Life Story Visitation
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks and stories will be shared.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
10:00 AM EDT
Mt. EverRest Cemetery
3941 S. Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
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.
Seita Scholars Program at WMU
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With unending devotion to her loved ones, Marilyn VerMeulen touched the lives of others in such a special way. She gave everything her all, and she expected others to do the same as she was the sort of person who didn’t expect more out of others than she was willing to do herself. Although she treasured her roles as a wife and mother, Marilyn just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
On February 2, 1939, Clarence and Ione (Maurer) Wood welcomed their youngest daughter, Marilyn, in Jackson, MI, to their family. Marilyn joined her older sister, Maxine, and brother, Lloyd. While her mother kept the household running, her father worked doing many things including running an insurance agency, owning several gas stations, and as an auctioneer. Marilyn practiced this skill alongside her father, and she even got to the point where she was faster than her father!
Growing up in Marshall, Marilyn enjoyed playing with friends. Often, they would start a game of Monopoly on the front porch, run off to play somewhere else, then come back and play a bit more. The game could last up to a week! She attended local schools including Marshall High School where she was in the Usher Club and played the clarinet in the marching band. During her teen years, Marilyn worked as a clerk at Murphy’s Dime store and at Schuler’s. One night while working at Schuler’s, she served the actors from the television show, The Beverly Hillbillies. Upon graduating from high school, Marilyn really wanted her dad to buy her a 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible instead of going to college. Her argument was the car cost the same as a college education. Her father informed her that the college education would last longer than the car, therefore she was going to college. She attended Western Michigan University and received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
While attending Western, she met the man who would become her loving husband of over 57 years, Ronald W. VerMeulen. They met through her friend and college roommate, Dee, who had taken Marilyn to a church picnic to help her decide between two suitors, including Ron, and the rest is history as they say. Not only did Marilyn end up marrying Ron, but Dee and the other young man, Paul, also married and the couples remained friends and got together on New Year’s Eve to celebrate for over 50 years.
It was on June 23, 1962, at First Presbyterian Church in Marshall that Marilyn and Ron exchanged their vows. Shortly after they married, they both enrolled at Michigan State University. Marilyn received her master’s in special education and Ron received his master’s rehabilitation counseling. Together they welcomed two children, Amy and Bruce, into their hearts and home. As parents, both Marilyn and Ron were actively involved in the lives of their children. When the kids were younger their parents were there for each and every event or activity. They enjoyed making countless family memories in everything they did including playing cards when at the lake or taking a car ride to Dean’s in Plainwell for ice cream. For over 10 years the Vermeulens rented a cabin on the beach in South Haven. Marilyn and her husband thoroughly enjoyed the week in South Haven with the family, and they also had friends stop out for a day. These trips were also marked by back-to-school shopping at Hales in downtown South Haven.
Marilyn and Ron were always so proud of everything their children did, and their support didn’t end when their children were older. As their children established lives for themselves, Marilyn and her husband were there, whether helping them clean or even rehab a house or to help them move. Their kids knew all they had to do was ask and their parents would be there. Marilyn and Ron had a special 43rd wedding anniversary as they welcomed their first grandchild into the family on that day. Marilyn said that if she had known how much fun grandchildren were, she would have done it the first time around! Christmas was always a special time, and it was always a big deal too. No one ever went hungry when Marilyn was cooking, and she made sure there were plenty of her famous chocolate chip cookies. There were also annual trips to Cedar Point where Marilyn thoroughly enjoyed the trills of riding roller coasters!
One of the things Marilyn was most known for was her determination. Once her children were able to drive on their own, she went back to school at Davenport College to learn office management. After graduating, Marilyn got a job as an administrative assistant at Tower, Pinkster, and Titus in downtown Kalamazoo. This was something that always made Marilyn proud. She was known for being hardworking, punctual, diligent, and reliable, and in everything she did she produced quality work.
As her family and friends can attest, Marilyn was someone who valued helping others. In addition to being there for her family, Marilyn was there to serve and support others, too. She and her husband were both active in their churches over the years including as Sunday school teachers, deacons, elders, and leaders for youth group and numerous other activities. Marilyn also regularly volunteered at her children’s schools in a variety of ways. She and her husband loved playing cards and games with family and friends, and they gathered with others on a regular basis. Marilyn enjoyed doing counted cross-stitch, listened to a wide variety of music including artists like Elvis Presley and Johnny Mathis, and liked watching football, too. She loved watching the Orange Bowl half-time show and following the San Francisco 49ers back when Joe Montana was the quarterback.
Gracious, selfless, and hardworking are just a few of the words used to describe Marilyn VerMeulen. Always willing to help those in need, faith was a cornerstone in Marilyn’s life. She cherished her husband, children, and grandchildren, and she was happiest when surrounded by their love. Life will never be the same without Marilyn here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.
Marilyn VerMeulen, age 82, died peacefully on August 20, 2021 at Rose Arbor Hospice, Kalamazoo. Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald W. VerMeulen in 2020; two siblings and their spouses: Mildred and Robert Schnaitman and Llyod and Carol Wood; and her nephew, David Wood. Surviving are her children: Amy (Mark) Schreiner and Bruce VerMeulen (Dawn Conroy); grandchildren: Matthew and Laura Schreiner; and many nieces and nephews. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks and stories will be shared on Tuesday (AUG 24) from 5-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Graveside services will be held Wednesday (AUG 25) 10 AM at Mt. EverRest Cemetery. Visit Marilyn’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to North Park Reformed Church, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, or Seita Scholars Program at WMU.