Marie was born to Evelyn and Arthur Schmidt on November 6, 1941, in Nunica, Michigan. She spent her early years on the farm where she learned to appreciate the value of hard work. At the age of 12, Marie received her beloved horse Sara Lou, a decedent of the legendary Man of War. Marie mastered her whistle which called in Sara Lou from the flats. The whistle is legendary, as well. Marie graduated from Coopersville High School, where she made many lifelong friends that will miss her dearly.
At the age of 9, she met the love of her life, Ted Johnson, who attended a nearby one-room school. Their love story has been a beautiful journey. Ted and Marie were married November 7, 1959, at St. Michael’s in then-Denison, Michigan. They returned to Key West, Florida, where Ted was stationed aboard the USS Bushnell with the Navy. They were married for 59 years.
Marie lived a full life as a wonderful wife, mom, grandma and homemaker. She was an amazing cook (which she passed on to all four of her children), kept an immaculate home, skilled knitter, crocheter and reader. A farm girl at heart, gardening was a passion. She and Ted tended a vegetable and flower garden with love and attention. She loved to share the garden bounty with friends, neighbors and all that enjoyed the free bike path stand. Many gardening tips were shared over a bucket of weeds every growing season. Her beautiful dahlias were a loving tribute to honor her mother-in-law, Ada Johnson. Marie and Ted traveled far and wide to visit friends and family. Trips to the Upper Peninsula were highlighted with binder-twine camps and kayaking numerous hidden lakes.
Marie had a passion for children. She and Ted lovingly opened their home and cared for 35 children over the course of many years. They treasured every one of you. From ABC’s through graduation, Marie taught lifelong lessons. Marie’s love of reading was evident, in the many volunteer years at St. Mary’s Catholic School library and reading programs.
Marie is survived by her loving husband, Ted; and devoted children: Terri Creeden (Tom) of Spring Lake; Kevin Johnson (Denver, Colo.) and mother of his children, Joanne Trimble; Shawn Johnson (Muskegon) and mother of his children, Denise Johnson; and Jodi Plaggemars (Lynn) of Rockford. Twelve beautiful grandchildren: William and Shawn Creeden, Tyler Johnson (fiancée Courtney Beshel), Alexandria (fiancé Maxwell Terry), Chase Johnson, Morgan VanDyke (Scott), Kendra, Mitchell, and Kori Johnson, Kurtis and Erin Plaggemars, and Lilah (fiancé Alexander Bolin). Three handsome great-grandsons: Grayson and Griffin VanDyke, and Jordan Terry; sister, Joan Hecksel; sister-in-law, Linda Johnson; and brother-in-law, Don Sheridan.
Marie was preceded in death by her loving parents, Evelyn and Arthur Schmidt; loving in-laws, Ada and Arthur Johnson; brothers-in-law, Roger Hecksel and Tim Johnson (Ted’s twin); Violet and Francis Janes, Ardis and Ed Schmidt, Ione Sheridan, and Pat and Don “Skip” Schippers.
Most of all, Marie loved her family and instilled in her children and grandchildren strong values that have served them well. She will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts.
Marie has promised to whistle so all can find her.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 4, 2019, at St Mary’s Catholic Church with Father David Gross as celebrant. Friends may meet the family Friday, May 3 (today), from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Sytsema Funeral & Cremation Services – The Spring Lake Chapel, with the Rosary at 8 p.m. and one hour prior at church. Interment will be in Spring Lake Cemetery. Memorial contributions to St. Mary’s Catholic School Language Arts Program or St. Michael’s Catholic Church or Hospice of North Ottawa Community are appreciated. Share memories with the family at their online guest book at www.sytsemafh.com.