surpass them all."
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. 
(Proverbs 31:28a, 29, 31)
From left: Sandra, Grandma holding Ann with Susan in front, Grandpa Pete with little Pete, Rob, Ron, and Bill


  1. my thoughts and prayers were with your family this week! I was at my parent's house when your dad called :(. definitely a life worth celebrating, and rejoicing that she is with her Savior!

    1. Thanks, Marisa. It was nice, as always, to see your dad here in Visalia.


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