On 911 at 3:00 PM, Marilyn N. Taylor, passed from this life into Heaven after being cared for briefly by her family and the wonderful staff at Glenn Arbor Hospice. She was 94½ - she always added the ½. Marilyn was born on February 14, 1925, in White Pigeon, Michigan, the second child of James and Marguerite (Cady) Poyser. She was originally named Norma Marilyn, but 2 weeks after her birth, another baby was born down the street and named Norma, so her mother changed her name to Marilyn Norma on the spot. When she was three, the family moved to Battle Creek, living on Territorial Road until her parents had passed.
Her older brother Bob was one for getting into trouble. Before moving to Battle Creek, he taught three-year old Marilyn how to throw stones at windows. They broke the basement windows out of the Congregational Church. Although only three, she remembered being happy to move from White Pigeon, for fear of being arrested.
Her father believed all children should learn three things: to swim, dive, and ice skate. Since those were his sports, he taught Marilyn and Bob at Goguac Lake and at Irving Park when the lagoon froze over. She excelled, and in turn taught her own daughters, which made for great fun. Except for the diving part. She also became a league bowler and sent articles listing her high scores to the family.
Marilyn attended Roosevelt Elementary, Southwestern Junior High, and was a 1943 graduate of Battle Creek Central. She excelled at secretarial and administrative skills, taking the Civil Service Exam after graduation. She spent her working career at Fort Custer, the Federal Center, and the VA Hospital where she worked in the library until her retirement. At Fort Custer, she met Joseph Charles (Joe) Taylor, an Army Tech 5 Private. They were joined in marriage in 1946. That marriage ended in divorce after 23 years.
Joe and Marilyn had two daughters, Susan Diane and Sharon Kay. During their early years, Marilyn was the consummate stay at home mom – laundry on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, groceries on Wednesday, cleaning on Saturday. She liked predictability and routine. She was the eternal “room mother” for both girls – helping their classes do special projects like baking bread. She was also a Blue Bird leader for many years. They had amazing Halloween costume parties for the neighborhood kids and the girl’s school friends. The garage became a fall wonderland, with games, prizes, and lots of food.
Marilyn attended Lakeview Baptist Church as a teenager as that was considered the “best” youth group, and all her friends were there. After marriage, they attended Urbandale Methodist – now Christ United Methodist – made many friends and became active in an adult social/study group. After the divorce, Marilyn and a friend decided they needed to get back to church and joined Trinity United Methodist. She was active in the women’s circle, in Sunday school, and held many offices and positions – sometimes several at once, often true of smaller congregations. She loved baking fresh goodies for coffee hour and looked down her nose at store bought cookies. When Trinity closed, the congregation joined with Chapel Hill United Methodist. She grudgingly adjusted to the change as she attended informational meetings before the merger – she liked to be informed. She was also an informed voter at election time and was an election worker for most of her retirement years. She was a volunteer at Leila/BC Bronson for many years and enjoyed ferrying patients to their appointments. She was a Red Hatter. She loved watching golf on TV, was an avid Tigers fan, as well as of the University of Michigan, attending football games with her grandson.
As a young woman, Marilyn became a Charter and life-long member of the Alpha Phi Beta, Eta Chi Chapter Business Sorority composed of women who worked in the business world, making forever friends. They met regularly, organized social events, and raised money for worthy causes with their rummage sales. The group still exists. She was a life-long learner and an avid reader, being a member of ILR and attending 3 or 4 classes each semester. She often claimed she was going broke learning new things. She also loved going to the library where books by her favorite authors were set aside for her.
Marilyn caught the travelling bug in 1989, when her daughter’s family did a pulpit exchange in England. After visiting, there were more and more places she wanted to see. She and travelling companion, Charlotte, took trips to various places in Michigan, the U.S, the United Kingdom, Europe, Scandinavian countries, and Mexico. Many post cards were sent and souvenirs purchased. Those souvenirs began her penchant for collecting things: teddy bears, sheep, hedge hogs, fairy gardens, “smoker” figures, carolers, Battle Creek plaques, Willow Tree – you name it and she has a collection of it. If you want to start a collection of any kind, the family would love to help you with that!
She loved flowers and had beautiful gardens around her home. She also loved feeding birds with feeders outside every window. She was blunt and opinionated, had a wicked sense of humor, was fiercely independent and remained in her own home until 3 days before she passed. She was still driving. When picking up friends for church, she was told she was a good driver for an old lady.
Marilyn loved family gatherings, attending her grand children’s events when she could, and enjoyed sporting events, piano recitals, and band concerts when her great grandchildren performed. She was very proud of each one’s accomplishments whether they were academic, musical, sporting, performing arts, or 4-H competitions. She leaves beautiful memories of who she was, and a giant unfilled hole in our hearts.
Marilyn was pre-deceased by her parents, Jim and Marge Poyser, her brother Bob and beloved sister-in-law, Gloria Poyser, daughter Sharon (Taylor) LaLonde, son-in law Gregory Wolfe, nephew Jim and niece Janelle Poyser, best friends since school Marion, Mary, Dorcas (Pinkie), and her travelling companion, Charlotte. She is survived by her daughter Susan (Sue) Wolfe, grandchildren David (Christina) Wolfe, Aimee (Steve) Reasoner, and Bethany (Jon) Steele; seven great grandchildren: Katey, Abby, James, Lexie, and Isaac Reasoner, Patrick and Kyle Wolfe, great grand dogs Pixie and Goose Steele, great nephews Craig and Matt Poyser and their families, and her favorite cousin, Phyllis Gray. She is also survived by her beloved fur babies Buffy, Missy, and BJ, to whom she was the crazy cat lady. She was loved and will be missed by many whose lives she touched over the years.
At her request, cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Wednesday, September 18 at 12 noon, at the Trinity Community Center (formerly Trinity United Methodist Church) 10 W. Bidwell Street, with Pastors Dave Dryer and Chad Parmalee officiating. Visitation will be at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home, 703 SW Capital Avenue in Battle Creek on Tuesday, September 17 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm and one hour prior to the service. Donations can be made to Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, the Humane Society, Binder Park Zoo, or the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Marilyn’s memory. Arrangements were handled by the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home & Cremation Services.
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