Cover photo for Mary Jean Zielke's Obituary
Mary Jean Zielke Profile Photo

Mary Jean Zielke

May 8, 1936 — June 1, 2024


Mary Jean Zielke

May 8, 1936 – June 1, 2024


Battle Creek, Michigan – On June 1, 2024,  Mary Jean (Martus) Zielke, a treasured mother,   grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully at age 88.    The middle child of William and Stella Martus,  Mary grew up with her two brothers on a farm in Cass City,MI.   While their father worked at Ford Motor Company ,  her mother was the first woman school bus driver in the state of Michigan.  “Jean,” and as she was called by  her family,  grew up riding the yellow school bus driven by her mom.  She graduated from Cass City High School and moved to Mount Pleasant to attend Central Michigan University and graduated with her degree in Elementary Education in 1958.  

Immediately after graduation, she accepted her lifelong teaching position with Springfield Schools.  After teaching for nearly 10 years, she met the love of her life, Wayne Zielke, at Springfield Elementary.  Wayne was a speech therapist and he too, had a love of children.  They married in June of 1968 and welcomed their first daughter, Andrea in 1969 and their second daughter, Kristi, in 1973. After a long illness, Wayne passed away in 1977.  Mary was a strong wife, mother, and teacher who devotedly cared for him during his illness and nurtured her two young daughters all while continuing to teach first and second grade.  Mary, always fiercely independent and determined to provide for her girls, bought her first and forever home in Springfield.  Her girls were the center of her life and during their summer vacations they created awesome memories traveling extensively to across the United States.   

In 1992, Mary retired after 33.5 years of teaching in the Springfield/Battle Creek Public Schools.  She was always delighted when former students were excited to see her out and about the town.  She always remembered their names and enjoyed hearing about their lives.   Both before and in retirement, Mary loved attending church, meeting with her former colleagues, traveling, and taking care of her plants.   Her face lit up with joy when she was with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She had saved her favorite children’s books from her classroom and loved to read them over and over with them.   

She always inspired both Andrea and Kristi through her examples of hard work, independence, perseverance, dedication, and love and they are forever grateful.  

Mary Jean Zielke was preceded in death by her parents and her husband Wayne.  She is survived by her brothers William E. Martus of Richmond, Indiana and Robert Martus of Flushing, Michigan, daughters Andrea Smith of Boise, Idaho and Kristi Granger of Springfield, Michigan, sons-in-law Randy Granger and Brian Smith, grandchildren Connor Smith, Sarah (Smith) Sayler, Anthony Zielke, Devan Washington, Zachary Granger, Aubree (Granger) Robison, and great-grandchildren Jacey and Paxton Robison and Colt and Murphy Sayler.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Thursday, June 6, 2024 at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home & Cremation Services.  Funeral service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 7, 2024 at the funeral home, with interment to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.   In lieu of flowers, the family is asking guests to bring school supplies to the funeral home or monetary donation may also be made to buy school supplies for children.  Memories and condolences may be left for the family at            




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Past Services


Thursday, June 6, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, June 7, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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