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Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can certainly attest, Marcelyn Bennett truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength and support for others, even in the most difficult of times. Marcee’s primary focus was fostering deep and personal relationships with those around her, and there was nothing she valued more than a lasting friendship. She was well known for her unwavering faith and her strong work ethic. And both were cornerstones throughout her life. Marcee was dedicated to serving those around her in whatever ways she could while expecting nothing in return. She was always willing to go above and beyond to help those in need, touching the lives of so many in the process. Deeply loved, Marcee will be forever missed.
During the first half of the 1940s the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on numerous everyday goods like paper, coffee, and tin. There was much to celebrate in the lives of Ted and Marge Lanting Essenburg during this time as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Marcelyn on May 5, 1943, in Zeeland, Michigan.
Growing up, Marcee was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home in the Muskegon and Whitehall area alongside her siblings, Teddy and Tom. Marcee’s older brother, Teddy, passed away at the young age of four, so Marcee grew to be very close with Tom. The two sometimes fought like many siblings do, but they were always there for each other when it truly mattered. Marcee’s father supported the family by working at the tanning mill, and he was also a semi-pro basketball player for the company team. Her mother remained close to home, dedicating herself to raising her children and providing for her family as a homemaker. Marcee was quite a tomboy, as she grew up alongside her cousins who were all boys. She loved to climb trees and run around outside, and she was also a very skilled ping pong player who could beat any challenger. The Essenburg family owned a home at Maranatha Bible near Muskegon, which is where many priceless memories were made. Marcee was known to spend hours roaming around while her mother worked at the snack shack. She loved spending as much time outdoors as she could.
While pursuing her education, Marcee attended Whitehall Elementary and a local high school in Muskegon, graduating in 1961. She went on to attend Muskegon Community College for a time before switching to Wheaton College during her junior year, where she studied elementary education. Marcee was an excellent student and performed very well, but she often struggled with feeling nervous and insecure.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Marcee as she met the man who would quickly become the love of her life. His name was Nelson Bennett, and the two first met while attending Wheaton and enjoyed a whirlwind romance. It didn’t take long for them to realize that they were made for each other. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Marcee and Nelson were married in September of 1966 at a church in Muskegon. The newlyweds then enjoyed a honeymoon in New Orleans as Nelson had relatives there. Since Nelson was serving in the Army at the time, the couple settled in Italy to step into their wonderful future together.
All who knew Marcee can surely agree that she treasured her family above all else. Over the years, she and Nelson were overjoyed to welcome their two beloved children into their hearts and home. Marcee left Italy in 1969 in order to deliver their firstborn, Theo, in Muskegon, which Nelson was able to be present for. Their second child, Lynn, joined the family in 1971. The Bennetts moved around the area several times, living in Wyoming, Maranatha Bible, Cascade, East Grand Rapids, and even Florida for a brief time. However, no matter where they were living, they always managed to end up with a lake, river, or stream nearby to enjoy. Later in life, Marcee was thrilled to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother. She adored her grandchildren and doted on them whenever she could, and she always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Marcee and Nelson worked together in order to support their family and raise their children. Nelson worked as a financial investor while Marcee remained close to home. She truly loved stepping into her role as a mother, and she thrived when caring for others. Though she was known to be an introvert, Marcee valued private personal connections with those she loved.
Marcee enjoyed attending Bible studies and growing her faith, and she also liked singing in the church choir. Marcee was a prayer warrior and was always willing to pray for anyone. She was a great cook and enjoyed spending time in the kitchen, preparing big meals and making food from scratch. Marcee had a mind for design and an eye for interior decorating. She and Nelson traveled together often and camped all over the United States. Marcee enjoyed going on quiet walks with close friends and spending time in prayer with them. She valued her relationships with others above all else.
When reflecting on the life of Marcelyn Bennet, it is easy to see her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for others. Nothing brought her greater joy than spending time with her loved ones. Marcee poured her heart and soul into everything that she did, and she devoted herself to caring for others whenever she could. She always made sure that her friends and family members knew just how much they were uniquely loved. Though she will be deeply missed, Marcee leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Marcelyn “Marcee” Bennett, of Holland MI, age 79, died May 17, 2022 after a quick battle with multiple myeloma. Marcee was proceeded in death by her husband, Nelson; her parents, Ted & Marge Essenburg; and her brother, Teddy. Marcee is survived by her children (and grandchildren), Theo & Carol Bremer-Bennett (Lashanda, Wendemagen & Aster, Laura, Kidist, Yohannes, Asa, and great grandchild Rosaleigh) and Ben & Lynn Bennett-Carpenter (Nico & Kit and Gracey); brother, Tom & Julie Essenburg. A visitation will be held on June 2 from 1:00- 3:00 pm with a Memorial Service to immediately follow at 3:00pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home—2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W. Grand Rapids, MI 49504. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are suggested to Benjamin’s Hope. To read more about Marcee, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com