Wednesday, January 29, 2020
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Rosary will be prayed at 7:30
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Mary Pickel lived a life of purpose while holding the ones she loved near to her heart. She was proud of her heritage and loved passing on the traditions and dishes that were a part of her history. Mary was deeply devoted to her family, and she loved nothing more than becoming a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother many times over. Life will never be the same without Alice here, but she leaves behind a brilliantly colored tapestry of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The year 1929 is often recalled as the year that the historic crash of the stock market sent our nation and much of the world spiraling down into the depths of the Great Depression. The years that followed were cloaked in extreme hardship as a soaring unemployment rate affected nearly all Americans across our great land. It was just prior to this historic day that Joseph and Magdelene (Rutkowsky) Matulaitis were focused on an exciting time in their lives as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as summer was in full swing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1929. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Mary Alice drew her first breath on July 13th. She was one of five children as she was raised in the family homes on Scribner Street alongside her siblings, Margaret, Joseph, Edward, and Dorothy.
In many ways Mary was a young girl who was typical of her generation. Her father supported their bustling family as a tool and die maker while her mother had more than enough to fill her time and attention with raising their children and tending to their home. Mary and her family were members of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, and she attended Catholic Central High School. In her free time she enjoyed watching hockey, gardening, and baking, which was something she loved throughout her entire life.
New and exciting changes were in store for Mary when she met the young man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Darwin Pickel, and it didn’t take them long to fall in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Mary and Darwin were married. Together they welcomed seven children including Robert, Bruce, Pamela, David, Nancy, Douglas, Brian into their hearts and home. As a mother Mary was very protective and a strict disciplinarian, but she was also so loving and always had the best interests of her children at heart. She was an amazing cook, and since she was also 100% Lithuanian many of her most famous dishes were from her heritage. Among the family favorites were virzkeitis, ausukes, and cookies. Later in life Mary was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother. Altogether she was blessed with 14 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. In her down time, Mary liked to watch Lawrence Welk.
Mary Pickel was a kind, hardworking, and faithful woman who made the most of each and every day she was given. She gave everything her all, and in doing so she accomplished so many things of which to be proud. There was no greater gift in her life than her family, and Mary was happiest when surrounded by their love. Deeply cherished, she will be forever missed.
PICKEL – Mary Alice Pickel age 90, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Darwin; grandson, Robert D. Pickel; sister, Margaret Skrzycki; brothers, Joe and Marcy Matulaitis and Ed Matulaitis. She is survived by her children, Robert and Carol Pickel, Bruce and Sue Pickel, Pam and Tom Bradfield, David Pickel, Nancy and Jeff Shusta, Doug Pickel, Brian and Sheila Pickel and Robert and Sue Lange; 14 grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; sister, Dorothy Peterson; sister-in-law, Shirley Matulaitis; many nieces and nephews. Mary was a longtime member of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 AM on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 224 Carrier St NE. Family will receive visitors on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM, with a Rosary at 7:30, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Contributions in her memory may be made to Pilgrim Manor. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Mary’s life story, submit a memory, photo, or to sign the guestbook online.