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Family and friends remember Lena Meijer and her legacy

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Posted at 10:55 PM, Jan 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-16 08:33:02-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Family and friends are now remembering their time with Lena Meijer.

Ken Rader says his aunt Lena was down to earth never forgot her roots.

"She was 102. She just wore out," Rader told FOX 17.

Rader heard the tragic news of his Aunt Lena Meijer Saturday morning.

"If there's anything you would like to say to your aunt, what would it be?" FOX 17 asked. "I miss you. It was always fun to be around you," Rader answered.

Rader shared that his aunt was a little bit of a tomboy growing up.

"She said she was the best pig rider in the area. She could outride the boys, stay on the pigs longer," Rader said.

Her nephew still takes care of her family's farmland in Montcalm County.

"She needed her lunch up on top of the windmill. She'd climb up and sit on the platform under the fan and eat her lunch so she could have a better view," Rader said.

That windmill now sits inside Meijer Gardens. Lena and Fred Meijer were known for their philanthropic donations.

State Sen. Rick Outman says Lena always gave back to her roots.

"One of the things that she was helpful with was our music in the park program. And a matter of fact, we named an outdoor pavilion in her honor," 33rd District State Sen. Rick Outman said.

Outman spent only moments with her during her impressive lifetime but still remembers them like they were yesterday.

"She just was somebody who you could just sit and felt like you were talking to your grandmother when you talk to her. And she just was... seemed like a very loving, caring person. And if she's certainly going to be somebody that we'll miss," Outman said.

Rader says when they would visit his aunt and uncle, they would convince them they'd buy dinner if they drove.

He says every time, his aunt would always get liver and onions.

They thought it was disgusting, but it's a memory they're holding on to forever.

If you would like to make a memorial contribution, you can make one to the Lena Meijer Children's Garden.

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