In Memory of



Obituary for Eleanor Ritsema

Eleanor “Ellie” Ritsema, affectionately known as “Wildfire” by her children and grandchildren, born 10/13/1948 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed on 10/15/2020 at home at the age of 72. Ellie attended Grand Rapids Junior College and graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1969. She pursued a career in nursing for 15 years, split between her time living in Michigan and California, before assisting in the management of the resort in which she lived with her husband and children in California. Ellie and her family chose to return to Michigan in 1989 to be close to family. Ellie is thoughtfully remembered for her love of cats and birds, gardening, baking, sewing and crocheting, and her spitfire personality. Ellie is preceded in death by her parents, Ella and Adolf Vander Lugt, siblings Al Vander Lugt, Carol Stevenson, and Ron Vander Lugt, and her son, Les Ritsema. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Duane Ritsema, brother, John (Lynn)Vander Lugt, children, Marlene (Rick) Jones and Marc (Erin) Ritsema, daughter-in-law Buffy Martinez, brother-in-law Brian Stevenson, sisters-in-law Colleen Vander Lugt, Kathy Rossin, and Mary VanWyk, grandchildren Dustin (Kylia) Ritsema, Christi Jones, Tyler Ritsema, Brittany Jones, Alex Ritsema, Troy Ritsema, Antonio Trevino, Aliah Trevino, and Layla Trevino, and two great-grandchildren Ezra Ritsema and Egan Ritsema. The family is comforted by the knowledge that Ellie has gone home to her Heavenly Father and Savior and they will meet her again in the Lord’s time. The family wishes to express heartfelt gratitude toward the Faith Hospice care team for their graciousness, empathy, and support during this terrible loss. Due to COVID-19, the family has chosen not to have a visitation at this time and they appreciate your understanding during these difficult times. Well wishes and condolences can be sent to the family through letter, e-mail, or at