Obituaries » Dena M. Mentor

Dena M. Mentor

April 13, 1940 - May 22, 2021

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Victory Baptist Church, 308 W. Milham Ave. in Portage. Visitation with family at 10 am; memorial service to follow at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries. A private burial service at Fort Custer National Cemetery will take place at a later date.

Dena May Mentor was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan on April 13, 1940, and passed away on Saturday, May 22, 2021. She was a resident of Galesburg, Michigan.

 

Dena was born to Melvin and Virginia (Evans) DeForest, in the home of her beloved grandparents, Carl and Dena (Hildebrand) Evans, on Kalamazoo’s east side. She grew up surrounded by the large Evans family of aunts, uncles and cousins in nearby Comstock, graduating from Comstock High School in 1958. As a little girl, she remembers summers riding her bike with her cousins, and handing out gospel tracts in downtown Kalamazoo for her great-uncle Jake Hildebrand’s soup kitchen for homeless men, the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

 

Besides being a mother, she said her most significant personal achievement was graduating from Davenport College in the mid-1990s because “it made me feel proud that I went to college later in life,” and because it also allowed her to find more meaningful, better-paying work. Indeed, she went onto work as a billing, coding and financial clerk for the Family Health Care Center, Borgess Hospital and other area health care practices as a result.

 

Despite hard times, she always managed to provide a delicious pot roast on Sundays and plenty of gifts under the Christmas tree each year. She will be remembered for her feisty personality, snappy comebacks, and love for babies; she always had a crossword puzzle going and was usually in the middle of a mystery-romance novel. She was a talented bowler and seamstress. Most importantly, she had an abiding faith in Jesus Christ. Dena’s grit, determination and tenacity was especially on display as her family watched her stoically endure 10 years of dialysis.

 

She met her husband Richard “Ric” Mentor, who survives, at her long-time church home, Victory Baptist Church; the two were married in 2012. She was preceded in death by Russell Nash in 2009, whom she married in 1995. She was previously married to Ronald Coe (deceased) and David Cook.

 

Dena leaves behind 5 children: Erick DeForest, Lori (Jim) Pitzer, Catherine (Tom) Thompson, Julie (Tim) Brown and Jennifer (Todd Newell) Coe; grandchildren Dana Goodyke, Michele Cronkright, Tara Standish, Josh Welch, Gretchen Osenbaugh, Jordan Coe-DeMoore, Keegan Brown, Evan Brown, Jace DeMoore and Jayke DeMoore; and several great-grandchildren.

 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Victory Baptist Church, 308 W. Milham Ave. in Portage. Visitation with family at 10 am; memorial service to follow at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries. A private burial service at Fort Custer National Cemetery will take place at a later date.  Friends and family may share a condolence message online at www.joldersma-klein.com.