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Barbara Ruth Bonzelaar

Obituary for Barbara Ruth Bonzelaar

August 28, 1924 - April 21, 2019
Holland, Michigan | Age 94


Barbara Ruth Bonzelaar, age 94, of Holland, MI, was reunited with her husband, Dr. Alvin Bonzelaar on Easter Sunday, April 21, after a short illness. Barbara was born August 28, 1924 to Dr. Harry S. and Ruth Burkholder in Alpena, MI. She married Dr. Alvin Bonzelaar on July 18, 1949 and returned to Dr. Alvin's hometown of Holland. It was Holland they called home the rest of their married lives, raising three sons. In 1985 they purchased a home in Naples, FL., spending winters there until 2006. The Naples home is still enjoyed by "the boys".

Barbara left Alpena, graduated from Denison University in Grandville, OH, where she met Alvin, after he had returned from WWII service. After Denison she joined him at Johns Hopkins / Union Memorial Hospital where she trained for and became a nurse, working in the Ophthalmology Unit, which was and is still one of the best in the US. Soon after being married, Dr. Alvin was "enlisted" as a surgeon at a military hospital during the Korean Conflict, while Barbara lived with family in Tucson, AZ. and gave birth to their first son Alan. They then returned to Johns Hopkins where Dr. Alvin completed his surgical residency, before beginning his medical practice in Holland.

While devoted full time to raising her three sons and managing the home front, Barbara was involved in numerous service and social groups such as the Rena Boven Guild and the Red Cross, Women's Literary Club, Holland Country Club, and Foxfire Golf Club in Naples, FL. She loved travelling, skiing, snowmobiling, golf, tennis, boating, swimming, playing bridge, cribbage and various card games, was a voracious reader, bird watcher, watcher of old movies (B/W only please), and later in life Fox News, especially Dr. Charles Krauthammer. Most of all she liked being with family and friends, including neighbors and the "Forks crew" on the Pere Marquette River in Baldwin, MI, and thoroughly enjoyed living on Lake Michigan with summers on the beach.

All who knew Barbara well both enjoyed and revered Barbara's "fierce" personality, dry sense of humor, and strong faith. Barbara is survived by her sons and their spouses (grandchildren) Alan and Lynn Bonzelaar (Trevor, Lindsay); Dr. William and Carol Bonzelaar (Blair, Dr. Lauren, Renee); Doug and Connie Bonzelaar (Kirsten & Alex Soukup (soon a great grand-daughter), Andrew); all of Holland; many nieces & nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband in 2006; her sisters Betty Price and husband, John & Doris Fitch, both of California; brothers and sisters-in-law Jerry (Jean) Bonzelaar, Hazel (LaVerne) DeVries, identical twin Dr. Marvin (Annette) Bonzelaar, Loretta (Lee) Helmink, all from the West Michigan area.

The family would like to give special thanks to Barbara's longtime friend and helper Lynn Agema ("like a daughter to me") as well as the Resthaven Maple Woods Cottage staff who provided such wonderful and compassionate care for Mom the last 2-1/2 years ("I like them all!").

At this time no formal visitation or service are planned. A family graveside committal service and celebration will be held in July. Burial will be in Graafschap Cemetery in Holland. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Maple Woods Cottages c/o Resthaven, 948 Washington Ave., Holland, MI, 49423 ( To leave a condolence and more information, please visit

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Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423
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