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Jinna Wenger

• Mar 6, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Jinna Wenger died Sunday, March 3, 2019, of a sudden stroke at her home in Grand Haven, Michigan. She was born October 22, 1948, and spent her early childhood in Coopersville, where her late parents, Robert and Virginia (Rawn) Wenger, owned Wenger's 5 & 10-cent store. When the family moved to Grand Haven in 1959, they built one of the earliest homes on North Shore Estates Road and developed an enduring affection for the shores of Lake Michigan.

Jinna graduated from high school in 1966 and then attended Central Michigan University, receiving her bachelor's in journalism and master's in education. She spent more than two decades as an English professor at Kirtland Community College, specializing in developmental reading. Later in life, Jinna received a Ph.D. in Academic Leadership from Andrews University.

She raised her daughter Bethany in Houghton Lake, where they were an integral part of the community at Markey Community Baptist Church. Jinna and Bethany also loved their cottage on the shores of Lake Huron in Oscoda, where Jinna was a member of the Rotary Club. Always on the lookout for new adventure, at one point in her life Jinna single-handedly raised a herd of nearly 100 Angora goats.

Jinna returned to her roots in Grand Haven in 2015, renewing old friendships and building a new community. She was active in the Women’s Ministry of Covenant Life Church, tutored students in the English as Second Language program, and served on the board of the Harbourfront Condominium Association. An avid reader, she participated in three book clubs. Jinna loved being back in Grand Haven and developed a passion for tracking the freighters that she watched from her home as they came in and out of the harbor. She and her service dog Emerson were frequently seen walking together in the neighborhood: talking to their neighbors and spreading the joy they found in life.

Jinna is survived by her daughter, Bethany Jayne Rickwald Rosenthal (and her husband, Alex Rosenthal); sisters: Beth (Ken) Smith, Jayne Wenger (Milton Diaz Perez) and Mary Wenger (Joe Townsend); niece, Jessica Townsend (and Bill Ijames); great-niece, Avery; her Aunt Mary Brown; many loving cousins; and Emerson.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at 1 p.m. at the Covenant Life Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the following organizations:

Glaucoma Research Foundation: This link allows you to make a donation online to the Glaucoma Research Foundation and can specify that the donation is a gift as a tribute “in memory” of Jinna Wenger: https://getinvolved.glaucoma.org/donate.

Poodle Club of America Foundation: PCAF supports research into issues affecting poodles, especially Addison’s. There is a PayPal “donate” button on their website at https://poodleclubofamericafoundation.org.

Covenant Life Church, 101 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417: Women's Ministry.

Arrangements by Sytsema Funeral & Cremation Services – The VanZantwick Chapel. Share memories with the family at their online guest book at www.sytsemafh.com.

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