Born On: September 08, 1928

Passed On: February 27, 2019

Barbara L. Saint Denis

Barbara L. Saint Denis, well-known local artist, passed away on February 27, 2019 surrounded by her family.  Barbara was renowned world-wide for her bronze sculptures and for her innovative works with enamel and fused glass.  Some of her works can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute, The Corning Glass Museum, Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Michigan State University, and the personal collection of former governor George Milliken.  Locally, her artwork can still be found at many businesses and churches including her most famous bronze statue at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, in Muskegon, titled “Mary, Mother of the Church”.  Barbara was also named Business Woman of the Year in 1978 and was named in the 1974-75 edition of Who’s Who in American Women.  In 2006, she was elected to Muskegon Community College Board of Trustees.  Barbara, most importantly, enjoyed spending time with her family at her house in Lakeside, or up at the family’s camper at Ranch Rudolf in Traverse City.  Barbara’s family will cherish a lifetime of stories (especially The Witch Around the Moon), travels, adventures, and love.  Barbara was born on September 8, 1928 in Muskegon to the late Halley and Helen (Johnson) Dion.  She married Don (Hoogenstyn) Saint Denis and he preceded her in death in 2011.  Barbara is survived by her three children, Peggy (Dave) Scouten, Michele Hecksel-Golightly, and Richard (Karen) Saint Denis; 10 grandchildren, Jim (Errica) Witham, Kristen (Steve) Hendrickson, Tracie Samdal, Molly (Brian) Graves, Jason (Juli Johnson) Hecksel, Jaimee (Jacob Bright) Hecksel, Jeannie (Ryan) Hansard, Matt (Therese) Williams, Abel Williams and Kaycee ( Joe) Bylsma; 15 great-grandchildren, Mathew, Nikole, Seth, Danielle and Jessica Witham, Katie, Sarah and Ben Hendrickson, Fenna Hansen, Ella and Samantha Graves, Devon and Whitney Samdal, Emmerylyn and Evan Poelman, Elanna and soon-to-be-born Kruze Bylsma; siblings, Valerie Smrcina, Mary C. Jones, and Dan (Kay) Dion; her aunt, Therese LeMieux and numerous, nieces, nephews and cousins.  Along with her parents, Barbara was preceded in death by five siblings, Joyce Weldon, Marva Mitchell, Diane Dion, Ron Dion, and Joey Dion, son-in-law Joe Hecksel and a grandson, Erik Williams. According to her wishes, cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life gathering will be held June 8th, at 1pm, at The Vikings in Lakeside. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Juvenile Diabetes Association, 4595 Broadmoor Ave. S.E. Suite 230, Kentwood, Michigan 49512


Celebration of Life Gathering Information

Viking Lodge
3132 Lakeshore Dr.
Muskegon, Michigan 49441

Date: Saturday, June 08, 2019
Time: 01:00 PM

24 thoughts on “Barbara L. Saint Denis

  1. Kay Ostrom

    To Peggy and the whole family, Barb was a gracious , in charge of herself and her talents person. I count it an honor to have known her
    a little. She was an asset to the Alpha Kappa Chapter (Muskegon) of The Delta Kappa Gamma International Society of Women Educators.
    May your memories be strongest of her best self, her work.
    Kay Ostrom

  2. Henry and. Georgina Hartwell

    What a loss. And what a legacy she has left! She was one of the best….loved hearing her family stories about all of us.
    A lady I could proudly say “she’s my cousin”. Henry and I send our sincere sympathy. God be with all of you. Georgina

  3. Mary Ann Holcomb

    Dear Michelle and family,

    We were so saddened to read of your mom’s passing. She was a wonderful, talented, force of nature. Your memories of her will bring you peace and comfort.

    Mary Ann and Bob Holcomb

  4. Nancy & Hughie Frye

    Remembering my time with Barbara on the Muskegon Community College Board of Trustees. It was Barbara who encouraged me to campaign for an open seat on the board. She was the first person to congratulate me when I won the position. We traveled to Washington D.C. to visit our elected officials with the purpose of answering their questions about the importance of students attending a community college. Both Barbara and Don were multi-talented in the creative arts. It was easy to see why they gravitated toward one another. My life is richer for having known both of them. May happy memories be shared by the family as they reflect on Barbara and her life well lived.

  5. Bev Ring

    Peggy, so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. She was a very fine lady. I remember all the fun times we had as kids especially our camp out in the tent and unfortunately your broken arm from doing cartwheels off the front porch. She was always so good when we did dumb things. She will be with you always in your heart. Keep the memories close and my God Bless you and all of your family. My heart and prayers are with you all.

    Love & Hugs
    Bev (Beckman) Ring

  6. Denise Dion-DeDinas

    So sorry for your loss, Barbara was a special lady. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. She will
    Always be in our hearts until we all meet again.

    Denise Dion-DeDinas

  7. Barbara

    So sorry for your lose. She was a wonderful inspiration to all who knew her. She will be missed by all.
    As days go by the pain of the lose will lessen and be replaced with a melancholy and a pride that builts on the history of your time together. She will be with you quiding you every day.

  8. David Dion

    Wonderful memories of my wonderful cousin. May Christ’s light welcome you to his arms and reunion with your loved ones.

  9. Laura Sikkenga

    Peggy and Dave,
    My condolences in the loss of your mom. May you find strength and peace in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Laura Sikkenga

  10. Kim Brush

    Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord and let the perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. The parish families at St. Francis de Sales Church, Norton Shores.

  11. Nena Pulsifer

    We were so blessed to meet Barbara because of buying the family home next door. We gained more than a house.❤️ Miss her everyday I look over there. Wish I had more time sitting with her and listening to her stories and talking about art. My condolences to everyone from Tom and I.

    1. Richard SaintDenis

      We simply could not have asked for better folks to buy my old house! Mom thought the world of you both and we all are very thankful that she had such caring neighbors. Thanks again for your kind hearts!

      Richard SaintDenis

  12. Barb Wenk

    She was so very talented. She and Don created a wonderful partnership. We had some fun times in the day. Peace and love.

  13. Mary Kay Dion-Camp

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Barbara was a wonderful lady, extremely talented and because of her research into the Dion genealogy, we have all been blessed to know our family history. I know she will meet them all in heaven and they will thank her for keeping them alive in our memories.

  14. Patricia A Bethke

    You and your family are in my thoughts. She was such a special person and dearly loved. Heaven just gained a beautiful angel. My love to all of you.

  15. Lynne Fouts Currie

    Still have great memories of babysitting Barb and Don’s grandkids at the barn in Sutton’s Bay and with the vast Dion family we are all blessed to be a part of, letting me know our new band instructor was a cousin! He was her nephew. We also had a blast when Barb and Michelle visited us in London. The day passed too quickly but was filled with laughter. Lynne Fouts Currie

  16. Bernard Boelkins

    Sending lots of love to the other lady I calked “Mom”. Spent alot of time at your house….you made the best Swiss cheese burgers. I know you are at peace and with Jesus…..

  17. Diane Janes

    We have lots of both St. DENIS’ artwork. What a legacy. Such talent, but more than that, a beautiful connection to people.


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