Barbara Friend VanEss, age 87 of Grand Rapids, MI passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 8, 2019. She was born to the late W. Keith Friend and Dorothy Munton Friend on April 21, 1932.
Barbara attended school in East Grand Rapids before moving on to Albion College and Western Michigan University where she graduated with her degree in Occupational Therapy.
Barbara had a great love for family, travel, nature and her community. She was passionate about her volunteer work. Barb began these efforts at Porter Hills when her parents moved there in 1982 leading exercise class in Cedar Court, where years later, she would reside. She was a guide at Blandford Nature Center as well as a docent at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for many years.
Barbara is survived by her brother Roger K. Friend, sons M. Keith Dowsett, Gregory A. Dowsett (wife Linda), daughter Karin (Dowsett) Schilling and Son in Law William A. Schilling, granddaughter Shelby E. Schilling, grandson Blake A. Dowsett, nephews, nieces and grand nephews and nieces.
A memorial service celebrating her life will be held Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. in the Meeting House at Porter Hills located at 3600 Fulton Street East, Grand Rapids, MI.
In lieu of flowers you may send memorial contributions to Blandford Nature Center 1715 Hillburn Ave., NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504 or Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 E. Beltline N. Grand Rapids, MI 49525.
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