When reflecting on the life of Anna Springer, it is easy to see that her unconditional and selfless love is the common thread woven throughout her life’s tapestry. With her faith as a cornerstone, she exemplified what it means to love others more than yourself. Anna took her roles as a wife and mother to heart, but she just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother later in life. A lifelong resident of the community she loved, she will be deeply missed.
The 1930s were a time unlike any other in American history as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. While the times were challenging, Harm and Etta (Boelman) Hippen were filled with unspeakable joy to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Anna on August 10, 1933, in Vicksburg, Michigan. She was one of four and the only girl as she was raised in the family home alongside her brothers, Herman, Robert, and Donald. Anna’s father was a farmer while her mother was a homemaker. Their home on 27th Street, which they fondly called “Dutchmen Road” due to the surrounding neighbors’ Dutch heritage, was filled with priceless memories for Anna. As neighbors they regularly got together to play baseball or have ice cream socials and picnics. During the winter there was plenty of sledding and ice skating. As a family they enjoyed putting puzzles together. Anna also regularly went swimming in Portage Creek, and she took a salt shaker along with her to get the bloodsuckers off!
In many ways Anna was a typical young girl of the times. She walked with her brothers and other neighborhood children to the one-room Jenkinson Schoolhouse during her earliest years. Anna then attended high school in what is now the Vicksburg Administration Building. As a high school student she wouldn’t think of missing a football game. Anna went on to graduate from high school in 1950. While living on 27th Street a neighbor opened their home for church services, but as the group grew they later moved to a nearby schoolhouse.
Anna always enjoyed so many things and experiences that remained constant throughout her life. She especially loved every aspect of farm life from helping with cooking and baking to feeding and watering animals, milking cows, and gathering eggs. Anna also looked forward to the family trips to Iowa to visit her father’s side of the family. She participated in 4-H at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds doing projects that included sewing, gardening, and canning. However, her favorite project was raising a steer to show and sell in the auction at the end of fair week. In fact, that is how she met the man of her dreams. His name was Tom Springer, and her father had hired him to haul the 4-H steers to the fair. Anna and her brother rode in the cab of his truck to the fair. Their paths would cross again over the next few years as Tom would be hired again for various farm work, but when he gave her “the wink” she became officially hooked. Anna and Tom were married on June 5, 1952.
There was nothing of greater joy to Anna on this side of heaven than her family. Together she and Tom welcomed two children, Louise and Jeff, into their hearts and home. As a family they made some of their favorite memories while camping and exploring the backroads of Michigan as well as trips to Tennessee and Florida. The holidays were some of Anna’s most treasured times as she found such great joy in hosting and preparing everyone’s favorite foods. Most times these days started with a big breakfast, main meal, and leftovers in the evening. Of course everyone always knew they’d be leaving with leftovers, too. Anna wore many hats around the house - including as a hairdresser even if things didn’t always turn out as planned. When her kids were young there was the time she cut Jeff’s hair only to promptly tell him to go get his hat and put it on - and leave it on! There was also the time she read up on how to cut bangs. After carefully applying the masking tape to cut Louise’s bangs she then cut her bangs on the top side of the tape rather than the bottom. Those were school pictures to remember!
In addition to being a homemaker and mother, Anna did so many other things. She helped her husband with his excavating business, even logging many hours behind the steering wheel of a dump truck to help get a project completed. Anna also worked at Upjohn’s for several years. After retiring she spent many summers working in the kitchen at the Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. Over the years she volunteered in church nurseries, served on various event committees, and assisted in Sunday school and junior church. This started during her younger years while attending Wakeshema Community Church and then as a member of Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene. Anna was often called upon to make a dessert for a luncheon at the church including the time her husband and children dug into an apple streusel before she could deliver it to the church! She and Tom enjoyed gardening and for a long time would garden an acre. She enjoyed canning and freezing the harvest of their hard work together. Anna and Tom had many Amish lifelong friends that they visited throughout the years. In her later years she loved being treated to Red Wings Hockey games with her grandchildren. Anna liked southern gospel music and watching Gaither videos. Strong in her faith, she read her Bible daily until her failing eyesight in recent days left her unable to do so.
All who knew Anna Springer would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was a peacemaker who was a friend to all without an unkind word to say about anyone. Anna always freely gave a smile, and leftovers were commonplace if you ate at her table. She was the sort of person who was content to remain out of the spotlight to work behind the scenes in ways both great and small. Her family was her most priceless treasure, and her happiest memories were made when surrounded by their love. Anna will never be forgotten.
Anna Springer died on May 17, 2021, at age 87. Anna’s family included her children, Louise (Mark) Vanderberg, Jeff (Sharon) Springer; grandchildren: Ashley (Ryan) Pastor and Amanda Springer; great grandchildren: Jonathan & Leanna Pastor and her brother, Don (Carolyn) Hippen. She has joined her husband Thomas in Heaven, as well as parents; brothers: Herman and Robert Hippen; grandson Nathaniel Springer and great granddaughter Jubilee Pastor. A visitation will be held on Friday, May 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene: 7520 E U Ave, Vicksburg, MI 49097. A funeral service will follow at 10:00 a.m. at the same location. Memorial contribution can be made to the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. While visiting Anna’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com please sign the guestbook by lighting a candle, and/or sharing a memory with the family. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home; Rupert Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main Street Vicksburg, MI 49097 (269-649-1697).