Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Sr. Jean Marie Birkman

March 31, 1930 - July 4, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI



Monday, July 8, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Domonican Chapel/Marywood
2025 Fulton St, East
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Tuesday, July 9, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Domonican Chapel/Marywood
2025 Fulton St. East
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.

Grand Rapids Domonican Sisters
2025 Fulton St. East
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Life Story / Obituary


Sister Jean Marie Birkman, OP, of Grand Rapids (born Marjorie Ann Birkman in Hart, MI) died on July 4, 2019. She was 89 years old and a Dominican Sister for 70 years.

Sister Jean Marie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, and an M.A. in Education and an M.A. in Religious Education from Aquinas College.

Sr. Jean Maire was a teacher and often principal at the following schools: St. John School, Essexville; Blessed Sacrament, Grand Rapids; St. Joseph, West Branch; St. Philomena, Beal City; Holy Rosary Academy, Bay City; St. Michael, Maple Grove; Holy Family, Saginaw; St. Boniface, Bay City; Sacred Heart, Mt. Pleasant; Marywood Academy, and St. Joseph the Worker, Beal City where she was both principal and parish minister. Sister Jean Marie next embarked on a ministry of service in pastoral work at Holy Trinity Parish, Comstock Park and Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Wyoming.

Her buoyant personality, resourceful spirit and strong faith were put to the test by the sudden, unexpected loss of vision due to temporal arteritis, an inflammation of the arteries that leads to blindness. She accepted total blindness with faith and trust in God as well as gratitude for her supportive community. As long as she was able, she continued to minister via phone calls to parishioners at Holy Name of Jesus Parish. She also served on the Advisory Council of the Dominican Associate Life board. Through her attentive listening, deep faith, wise words and gentle heart, she ministered to visiting Sisters and friends.

Sister Jean Marie is survived by her sisters, Donna VanderZanden of Chicago, Illinois and

Judy Coulier of Fruitport, Michigan; her brother Donald (Debby) Birkman of Walkerville, Michigan; her sister-in-law Charlene Birkman of Hart, Michigan; and her cousin Sister Nancy Malburg, OP; nieces, nephews, friends and Sisters in her Dominican Community.

Sister Jean Marie will repose at Dominican Chapel/Marywood, 2025 Fulton Street East, with visitation on Monday, July 8 from 6:00-7:00 pm followed by a Remembering Service at 7:00 pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, July 9 at 11:00 am at Dominican Chapel/Marywood. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery. Memorials in Sister Jean Marie Birkman’s name may be made to the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters.

Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes- heritage@lifestory.com