Joe Takens was a wonderful father, husband and artist. He created blown glass art that is in many private collections throughout the world. He has exhibited his work in Michigan galleries as well as Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI. Joe often has referred to his work, jokingly, as the poor man’s Chihuly. When met with his smile, there simply was no other choice than for you to smile as well.
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He was very proud of his father and took moments to tell the children about him. Joe’s father, Ludolf Takens, was an interpreter in the U.S. Navy and had a working knowledge of 7 European languages, speaking Dutch, English and German fluently. When the Netherlands was invaded in 1940, Joe’s grandfather Joseph, became a resistance leader for a section of north Holland. Joe’s father became a Dutch underground courier who helped smuggle messages and news reports across the Nazi border. The primary concern of the underground group was to aid Jewish refugees and downed allied flyers to escape into France.
Ludolf Takens received a commendation medal from Queen Wilhelmina for his outstanding work with the underground.
Joe took delight being in his hosta gardens. He sought out new and different varieties and was a natural gardener. I hope we can keep them all alive as most have survived with Joe through 4 marriages, having finally set their roots in Battle Creek.
Joe worked at Cascade Die Company in Grand Rapids, MI. He loved his job and the people he worked with. His main goal was to get back to work and giving everyone a hard time.
Joe passed away after a short, but fierce battle with lung cancer. He was 61. He is survived by his wife Jennie Hepler-Takens and their children, Bryer Hepler and Willow Takens of Battle Creek. He is also survived by his son, Joe Takens of Grand Rapids. Joe is survived by his sisters Ruth (Randy) Vellenga, Betty Holman, Wanda Wine, and Bruce (Cheryl) Takens. He was preceded in death by his parents, Pauline and Ludolf Takens, his mother in law, Tracy Pierce and his brother in law Michael Holman and many aunts and uncles, all of Grand Rapids.
Please join us for a memorial service on Friday, July 19th, 2019. From 12 -1pm we will have a small gallery of his work for you to see before the service. The service will begin at 1pm at Baxter Funeral Home, 375 W. Dickman Road, Battle Creek, MI 49037.
View the memorial video under the photos and videos tab.