Jodi Japinga ’75 Syens

Jodi Sue Syens, 67, passed away peacefully in her home on February 5, 2021 after a valiant battle with cancer. Jodi was born on July 20, 1953 in Holland, Michigan to Norman “ Bunko” and Shirley Japinga. Keeping in line with the family passion for Hope College, Jodi earned her B.A. in Political Science from Hope in 1975. Jodi’s love story with Marv also began during her time at Hope. It was love at first sight and the two were married on August 10, 1974. Jodi was passionate about the City of Holland and dedicated her career to serving its residents. She began working in the Treasurer’s Office on a work- study assignment. She went on to hold a variety of roles with the City, including Assistant City Manager and Director of Transportation and Parks and Recreation. She was a familiar staple to many Hollanders during Wednesday night City Council meetings and faithfully served as a board member for a variety of local nonprofits, including the Holland Museum and Tulip Time. Her heart was truly invested in Holland.

Even more than the City of Holland, Jodi loved her family. Her daughter, Rachel, was the light of her life. Jodi was rarely without her soulmate and husband, Marv. As a family, they loved to frequent local coffee shops for breakfast, drive out to the beach, and travel as often as possible. A loving daughter, sister, aunt, and great-aunt, Jodi spent many days cheering on Hope College sports teams with her family. She was deeply faithful and very active as a member of Pillar Church. Jodi was known and beloved by many for her compassion, kindness, and courage. She was a genuine pillar in her community and will be profoundly missed.

Jodi is preceded in death by her father, Norman (Bunko) Japinga. She is survived by her husband, Marvin, daughter, Rachel, mother, Shirley Japinga, sister, Julie (Kevin) Van Oordt, brother Jeff (Jennifer) Japinga, and many brothers- and- sisters in law, nieces, and nephews.

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