Barbara Rae (Purcell) Bekins

August 15, 1935 ~ March 4, 2021 (age 85)


On Thursday, March 4, 2021, our family and the world lost the most wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, businesswoman, and entrepreneur, Barbara Rae (Purcell) Bekins of Grand Haven. Barbara courageously fought cancer for the last three years of her life. She leaves behind a gaping hole that was once filled with her kindness and service to others. We are comforted knowing that she is reunited with her husband, Harvey, in Heaven, praising our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Barbara was born on August 15, 1935 in Sault Ste. Marie, MI to Robert and Ruth (Start) Purcell. On March 27, 1954 she married the love of her life, Harvey Bekins, who walked faithfully with her for 62 years until his death on April 7, 2016. Barbara and Harvey started Bekins’ Appliance in 1975. The business succeeded because of their honesty, hard work, and complementary abilities.

Barbara was the “matriarch” of the Bekins family in the truest sense, and she always put family first. She was an extraordinary mother - comforting, encouraging, and always supportive of those around her. She served faithfully as a Sunday school teacher and Deacon at First Presbyterian Church. Many generations have been blessed by her selfless acts of service. Barbara loved her family deeply and made sure family gatherings were frequent and full of love and food. Her legacy will carry on in the many lives that she shaped as a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and the positive impact she had on hundreds of people as an entrepreneur.

She leaves behind her daughters, Cheryl Alman, Cindy Kleinheksel, Karen (Mike) Sterenberg, and Kelley (Dave) Reenders; her son, Scott (Tracy) Bekins; 16 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren (who lovingly called her “GiGi”); brothers, Richard (Sandy) Purcell, Ronald (Beverly) Purcell, Randy Purcell; sister, Bonnie Bramer; brother-in-law, Howard (Pat) Bekins; and most special friends, Roger and Edith Rycenga, who introduced Barbara and Harvey, and stayed close through their lifetime.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and brothers, Robert, Roger, and Rick Purcell.

A Private Graveside Funeral Service for Barbara will take place at Grand Haven Township Lakeshore Cemetery with Pastor Sal Pirrotta officiating.

Memorial Contributions may be made to your Church, or Love in Action. To view Barbara's Service, please visit:


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Private Graveside Service

Grand Haven Township Lakeshore Cemetery
17200 Lincoln St.
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Video is available for this event


Love in Action
326 N. Ferry St., Grand Haven MI 49417
Tel: 1-616-846-2701

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