Life Story / Obituary
Marilyn Marie Schwaiger lived a long and contented life, rich in the joy of family. A humble woman who welcomed every day as a gift, Marilyn relished nurturing her loved ones and creating a loving and supportive home. Whether tending her flowers, baking a delicious treat, or watching a favorite show, Marilyn was grateful for her blessings and happy to share them with others. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Marilyn was cherished by many.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as Arthur and Gladys (Falk) Thomas welcomed their daughter Marilyn to their family on February 5, 1932.
Having grown up during the Great Depression and World War II, Marilyn’s earliest years became the foundation of the rest of her life. She attended and graduated from Mount Mercy Academy, a parochial school just north of downtown Grand Rapids, and valued family, hard work, and resourcefulness.
She and her husband Eugene Schwaiger made their home and raised six children in Grand Rapids. While Eugene worked as the Corporate Maintenance Supervisor for all of the Steketees department stores, Marilyn dedicated herself to the home and children.
Family and tending to her yard and home were her joys. She enjoyed working in her yard, gardening, and growing flowers. From carefully planting and weeding to witnessing the bounty of her efforts, every stage of the work was a pleasure. She and Eugene also had a cottage at Hess Lake that she enjoyed caring for and spending time with loved ones at. Marilyn enjoyed motherhood and was thrilled to become a grandmother. Gathering with family was her greatest joy, and often the time together included eating her freshly baked pies, bread, coffee cake, or cookies.
Marilyn enjoyed the simple things, like a beer and a hot dog, going out for Mexican food, and participating in area wineries’ wine tastings. She played penny slots at casinos and liked country music; Charlie Rich was her favorite artist. She also played the piano; Joseph Kosma’s Autumn Leaves was her favorite song to play. An animal lover, Marilyn enjoyed having a horse for a time and liked dogs and hummingbirds too. Watching Star Trek and other science fiction shows was always an interest.
The heart of her family, Marilyn will long be remembered and so very missed. She leaves a legacy of beautiful memories that will long live in the hearts and lives of those she so dearly loved. Whenever we take the time to enjoy a hummingbird’s magic, a freshly baked cookie, canine companionship, or listen to a classic tune by the Silver Fox, we celebrate the many ways Marilyn gifted our lives. In this way, we will keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Marilyn M. (Thomas) Schwaiger, age 91, of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on April 15, 2023. She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene, in 2019. Marilyn is survived by her children, Lynn (Kevin) McDaniel, Deborah DeWit, Eugene (Kathy) Schwaiger, Brian (Diane) Schwaiger, John (Sue) Schwaiger and Gail (Mike) Kats; 15 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren and special friends, Jackie and MaryLou. There will be no visitation, and private family interment services will be held at Rosedale Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.