Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Marlene Davidson

June 3, 1950 - September 4, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, September 16, 2022
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM EDT
Third Reformed Church
2060 Michigan Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Friday, September 16, 2022
11:30 AM EDT
Live Stream
Third Reformed Church
2060 Michigan Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


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.

Crossroads Eldercare Options
2311 East Beltline SE Suite 103
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 485-3365
Web Site

Alzheimer's Association
25200 Telegraph Road Suite 100
Southfield, MI 48033
(248) 351-0280
Web Site


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
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Marlene Davidson, a believer in Jesus Christ, and that all things is predetermined, lived a life of loving her family, friends, and the families and children she watched over the years. Marlene was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend who will be dearly missed.

Marlene Jean VanVliet was born on June 3, 1950, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to the proud parents of Herbert and Thurlene (Draught) VanVliet. Born the oldest of three children, her birth brought much joy and happiness to the family home. Born in the 1950’s, her life began with exciting times of music, actors, and sports. She enjoyed singing to Elvis Presley, and the Beach Boys. Movies or TV were just as entertaining; dazing into James Dean’s eyes, rooting for the Detroit Tigers, or huddling around the television to watch the latest I Love Lucy and Johnny Carson Show.

Her Christian faith was strongly rooted from her family and church family at Third Reformed Church, where she worshipped her entire life. Marlene attended Hillcrest Elementary School and later Central High School where she enjoyed playing the clarinet. She did however make sure everyone knew she did not like school, and never knew why she had to study something that she was never going to use. As a family, they went on several family trips, but her favorite was the memorable road trip out west, especially visiting the Grand Canyon. Marlene joked about sharing the back seat with her rowdy siblings, everyone uncomfortable from the heat, but a highlight that impressed her was the makeshift air conditioner rigged on their Plymouth Valiant. At a very young age, Marlene had a natural way with children and babysat as much as she could. As a young girl, she was so excited to spend time at the beach in Grand Haven, as part of her babysitting job!

One evening while visiting Mr. Fables' restaurant, she struck up a conversation with William “Bill” Davidson, who was a cook there at the time. Before Marlene left the restaurant, Bill worked up the courage to ask her on a date and the rest was history! After they both graduated high school, they got engaged. Bill was drafted into the United States Army, but during a short leave from the war, he called her to plan a wedding. In nineteen days, the wedding was planned and were married on November 19, 1971, at Third Reformed Church. During Bill’s service, they moved to the Fort Gordon base in Georgia, but quickly returned home to Michigan after his service was complete.

After renting for a few years, they bought their first home on Burr Oak, on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids. Bill and Marlene were eager to start their own family, and were blessed with two wonderful daughters: Lisa and Amanda. Marlene stayed home with the girls and enjoyed playing games and coloring. Nap times were scheduled from 12pm to 2pm, so she wouldn’t miss her daily soap operas. In the evening hours, she enjoyed various crafts, including ceramics, painting, stamping, macramé, and cross stitch. Marlene also brought her creativity to her homemade casseroles, but was spot on with her delicious breads, muffins, and especially her well known Dutch apple pie! In 1985, the family moved to Devonshire Drive, and loved living on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids, which remained their home for over thirty-five years. As her girls got older, Marlene started watching kids, mostly families she knew from church.

Into her later years, Marlene enjoyed visiting with her close group of friends. When not at one another’s homes, she was known for her long conversations on the phone! Marlene continued her babysitting and spending time with her grandchildren. As her children and grandchildren shared their favorite memories of Marlene, they all were about either games, Barbies, coloring, thoughtful giving or her Dutch apple pie.

She loved playing games which revealed her competitive side. She was determined to be the first to scream “BINGO” or “RACKO” with her arms in the air. A family game of “Spoons” was risky as it was prone to injury. Marlene was known for ripping off buttons and leaving scratch marks as she fought for that last spoon. The Game Show Network on TV was customary and her dreams of being a contestant on the Price Is Right was spoken of often.

Her daughters and granddaughters knew that Grandma was Barbie’s stylist. Marlene enjoyed asking “What kind of hair style do you want today?” After the hair was nicely done, she made sure Barbie’s outfit was top notch, until all Barbies were done.

Coloring was an essential staple for Marlene. Regardless if it was with children or adults, she enjoyed coloring anything. She liked experimenting with color schemes and different types of utensils. When she stopped, it was then that she realized that her fingers hurt from so much coloring.

Marlene was known to find a gift for someone, whether it was in one of the MANY magazines she received, an advertisement on TV, or the store she was in. For Marlene, it was her way to show that she was thinking of you. Whether it was something small from the dollar store, a beach towel for every birthday or holiday, or even her Oldsmobile Intrigue and Dodge Journey (both are still driven today).

For family functions, her job was to make her Dutch apple pie. Marlene has written down her recipe, provided lessons, but still, her famous Dutch apple pie cannot be duplicated.

Sadly, a couple of years ago, she developed significant signs of Alzheimer's and moved into the memory unit at Byron Center Manor so she could receive the care she needed. The days for her were long, but she enjoyed craft time, and colored as much as she could. Her memorable life will live on in the hearts and minds of her loved ones as well as the many special people she touched over the years.

Marlene J. Davidson, age 72, of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on September 4, 2022. She was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert and Thurlene VanVliet. Marlene is survived by her husband, Bill; their children Lisa (Chad) Davis, Amanda (Brian) Warschak; grandchildren Taylor (Kyle) Deur, Logan and Trevor Davis, Owen and Anya Warschak; sister, Laurie VanVliet; brother, James (Kathleen) VanVliet; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Al (Dana) Davidson, Ray (Yvonne) Davidson, Brenda (Wayne) Thomas, Laurie Davidson; as well as several nieces and nephews.

The service to remember and celebrate Marlene’s life will be held at Third Reformed Church, 2060 Michigan Street NE on Friday, September 16, 2022. Visitation at 10:00 am, Celebration of Life at 11:30 am and a light reception to follow. To share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com