Obituaries » Marilyn Wheeler
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A private Christian burial has taken place at West Cooper Cemetery. No services are scheduled. Memorial contributions in Marilyn’s memory may be given to a church of one’s choice.
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Age 71, passed away and entered heaven on Sunday, October 1, 2023. Marilyn was born in Kalamazoo in 1952 to Ralph and Hattie (Doorlag) Van Zee. She moved into memory care assisted living halfway through the COVID pandemic and was there for three years and one day. Marilyn accepted Christ as her Savior in a Sunday School class as a young teenager and immediately sought out God’s will. Marilyn graduated from the old Kalamazoo Central High School and then started a three-year nursing program. She served God through a 42-year long nursing career, that ended in 2016. During her time as a nurse, she worked in the recovery unit for two years, the critical care units for 20 years and then another 20 years in out-patient short stay. Marilyn read her King James Bible 20 times, prayed for her patients for the day and always made it to work by 6:00 AM, which she called “o’dark hundred”. As she became closer to God, she became quieter and would spend more time with her patients, in place of keeping up with the personal lives of her co-workers. Marilyn could recite the entire chapter of St. John 14, which she learned at an early age. Marilyn was with her husband, Dan, for 35 years and was married to him for 34 years. She learned all about tractors from her father and instructed Dan on what tractors and implements to buy. She eventually inherited her family’s 1941 Ford 8N tractor. Marilyn mowed the grass with a good spirit and would sing old Christian songs like “I Have Joy in my Heart”. She liked to bake cookies and pies and enjoyed giving them away on special days. She made her last pie in 2019, with Dan’s assistance due to her disease taking hold. Marilyn designed two of the four homes she and her husband built. Some of her best times were spent body surfing in Good Harbor Bay, walking the trails in northern Michigan, attending church services in Traverse City all the way down to North Carolina, dinners and lectures at Hillsdale College and just being at home. Marilyn could talk to anyone. While on vacation, Marilyn would come to work at the North Carolina race shops of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Petty Enterprises, along with her husband. She once became the center of attention in the garages at Charlotte Motor Speedway because she wore a tractor T-shirt. The crew members of several teams started to talk “tractor talk” with her. Being the center of attention was never in Marilyn’s character. Her humbleness was learned early in life, being the youngest in the family and having her love for Christ. Marilyn lived her life by Philippians 4:11-13. She is survived by her husband, Dan. A private Christian burial has taken place at West Cooper Cemetery. No services are scheduled. Memorial contributions in Marilyn’s memory may be given to a church of one’s choice.