may be made to:
PO Box 901
Grand Rapids, MI 49509-0901
Grace Fox, age 80 of Prairie Village, Kansas, formerly of Lowell, died at home on September 19, 2018. She was born Grietje Vande Kemp, to Hendrik and Petronella Vande Kemp in Voorthuzien, Netherlands, on May 20, 1938, the second child of 10. Growing up in an occupied village, Grace’s earliest memory was being afraid of the Nazis. Her father and uncle hid Jews, pilots, and others during the occupation and she always suspected she knew the hiding place—but was never certain. Grace’s family emigrated to the United States in 1957. They traveled on the Zuiderkruis (Southern Cross) after the first ship they boarded was damaged in a collision at sea. The family settled in the United States after they were denied entry to Canada based on Grace’s father’s disability. Grietje became Grace.
Grace and her siblings worked to help support the family. Grace met Robert Fox at Grand Rapids Junior College while studying to become a nurse (the career she always wanted, although she recalled with pride that she had the talent to be a seamstress). Grace and Robert married in 1972. They lived in Lowell where they raised four children. Grace was an active member of St. Mary’s Church. As a licensed practical nurse and homemaker, she spent her life caring for patients and family. In 2013, after her husband died, she moved to the Kansas City area, where she enjoyed many Sunday breakfasts and trips to the park with her three adoring grandsons (who knew her as “Oma”). She gamely fought against lung cancer until she was ready to depart. Those who know her will recall that she was kind, gentle, hardworking, honest to a fault, and tough as nails.
Grace is survived by her children, Julie (Frank) Montane, Bernadette (Jonathan) Swinkunas, Mark Fox, and John (Meghan) Fox; grandsons Lincoln, Graham, and Everett Fox; grandchildren through marriage Mandy Anderson and Gabriel Montane; great-granddaughters through marriage Rosalia and Elina Anderson; and siblings Nellie (Tom) VanEwyk, Antonia Vande Kemp, Hendrika Vande Kemp, Joyce Reynhout, and Peter Vande Kemp. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; sisters Clare Iedema and Elisabeth Jansen; and brothers Rick Vande Kemp and Gerrit Vande Kemp.
Visitation will be held 2-4:00 p.m. and 6-8:00 p.m. Sunday, September 23, at Roth-Gerst Chapel, 305 N. Hudson, Lowell, MI 49331. A Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 a.m. Monday, September 24, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 402 Amity St., Lowell. Rev. Aaron Ferris presiding. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lowell. Memorial contributions may be made in Grace’s name to Grand Rapids Right to Life, PO Box 901, Grand Rapids, MI 49509-0901.