Our family is heartbroken to announce the death of our mother, Ginger (Virginia) May VanDeLaare 86 of Kalamazoo on August 22, 2023 after a sudden, brief and unexpected medical illness. Her children were all gathered by her side to comfort her in her last moments. She expressed feeling peace, knowing that the Lord was ready to bring her to Heaven.
Born to the late Arby and Virginia Emmons in Allegan, MI, on July 23, 1937 Ginger developed a deep love and respect for plants and animals on the family Dairy farm. She would comb and brush the manes of the plow horses until they would shine, much to her fathers chagrin at having the prettiest workhorses in Trowbridge township. Prior to graduating Otsego High School, she joined every group she could, including Future Farmers of America, 4-H, Civil Air Patrol and served on the student council. She was deeply loved by every one who knew her and fondly remembered by her customers at Meijer where she served samples.
Animals gathered around her, drawn by a mystical pull understood only to her and them. Ginger made pets of the deer, rabbits and cranes who lived on her property and brought their offspring to her every spring. She would speak to the deer and they understood her goodness and love for them. She danced with the cranes and their chicks each evening. It was astonishing to witness. Ginger also adored many pet cats and Black Labrador Retrievers over the years who could not have had a better life than with her. When visiting her children their pets would race to meet her at the door, knowing she had a pocketbook full of treats.
Following her love of the outdoors and growing things, she would purchase an abundance of flowers each year. Enough to fill a pickup truck bed on each trip to every greenhouse she could find throughout Michigan and Indiana, lovingly tending to them all.
She was a lifelong learner who read many books and enjoyed absorbing knowledge on all manner of subjects, medical books were a favorite. She started learning about honey bees and tending hives in 2020. Ginger was a fantastic cook and her cookies and fudge were treats coveted by all. She was blessed with a keen wit and her jokes always brought smiles.
Ginger is survived by her children: Debra (Lewis) Cook, Barbara Clark, James Henry, Nancy Gettys and Laura (Dave) Hoffman, 11 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, sister-in-law Ruth Emmons, sister Laura Key and her beloved cat, Misha.
Ginger is preceded in death by her husband Bert, parents Arby Emmons and Virginia Japhet, sister and brother in law Nancy and Mike Strobel, brother Richard Emmons, brother in law, Ed Key, son-in-law Joe Gettys and her dog, Bella.
In accordance with her wishes, Ginger has been cremated and no funeral or services will be held. Rather than sending flowers, please make a donation to your local animal shelter in her name.