Stroo Funeral Home, Inc. 
1095 68th St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Phone:  (616) 455-9280 
Fax: (616) 455-2035
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Michael A. Vos - Owner / Manager
 Robert K. Stroo - Owner / President 


Smith Jan 22

Service Information

 Janice Faye Smith

Visitation: Sunday, March 17, from 2 - 6 pm at Stroo Funeral Home (1095 68th St. SE), and Monday, March 18, from 10 - 10:45 am prior to the service at Cutlerville East CRC
Service: 11 am Monday, March 18, at Cutlerville East CRC, 501 68th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Cemetery: Blain 
Memorials: Friendship Ministries (now called WITH Ministries) 

The Funeral Service will be livestreamed at 


     Janice Faye Smith (Vande Brake), age 88, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 14, 2024, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Jan and her husband Jerome were parents to Sue (Dave) Axel, Patricia (Larry) Geelhoed, Arlene (Lyle) Walseth, Sharon (Reed) Baker, Dan (Kim) Van Engen, John (Chris) Van Engen and Jo Ann (Kurt) Ver Beek. They were blessed with 22 grandchildren and 39 great grandchildren. Also surviving are her brother, Lynn (Cindy) Vande Brake; sisters-in-law, Bonnie Vande Brake, Jackie Baas; brother-in-law, Wendell Voetberg; and many nieces and nephews. 

     Jan grew up in Northwest Iowa, but moved to Grand Rapids as soon as she graduated from high school where she trained as a psychiatric nurse at Pine Rest Christian hospital. Jan loved her work at Pine Rest. Her work showed her that each of us has a unique story. She took that lesson to heart and cared for those who were hurting with the love, understanding and respect that God has for all His children. She taught her children to do the same. 

     While working at Pine Rest, Jan married her high school sweetheart, Joe Van Engen. Joe shipped out to Korea within days of their marriage and Jan stayed in Michigan where she continued working at Pine Rest. Jan and Joe were married for nine years and were blessed with four children before Joe’s unexpected passing. Later, Jan met and married Jerome Smith. Together they created a loving home for their seven children. Jan and Jerome celebrated 54 years at each other’s side until Jerome’s death in March of 2020.

     Jan was an exceptional mother. She held her rambunctious family together with laughter, love and plenty of creative conflict resolution. She loved spending time with her 22 grandchildren and was always up for fun and games. For more than 30 years, Jan hosted “Third Sunday” each month, when all her children, grandchildren and anyone they brought along would fill the living room with songs and laughter before eating a delicious dinner that Jan had prepared.

Jan dedicated her life to Jesus. She lived that out by joyfully loving and serving others in a multitude of ways–building relationships with the families whose homes she cleaned, mentoring children in the Kid’s Hope program, leading Friendship Bible studies–a program for adults with impairments, quietly taking meals to those who were sick, sitting over countless cups of coffee for as long as someone needed to talk. 

     Jan loved to sing. All the time and in every situation. And all her favorite songs were about Jesus’ love.  “Isn’t the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” "Count Your Blessings,” “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.”  The last ten years of her life, Jan experienced significant dementia, but it did not dim her abundant love for Jesus and others or her joy in singing about that love. She will be so missed but will continue to inspire so many of us who were blessed to know her.

     Please join Jan’s family for visitation at Stroo Funeral Home (1095 68th St. SE. Grand Rapids, MI. 49508) on Sunday, March 17 from 2 to 6pm. Visitation will also be held on Monday, March 18 at Cutlerville East Christian Reformed Church (501 68th St. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49548) from 10 am to 10:45 am followed by the funeral service at 11 am officiated by Rev. Ed Visser. The service will be livestreamed at  A luncheon will follow immediately. Interment will be in Blain Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation to Friendship Ministries (now called WITH ministeries–

1095 68TH ST SE
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