DIRK BLOEM age 89, of Belding, formerly of Grand Rapids, passed away Monday evening, January 27, at Spectrum Health, Butterworth Campus in Grand Rapids, following a long illness. Dirk was born on December 7, 1930, in Worthington, Minnesota, the son of John and Henrietta (Boogert) Bloem. Following his schooling, Dirk proudly served his country in the National Guard. He worked at the General Motors plant in Grand Rapids for a few
years and had a passion for farming. He carefully tended 40 acres where he raised cows, chickens, pigs, ponies and more, even being able to call each animal by name, to which they would respond by coming to him. He grew corn and hay himself rather than purchasing feed. One of his great accomplishments was designing, and building himself, an arch-supported free span barn for the farm which provided maximum available space for storage and access. The design caught on and showed up shortly after in other area buildings. He also developed a great talent as concrete finisher, and was very proud of the many local construction projects he worked on including Woodland Mall, Rogers Plaza, North Kent Mall, the Covered Village Mall in Belding and several Holiday Inn hotel projects. Shortly after taking up the trade, he became an independent contractor and was self-employed for many years. Dirk married Julie Rockefeller on March 3, 1983, and shared over 35 years of marriage with her. Dirk and Julie followed Julie's roots back to Belding about 5 years ago to enjoy retirement. Dirk enjoyed canning fruits and vegetables each year and loved traveling from farm to farm getting a great deal on local produce. He always had a soft spot for animals, especially those in need of a home and he was a supporter of the Humane Society of Mid-Michigan. He was an active member of New Testament Church of Greenville and attended regularly, as long as his health allowed.
Dirk will be remembered by his dear wife, Julie; his children, Deborah (William) Sparks, Dan (Stephanie Smith) Bloem, David Bloem and Joe (Tammy) Bloem; grandchildren Angel, April, Billie, Amber, Heather, Erin, Tommy, Kiri, Kyra & Kaylee; 14 great grandchildren; his first wife and mother of his three sons, Marian (Rich) Cavanaugh, whom he married in 1955; and Julie’s family including children Christopher (Leslie) Rydahl, Paul (Wendee) Rydahl and Timothy (Laura) Rydahl; 9 step-grandchildren and 1 step great grandchild; siblings Bert, Paul, James, George, Ruth, David, Irene and Annie; a sister-in-law Bobbie (Peter Eddington) Rockefeller; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his first wife, Marian Rich, who he married in 1955. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two siblings, Nellie and Peter.
Funeral Services will take place on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 1:00 p.m., at Verdun Family Funeral Home, 303 S. Bridge Street, Belding, Michigan 48809, with Pastor John Pepke, officiating. The family will greet visitors at the funeral home for an hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at River Ridge Cemetery, Belding. Those wishing to express their sympathy are welcomed to consider a donation in Dirk’s memory to Mid-Michigan Humane Society, P.O. Box 577, Stanton, Michigan 48888, or New Testament Church, 13615 – 10 Mile Road, Greenville, Michigan 48838. For additional information please contact Verdun Family Funeral Home in Belding at (616) 794-1300 or at www.verdunfh.com.