Suzanne Leestma ’46 Pettinga

Suzanne (Elizabeth) Pettinga, nee Leestma, age 97, peacefully passed away on Monday, October 10, surrounded by family. Sue was a loving, joyful wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who made everyone feel they mattered, that their story was important because each was a fellow image-bearer of God. The lives she’s touched with love are countless and include the faithful staff at Freedom Village where she was cared for in her last years. She loved words and ideas, shown by her teaching high school Latin and college English and the countless books and journals of theology, philosophy and politics she read well into her 90’sinsightfully annotating each one. She loved the outdoors and adventures, as every picture taken of her, from her and Frank’s Foreign Service in Afghanistan, Egypt, Austria, and the Dominican Republic, to their trips to the cabin in Otter Cove, Canada, or to the cottage on Lake Michigan: in each picture she’s flashing her radiant Pettinga smile. Her favorite poem describes her attitude best: “O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!” She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Pettinga; her brother, Harold Leestma; her sister, Ethel Swets; and all in-laws. She is survived by her children Deborah (Ron) Toering, Jane Pettinga (David VanDoorne), Fred (Jayne) Pettinga, Cindy (Mark) Hiskes; 12 grandchildren and their spouses; 23 great-grandchildren.

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