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Marvin W. Williams

• Sep 29, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Marvin Wayne Williams, 81, of Spring Lake passed away peacefully on September 25, 2017, at home.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Berwick and Inez Mossman Williams, of Burton, Michigan. He is survived by his wife, Sandra, with whom he celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on September 1; his sister, Lee Ann and husband, Grant, of Swartz Creek and his children, Matthew of Mount Dora, Florida, Paul and wife, Wendy, of Grayling, Michigan, daughter Ellen and husband, Craig Byron, of Macon, Georgia, and daughter Betsy and husband, Tom Dansbury, of Enterprise, Alabama. His greatest joy came from engaging and watching his grandchildren, Taylor Rae (and partner Tyler), Grace, Julia, Will and great-grandson Jayce learn and grow. He enjoyed the love and affection of the extended Phillips family and friendships that spanned his lifetime.

Born in Dexter, Missouri, in 1936, Marv grew up in Flint, Michigan, where he attended Mandeville Schools. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force and spent two years of his service stationed in Spain, which engendered a lifelong love of the Spanish language. He furthered that love by attending and graduating from the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico, after his discharge. Heeding the call by John F. Kennedy to serve his country, he later joined the CIA, where he worked as a field agent in Latin America. Upon leaving the agency, he returned to Michigan with his young family where he was appointed the first executive director of the Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan when it was in its infancy. Marv considered his work for that body to be the most important of his life.

Under his leadership, the foundation initiated a statewide census of the population, expanded the summer camp, laid the foundation for the development of home treatment and created a scholarship program. Ever the humble man, Marv would never take full credit for those accomplishments, always citing the support, wise counsel and friendship he received from Bob Molhoek and Dr. John Penner. Marv would later move his growing family to the Upper Peninsula, where he would serve as a social worker for Community Mental Health for Alger-Marquette counties until retiring. Following retirement, he moved to Florida to help care for his father and mother-in-law, Albert and Bernice Phillips, and became a well-known and respected handyman in Mount Dora, Florida. Working with his hands had always brought him pleasure, which was magnified when that work brought people happiness.

Marv would be the first to say that a measure of person isn’t the work one does, but the relationships one keeps. At every step of his life, his family, wife Sandra, children Matt, Paul, Ellen and Betsy, father and mother-in-law, sister Lee Ann, brothers and sisters-in-law, daughter-in-law Wendy, sons-in-law Craig and Tom, nieces, nephews, and eventually grandchildren were his greatest source of joy. Marv had a way with people. He was a magnificent storyteller, captivating people with his voice and his choice of words. He could create intimacy and allow others to unfold their lives to him in conversation, and this meant that his life was filled with too many dear friends to count, all of whom Marv loved deeply. His was a life well lived and well loved.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Marv’s honor may be made to the Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan and designated for the scholarship fund, which Marv established in 1971.