Paula Ann Garza
Visitation: Saturday, Dec. 2, from 1 to 2 pm at the funeral home
The service will be live-streamed and can be viewed by following this link https://www.stroofuneralhome.com/ and clicking on the "Watch Live" tab
Cemetery: Blain Cemetery
We encourage folks to bring pet food, toys, and supplies to be donated to homeless pets in her honor.
Born 11/14/52 in Grand Rapids, MI Paula Ann Pleger Garza used up the last of her nine lives on November 24, 2023 having spent one final holiday surrounded by her beloved children.
With a talent for adopting strays -be it feline or human, she made sure her home was everyone’s home. Gregarious, creative, sweet, dedicated, humble, tenacious, bargain shopper and box collector extraordinaire, with Dutch thriftiness and a warm smile you could often find her digging through the B2 bins, or out cruising the garage or estate sales striking up conversations with strangers or hear her cheering her kids on at every hockey, softball, lacrosse game, dance or performance.
She loved family singalongs on trips for ice cream with her parents and kids or camping in “the bus” along the lakeshore at Holland and Grand Haven with her aunts and cousins, revelling in the opportunity to make hobo pies or getting a tan while reading the newest Stephen King novel. She might surprise you with a spontaneous 7 am trip to Cedar Point or Mackinaw. She adored games after holiday dinners, late night phone calls, family movie nights and brought levity to any situation with her awkwardly obsessive fandom of Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp. She loved songs about drinking and gambling, but avoided them herself. A sweet-tooth until the end, she often refused any food at the hospital unless it was a cookie.
A 1970 Graduate of Kentwood High School, Paula shared her multifaceted talents with the world as a retail clerk for Rogers Department Store. A Comerica Bank teller who once won a photography calendar competition, a Realtor with Carriage House, executive assistant for R. Walden Pallet Co. Paula learned braille to design disability accessible assignments as a Para Pro for Kentwood Public schools, and designed costumes for Valleywood middle school and Kentwood summerstock plays. She was so beloved, the teachers at Brookwood all donated a day of their retirement so she could retire early from her final position as an attendance clerk due to the debilitating course of her battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Paula grew up attending the First Church of the Nazarene and attending Nazarene College until she rebelled against her religious upbringing. You were unlikely to see religious symbols in her home, but she never strayed from her faith in God. She walked the path of Christ in her everyday actions, always being kind and generous, opening her home to others, and never letting anyone leave hungry or empty handed.
Always good with her hands until RA stole their power and magic, you could often find her defying expectations hand making dolls, scrapbooking every memory of her family, painting, embroidering, upcycling jewelry, reupholstering furniture, decorating cakes, sewing costumes or curtains, bowling and chatting with her league, baking banana bread or her grandma King’s apple pie and chuckle recipe, redecorating, wallpapering, riding horses, laying carpet or tile, hanging ceiling fans, playing bunco, paintings walls or fences, shingling roofs, helping her dad build the barn and extension on her home, hosting family events, bailing her rascally brother out of trouble …she did it all.
Feisty and a fighter to the end, she battled breast cancer, congestive heart failure, pulmonary fibrosis, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, 3 heart attacks, a stroke, and pulmonary embolism until the complex disease process finally overcame her, but her spirit remained impossible to break. Her life pact “if you live, I will live” with her ailing Baby Kitty were once documented in Cat Fancy magazine. Thriving for 15 yrs with terminal illness, she surprised us all when she refused to resurrect herself one last time in her final act of defiance.
Daughter of Roy and Carol Pleger (King), wife of George Garza, former wife of Tom Newhouse, beloved sister of Roy Walden Pleger Jr , loving matriarch to Kailey, TJ, Stephanie, Megan, Chris, Nathan, Danielle, and doting Nana Paul of Damon, and Carson. She lived up to her final message, “I did my best to be a good person, good mom, and good friend, loved the Lord and in a better place. I’ve been blessed.”
We invite you to attend services to remember the indomitable spirit of our beloved mother Paula Garza next weekend, on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 at Stroo Funeral home at 1095 68th street, Caledonia, MI 49508. Viewing and visitation will be at 1pm,
services will be held at 2pm followed by desserts and refreshments in homage to mom’s love for sweets then onto Blain cemetery for graveside farewells.
Donations to offset expenses to the family may be made to Stroo Funeral Home. We encourage folks to bring pet food, toys, and supplies to be donated to homeless pets in her honor.
STROO FUNERAL HOME
1095 68TH ST SE
GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49508