At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Kalamazoo Area Women's Club
2650 Hunters Run
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
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Life Story / Obituary
There is no doubt that Marilyn Osborne lived a life richly blessed with many warm memories that touched the hearts of many. A loving wife, mother, and grandmother, her family meant the world to her and there simply wasn’t anything that she wouldn’t do for each and every one of them. Marilyn lived her life serving others. She believed in the idea of gratitude and never missed an opportunity to extend her appreciation toward others. She will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her.
The Roaring Twenties was a period of jazz music, the automobile boom, as well as large-scale industrial growth which brought about significant changes during this era. Harry and Anna (Schwytzer) Neal welcomed home their newborn baby girl, Marilyn Ann on March 1, 1925, in Hinsdale, Illinois. During a time in history that was filled with feelings of freedom and independence, Marilyn was born the youngest of four children. Arriving fourteen years after their youngest, she was always seen as the family baby and doted on.
Growing up in Chicago, her father worked as an accountant as well as an inventor and cement layer. Much of his work can still be seen stamped into the sidewalks in La Grange. Her mother was an accomplished homemaker who loved to bake delicious coffeecake each weekend. Despite their hard work, the family was forced from their home as a result of the Great Depression. At the tender age of four years, this made a lasting impression on Marilyn. The family shared living space with several relatives to manage these difficult years. Later, her father was able to build a home made of cement that the community referred to as “The Bunker.” Marilyn proudly graduated from La Grange Township High School in 1942. There were no male students in her graduating class that year as most of them had graduated early to fight in the war. She and her sister planned an adventurous train trip to New York around this time, shipping their Schwinn bicycles and their luggage ahead. Once there, they rode around the Finger Lakes. Marilyn always loved and enjoyed the water and sought every opportunity to take long walks along the shoreline or plan trips to visit Lake Michigan in any season throughout the year.
Not to be forgotten, however, was the meeting of Oliver “Ollie” Osborne. They both worked at Electro-Motive together in Chicago and he would often pass their home to catch the commuter train to work. One day her father struck up a conversation with him and invited him onto their porch. Without much money to spare, Ollie borrowed twenty-five dollars from her father to purchase a wedding ring. True romantics at heart, it was no surprise that the happy couple joined in marriage on Valentine’s Day of 1948. The anxious groom had borrowed a car from his part time job at the funeral home in order to bring his bride-to-be to the chapel. The newlyweds honeymooned at a cottage on Lake Michigan that a co-worker had offered them. La Grange, IL was their first home and then they lived in Downers Grove, IL until moving their family to a 160 acre farm in Scotts, MI in 1970. Ollie and Marilyn shared a deep and true love that lasted for a lifetime, like one long constant date. Every anniversary they took a trip with one another to rekindle the spark that all started on her front porch. Together they raised four wonderful children who they were very proud of.
Active throughout her life, Marilyn kept herself involved with many special pastimes. Committed to her church community, she volunteered for many events including picnics and helping out in the nursery. She was the corresponding secretary of the Ladies Library Association where she was known to send out the birthday cards and sympathy cards which fit her personality perfectly. Well versed in her role, she shared it with the Kalamazoo Area Women’s Club and the Ladies Library Association to help host luncheons, historical presentations, and fundraisers for programs such as Books for Babies. An avid lover of music, Marilyn was known to wear out several CD players over the years as she loved to have music constantly playing at her home. Some of her favorites were Lawrence Welk, many of the 1940s big bands, and she would often conduct the National Anthem with great gusto anytime it was played! As a grandmother Marilyn enjoyed parading around the house with her grandchildren as they made their own music from anything available such as pots and pans. Two of her favorite sayings were, “Give a rose where a rose is due.” and “Life is short, eat dessert first.” These fit Marilyn’s caring personality and her abundant zest for life. Fashionable and stylish, Marilyn never left her home without her entire outfit coordinated and was well known for her bright and vibrant colors. As a couple, she and Ollie’s outfits often colored coordinated. Marilyn was also an insatiable reader. She especially favored books about history and biographies and devoured the Roosevelt and the Vanderbilt books. Marilyn was a Teddy Bear collector and has given them to many family members over the years. Born with a sweet tooth, she enjoyed any opportunity for chocolate marshmallow cookies and ice cream. Most certainly, any gift of Fanny Mae Chocolates was appreciated. Remarkable to note was Marilyn’s ability to remember the first and middle names as well as the birthdates of her grandchildren. She loved to send out well wishes including the age in a birthday card or the number of years married on anniversary notes. Hallmark had nothing on her ability to acknowledge loved ones with heartfelt handwritten messages! Later in life, Marilyn and Ollie enjoyed traveling and visiting many places including Hawaii, Europe and Australia. Attending domestic and international 4 stacker Asiatic Fleet Naval reunions and homecoming events at Beloit College.
Three words that would fit Marilyn would be stoic, determined and committed. Described as the life of the party, her bright and vibrant personality is the legacy she leaves behind. She modeled always looking on the bright side of things and never letting a single moment or opportunity pass by. May her loved ones be comforted in knowing that she resides with her Valentine love of 61 years, Ollie, who was waiting for her in Heaven.
Marilyn Ann Osborne, age 94, of Scotts, Michigan, died peacefully on July 12, 2019. Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband, Oliver; twin sisters: Phyllis Marie and Doris Marianne; and her brother: Harry Alyn. Surviving are her children: Oliver (Joyce) Osborne, Barry Osborne, Randy Osborne, and Loren Osborne; 7 grandchildren: Milan (Andrea) Osborne, Cami (Rob) Field, Clint (Tina) Osborne, Shayne (Biff) Wilson, Erin (Matt) Gehman, Brian (Cynthia) Osborne, and Kevin (Jenny) Osborne; 23 great-grandchildren; 12 great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Services will be held at 3PM on Saturday (July 20) at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen Ave, Portage, with visitation beginning 1 hour prior. A reception will follow in the church hall. Burial will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery at 11AM on Monday (July 22). Visit Marilyn’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Area Women’s Club or Westminster Presbyterian Church. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.