Lansing-area grandmother from the Netherlands succumbed to COVID-19

This obituary is part of “We Will Remember”, a series about those we have lost to the coronavirus.

Frederika Rita Price was the matriarch of her family, known for her kindness, positivity, work ethic, and penchant for helping others.

She died aged 81 on September 16, 2021 at McLaren Hospital in Lansing due to complications from COVID-19.

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Born in Almelo, Netherlands, to Julius and Arenddina (Slettenhaar) Heuer, Price and her family of seven moved to Lansing when she was 15.

Although Frederika is her legal name, the Grand Ridge resident added Rita’s name as a middle name when she became a United States citizen. Most called her Rita, her daughter Debra Olmstead said.

A family photo with Fredericka Rita Price's grandparents when they left for the United States.  Price is standing in front right holding a bag.

After retiring from a longtime position in a medical practice, she accidentally found herself employed part-time at CJ Banks in Lansing Mall, Olmstead said.

“She was there one day shopping and started helping another lady put together an outfit with jewelry and everything and they offered her a job,” her daughter explained, who added, “and she got discounts for herself.”

Fredricka Rita Price with her brother and three sisters.  (Left to right) Price, Gerrit, Jeanne, Mary and Ann.

Price’s life was never easy, but she didn’t let much stop her, according to her daughter, who said her mother stayed positive and had strong faith in God. She had five children before she was 25, divorced in the early 1970s, was a single parent, and lived with a blood disease that caused her many problems.

Price remained active and on the move, and always sought to help others.

Frederika Rita Price planting flowers.

“She taught me how to be a better person and the importance of service to others,” her grandson Donald Price said.

Her greatest hobby was working in her garden and spending time repainting the garden gnomes she had all over her garden in the winter.

“She fell in April 2020, breaking her hip,” Olmstead said. “She had to do rehabilitation, but she was back in the garden this summer.

She loved going to garage sales and enjoying a glass of beer in the evening.

Price was an active member of the Grand Ledge First United Methodist Church, where she enjoyed singing in the choir, working with the women’s group, and helping out at street markets.

Fredricka Rita Price and her children at her son's wedding 30 years ago.  (Left to right) Carl, Ron, Rita, Roy, Debbie, Don.

Price was fully vaccinated and awaiting heart valve surgery when she started having breathing issues, Olmstead said. She was taken by ambulance to McLaren Hospital, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

She died after being hospitalized for a week on oxygen, her daughter noted.

Price is survived by his daughter Debra (Andrew); sons Carl, Donald (Debbie) and Roy (Amy); 16 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; brother Gerrit (Mila) Heuer; his sister Jeanne Guile and his dog Jordie.

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Brendel Hightower is associate editor at the Detroit Free Press. Contact her at

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