Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Marlene Eldred

May 3, 1940 - May 22, 2021
Grand Rapids, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Marlene Eldred was an exceptionally generous person. A lover of all people, she found great happiness putting the needs of others ahead of her own. Living a lifetime of selflessly giving of her time and resources to her family, she will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her.

Marlene’s story begins in the year of 1940. The effects of the Great Depression were finally beginning to ease and the nation was optimistic about the future. The entertainment industry was booming with the release of major motion pictures and jazz music on the rise. Edwin and Helen (Wheeler) Stanley welcomed their newborn daughter, Marlene Marie, home on May 3rd in Battle Creek, Michigan. Her birth brought much joy and happiness to her loving parents.

Marlene lived a happy childhood in Grand Rapids. She attended local schools including South High. She eventually graduated from Union High School. Marlene met William “Bill” Eldred at Pilgrim Tabernacle Church, now known as Berkley Hills Church. Sharing many commonalities, they joined in marriage on June 2, 1956 at their home church. Eager to settle down they started a family of their very own on the north west side of the city. Together they raised four wonderful children with the same strong foundation of faith they had during their childhood.

Marlene was an exceptional mother. She loved to cook many of the traditional meals of her time. Most every meal included bread and butter, meat and potatoes, and finished with dessert. Meticulous as well as frugal, Marlene would make out a menu each week and then grocery shop on Wednesday for what she needed to prepare the family meals throughout the week. On these days, she would have to drive Bill to work as they shared a car. She took her role as a homemaker very seriously and enjoyed following a routine.

As a family they shared many lasting memories. They enjoyed packing up their camper on Fridays and leaving as soon as Bill returned home from work. They cherished the years they were able to travel to Florida in the winter months to visit Bill’s dad who had a place down there. When travelling, they would stop at roadside parks to eat their homemade meals and take in the area sights. Only on special occasions did they enjoy a dinner out, but a real treat was Sunday lunches at Schnitzels! Marlene’s children never doubted her love for them. Even when they were grown she was known to tell them she loved them over the phone and never passed on a hug or a kiss when they were together.

She and Bill had a special bond. They were active members at the Neil Fongers American Legion Post. For many years, they enjoyed calling Bingo as well as playing. They grew fond of travel and enjoyed several memorable trips to Hawaii before Bill passed away. After Bill passed away, her daughters took her back to visit the Hawaiian Islands. A beach and sun lover, she enjoyed more time in Florida during the winter months. During her years without Bill, Marlene kept herself busy. She had a knack for gift wrapping and making packages look great. For a short time, she worked at a floral shop tying bows on packages as she was excellent at making them! She was often knitting baby blankets, sweaters, and mittens that she would give away. Although she was not one to volunteer to babysit, Marlene enjoyed each of her grandchildren and looked forward to special times with them. Affectionate as well as loving, she longed to be in the presence of her loved ones.

Marlene enjoyed many special pastimes. In addition to her love of knitting, cooking, and traveling, she enjoyed watching the popular Golden Girls television series as well as Dog the Bounty Hunter. Marlene was a loyal friend to many. She never held a grudge and was always the first to forgive. She learned to like her independence and had a close circle of friends to keep her company. Her spunky personality and endless energy will be dearly missed by her close friends and loved ones. May they always feel the warmth of her presence any time they are gathered together and may her memories be eternal.

Marlene Marie Eldred (Stanley), age 81 of Grand Rapids, was ushered into heaven peacefully with family holding her hands. She married her love Bill, on June 2, 1956. He preceded her in death in 1996. Together they raised four children who survive: Cindy (John) Eldred-Schleinz, Wendy (Robert) Dean, Bill (Erica) Eldred, Amy (John) Erhardt; grandchildren Sarah (Johnny) Hernandez, Nathan (Jessica) Michalski, Ashley (Robert) Matulaitis-Thorndill, Megan (Jason) Roberts, Kailey Fras, Jami (Austin) Randel, Jacob (fiancé Chelsea) Erhardt, Jennifer Erhardt; nine great-grandchildren Leah, Audrey, Emma, Cruz, Emmerson, Breckon, Kipton, Raegan, Kinslee.

Marlene was also preceded in death by her brother, Ron, and is survived by her four siblings. Marlene was a homemaker whose work was her family. She took great pride in keeping her house and making delicious dinners every night. She loved her Lord. Her sense of humor was second to none. She loved to travel, especially to Florida in the winter – a love that was passed down to her girls. We’d like to thank the staff at St. Ann’s for their compassionate care given to mom. We’d also like to recognize Spectrum Health Hospice for supporting us during this time and their kind, gentle, loving care given to our mom.

“Honor her for all her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31:31) We lean on the promise from God that we will see you again. Until that time we will honor you always. Mom- you loved well! We love and miss you!

A private service was held with interment in Rosedale Memorial Park. To share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com