GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Community members are mourning the death of Lena Meijer who died on Saturday at the age of 102.

She was the devoted wife of entrepreneur Fred Meijer, who turned a small grocery store into a retail staple in the Midwest.

Lena and Fred became very involved in the Grand Rapids community through significant philanthropic efforts, including the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory and Lena Meijer Children’s Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which her love of gardens helped inspire.

After word of her death came Saturday, the organizations she helped over the course of her life remembered her generosity and love for West Michigan. 

Fredrick Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park:

“We mourn the loss of Lena Meijer and are thankful for the countless ways that she made our lives more beautiful.”

The DeVos Family, longtime friends of the Meijer Family:

“Lena Meijer was a quiet force of nature in our community and we are sad to learn of her passing. She had a warm and giving spirit, that was evident from the moment she walked in any room. She was a friend and partner to our parents / grandparents, as she was to us, and a steadfast supporter of her husband, her family and all of West Michigan. We smile as we think of Lena’s love of flowers and how the Meijer Gardens shares that passion with so many others.  Lena lived generously and her legacy will live on through the countless lives she touched.”

Spectrum Health:

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Lena Meijer.

We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends. Lena was a woman of great kindness, compassion and generosity. She was a champion of health care, the arts, nature, education and business.

Lena had a long-standing relationship with Spectrum Health. Lena and Fred generously gave the lead gift in support of the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center. The people of West Michigan have access to a wide array of high-quality cardiovascular care because of her and Fred’s vision and philanthropy.

In addition, they also supported the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavillon, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and United and Kelsey Hospitals.

Lena will be missed, but her legacy will live on through the programs and services made possible by her compassion and generosity, which will benefit West Michigan for generations. Spectrum Health is very proud and grateful to have her name on the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center as a tribute to a great and gracious lady.

Xavier DeGroat, autism advocate:

“I give all my prayers to the Meijer family for the tragedy of the passing of Lena Meijer, wife of former Chairman’s Fred Meijer. They were nothing but wonderful down to earth people and am more than honored to have their support of the Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation.”

Grand Rapids Community College:

“GRCC extends condolences to the family of Lena Meijer. We are grateful for the support from the Meijer family for GRCC scholarships and renovations to Stewart White Hall. A life well-lived and a tremendous legacy.”