Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Marilyn Schwallier

May 17, 1927 - July 16, 2023
Grand Rapids, MI



Tuesday, July 25, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
Live Stream
St Alphonsus Catholic Church
224 Carrier ST NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
1 (616) 451-3043

Visitation for one hour prior to Mass

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At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Holland Home Foundation
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Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
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Life Story / Obituary


Generous and kind, Marilyn Eunice Schwallier lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. Her twinkly eyes and welcoming smile were readily shared.. She was straightforward and firmly believed that "what can't be cured must be endured". She faced life's challenges with signature style and confidence. Marilyn welcomed each day as a gift and always gave her best to ensure the good care of those she so dearly loved. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Marilyn was an inspiration for all who were blessed to know her.

The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace and a booming economy gave rise to a higher standard of living for most. The world quickly changed with the inventions of washing machines, vacuum cleaners, the band-aid, and the first automobile with a combustion engine. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade when a person's success was largely determined by their ability to identify their desires and work to make them a reality. Locally, this vibrant decade grew even brighter for Ernest and Lillian (Nelson) LaPointe as they welcomed their daughter Marilyn to their family on May 17, 1927, in Grand Rapids.

The youngest of three children, Marilyn grew up in the good company of her two older brothers in the family's home on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. While her father worked at AT&T, her mother was a homemaker. Growing up during the Depression, Marilyn developed a serious illness at a young age, losing half of her hearing and requiring a hearing aid from then on. Despite the challenges that came with her hearing loss, Marilyn never let it get in her way or slow her down. She and her brothers played together, and once, one of her brothers shot her in the butt. Afraid of what their parents would do if they found out, he paid Marilyn ten cents not to tell them.

She attended school for those with hearing loss and deafness, learned to play the piano, and graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 1945. She also liked going downtown to the dance at the halls. After high school, she attended college and earned an associate's degree. She then took a job as a bookkeeper at Bissell.

In the late '40s, while dancing one evening, she met Robert Schwallier. Over time, after seeing each other more, she finally let Robert drive her home after a night of dancing. Soon, they were in love and setting their hearts on building a future together. On August 11, 1951, the happy couple married at Blessed Sacrament Church.

Following a honeymoon in the Porcupine Mountains, the newlyweds settled in Conklin, Michigan. For a time, Robert worked for Goodyear but later took up farming, and Marilyn dedicated her time to being a homemaker. The family grew to include eight children, born from 1952-1963. Pregnant for the better part of eleven years, Marilyn's daughter Mary remembers that her mom always seemed to be wearing her green maternity shirt with white polka dots. Her son Chuck remembers the valuable lesson he learned while feeling sorry for himself after losing a basketball game. Learning of the loss and observing his response, Marilyn just said, "Hey, someone had to lose," and that was that.

When the farm didn't make it, Robert took a job with the city of Grand Rapids. The family moved to the city, where they joined St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, and the kids all attended the church's school. Mary ran her home with solid structures and routines, including doing laundry every day and having the kids help her clean the house on Saturdays. Marilyn communicated with her neighbor ladies by putting notes on the inside of the curtains. And, during her spartan spare time, she enjoyed getting together for coffee time with her coffee ladies. Marilyn was the first-ever grand prize winner of the Blessed Sacrament raffle one year, winning a new car!

An indoor person, Marilyn was a prolific letter writer. As it was difficult for her to hear phone calls and she didn't like technology, letters were her way to stay in touch. Every week, she would send letters to family, writing thousands of letters over her lifetime filled with lovely accounts of her family's doings and milestones. When Mary lived in Hawaii, she received a letter from her mother every Saturday.

Having raised a family of eight children, Marilyn always found time to look after others, including Aunt Eunice Nelson. As Aunt Eunice aged and required more support, Marilyn drove her to doctor appointments and took her grocery shopping in her red Ford Taurus, often stopping for lunch just for the fun of it. She was always available to her kids and grandkids. From making meals when they moved to watching the children, she was happy to lend a hand in any way she could. Granddaughter Rachel remembers spending the night at her grandparents' and waking up to what she thought was a thunderstorm; it was just Marilyn snoring. Marilyn happily hosted countless family gatherings on holidays and birthdays; on Sundays, she just liked having people over and feed them.

Though finances provided little opportunity for travel, and Robert didn't like to fly, Marilyn shared a memorable trip to Washington D.C. with the coffee girls. She also took one trip out West and another to Florida. In 2015, while caring for Marilyn, Robert fell and broke his hip. As a result, the couple moved into Fulton Manor, an assisted living facility. Sadly, Robert died on April 6, 2015, at the age of 93. In time, Marilyn moved to Raybrook Manor, where she lived the rest of her days.

Having celebrated her 96th birthday in May, Marilyn's family finds comfort in many treasured memories. Though they will long miss her baking her famous sour cream sugar cookies, they also feel certain Marilyn is dancing in heaven. And with restored hearing, she's delighting in every song and catching every word spoken by the family and friends she has joyfully reunited with.

Marilyn E. Schwallier, age 96, passed away on July 16, 2023. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert; daughter, Barbara Graves; and brothers, Howard (Lee) and Rodney (Betty) LaPointe. Marilyn is survived by her children, Christine (Charles) Burg, Mary Schwallier, Lois (James) Jagers, Geri (Stephen) Dunn, Teresa (Richard) Evans, Robert (Christine) Schwallier, Doug (Ellen) Graves and Charles (Lisa) Schwallier; 12 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Donna Schwallier; and many nieces and nephews. The family would like to extend a sincere thank you to the staff of Raybrook Manor and Faith Hospice for the compassionate and loving care provided to Marilyn. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, at St Alphonsus Catholic Church, 224 Carrier St NE. Visitation will be for one hour prior to Mass. Interment in Resurrection Cemetery. Contributions in her memory may be made to Holland Home Foundation. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Marilyn's life story, submit a favorite memory or photo, or sign the guestbook online.