Thelma Werner

September 20, 1919 ~ October 2, 2018 (age 99)

On October 2, 2018 Thelma Werner (nee Olson) passed away peacefully and went home to her loving Lord Jesus in whom throughout her whole life she faithfully placed her trust.

Born September 20, 1919 in Sparta, Michigan, she was preceded in death by her parents Oscar and Ida Olson, her first husband Fred Otterbein, Sr., her second husband Irvin Werner, her brothers Arnold and Pauline Olson, Curtis Olson and sisters Vivian (Bud) Goebel, and Millie (Al) Vredevelt, a stepson Jeffrey Werner and stepdaughter Judy Gibson. She is survived by her children Mary Waterfield, Susan (Stephen) Stormzand and her son, Fred Otterbein, Jr; her grandchildren Dan and Elizabeth Waterfield, Dr. Ross and Hannah Waterfield, Brett and Kristi Waterfield, Shad and Heather Stormzand, Shelby and Brandon Grinwis; grandchildren: Gabriel and Kaly Waterfield, Drew and Tyler Waterfield, Bailey Marie and Gracen Ellen Stormzand, Miles Anderson and Kennedy Marie Grinwis;  several nieces and nephews including two very close nieces: Julianne Otterbein and Betty Voights.   Her family was the joy and love of her life.

Thelma was a registered nurse having graduated from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She met her loving husband Fred Otterbein while he was a patient at St. Mary’s Hospital and under her care.  And from this serendipitous occasion an enduring love was born.

Thelma participated in many activities including: water skiing at Bill’s Lake at the family cottage in Newago, Michigan; golf, bowling, hunting, fishing, bridge, playing the piano, her fellowship with Thornapple Evangelical Covenant Church and more.

Although she was raised as a Baptist, she unselfishly subordinated practicing as one to honor her husband’s requirements to raise his children in the Catholic faith long before ecumenicism of the sixties, and while realizing that her basic appreciation of Christian tenants could still be embraced. 

In fact, even though she was not a Catholic, she gladly accepted volunteer requests to model women’s clothing for St. Jude’s Church and their periodic clothing sales fund raisers.  She was blessed with striking small- town natural beauty.  

Her lifelong message to her children, even in their adulthood, was; “say your prayers.”

She had one of the world’s most engaging personalities and was quite at ease at approaching pure strangers in various places of general assembly to seek their opinions about life matters - all to their immense flattery and refreshing delight.

The family would like to thank all of the caretakers who comforted Thelma during her final days.

Visitation will be held at 11 AM on Thursday October 11th at Thornapple Covenant Church located at 6595 Cascade on S.E., Grand Rapids 49546 with the service at 12 PM (noon) with Pastor Karen Ingebretson officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials contributions will be appreciated and can be made to Thornapple Covenant Church.

Donations may be made to:

Thornapple Covenant Church
6595 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids MI 49546

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