Donald J. Marckini

August 20, 1931 - February 2, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, February 5, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263

Rosary prayed at 7:00 pm

Driving Directions

Saturday, February 6, 2016
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
St. James Catholic Church
933 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 458-3213


Saturday, February 6, 2016
11:00 AM EST
St. James Catholic Church
933 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 458-3213


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.

Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes Inc.
PO Box 150251
Grand Rapids, MI 49515-0251

Humane Society of West Michigan
3077 Wilson NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
(616) 453-8900
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Although he was taken from his loved ones without much warning, Donald J. Marckini made a significant impact in the lives of everyone he met. He was the sort of person who knew everyone, and to know him was to love him. Don worked hard, but nothing compared to the time he had to spend with his family. He was no stranger to hard work, and he took great care in whatever he did. With unending love for his family and friends, Don created a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.

The 1920s were a vibrant and prosperous time, but the 1930s were a much different story as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. A two-year drought only added to the trials of the time, and there were few American families who didn’t feel the strain. Despite these challenges, Adolph and Dina (Ronchi) Marckini, both Italian immigrants, were filled with unspeakable joy as they welcomed their healthy baby boy into their hearts and home on August 20, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The youngest of four children to be raised in the family home on Butterworth, SW, Donald J. joined his his older siblings, Arthur, Josephine, and Albert. His father worked at the Grand Rapids gypsum mines while his mother was a busy homemaker. Don found great adventure at the Butterworth dump, and attended St. James Elementary through the eighth grade. Known for his strong work ethic, he got his first job in a local coat hanger factory. During his younger years Don learned the trade of tile setting, and he later worked for Rossi Tile and Grand Rapids Tile among many other companies.

New and exciting changes were in store for Don when he met the woman of his dreams while visiting Sunset, a local watering hole. Her name was Sharon Dake, and sparks flew right from the start. They went on to date for four years, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Don and Sharon were married on January 14, 1967. With this marriage, Don also embraced her daughter, Renee, who was three years old at the time. He loved Renee as his own, and together they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Michelle Lynn. Although she was born with congenital difficulties, she was such a joy in the lives of her parents until her death on September 8, 2014. At first the Marckinis made their home on Park Street, SW. They later moved to a home on California, NW before settling into their home on Barber Terrace NW. Numerous family memories were also made at their cottage on Scram Lake on long summer days.

Throughout his life Don kept busy in a variety of ways. After retiring from the tile business, he began working as a jack of all trades for the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters for 25 years. Don enjoyed the work there as well as the people he served, and they loved him, too. An avid Detroit sports fan, he liked watching the Tigers and the Lions, and he also liked watching Everybody Loves Raymond, Gunsmoke, and various war movies. After retiring, Don had dinner waiting for Sharon when she got home from work. With his green thumb, he enjoyed working out in his yard and caring for his vegetable garden filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and so much more. Don frequently took bus trips to casinos, and in 2001 he and Sharon enjoyed a two week trip to Italy with extended family. Their two cats, Gussy 1 and Gussy 2, were treasured companions. Don was very close to his extended family and looked forward to their family reunion at a local park every third Saturday of August. When it came to music, he was country music all the way. Life came to a halt when Don developed pneumonia a few weeks ago, which was intertwined with a diagnosis of lung cancer all within the same time frame.

A steadfast, hardworking, and strong man of character, Donald Marckini was a blessing in the lives of all who were near. He was never one to worry about what he had, rather, his focus was on how he could help those around him. Don was a devoted family man, loving brother, and loyal friend who will be forever missed.

Donald J. Marckini, aged 84 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Tuesday morning, February 2, 2016 after a brief illness, with his loving family at his side. He is now enjoying a restored body and spirit. He was preceded in death by his parents, Adolph and Dina Marckini, his daughter, Michelle Marckini, his son-in-law, Dan Keil, his brothers and sister, Arthur (Vivian) Marckini, Josephine (Tony) Mencarelli, Albert (Jean) Marckini; He is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Sharon Marckini (Dake), his daughter, Renee Keil; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Donna (Louie) Mott, Carol (Ralph) Roberts, Donna (Bob) Dake; many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Don honorably served his country in the US Navy during the Korean War. He worked as a tile setter all his life and most recently worked at The Grand Rapids Dominicans. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday Morning at 11:00 AM, at St. James Catholic Church, 733 Bridge St. NW. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Friday from 5:00 – 8:00 PM, with the rosary prayed at 7:00 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Visitation also at the church on Saturday from 10 AM until Mass begins at 11 AM. Burial in Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in his memory to Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes or Humane Society of West Michigan. To read more about Don’s life, to leave your own memory of him and to sign his guest book, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com