Monday, March 27, 2017
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
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.
Charity of Choice
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A woman who lived her life selflessly and with great devotion to her family has left us. Marie Toornman was a loving wife, a caring mother and a cherished grandmother. Her strong-willed nature stands as a reminder to all of us to keep our hearts and minds where they belong the most, with our loved ones, as this was Marie’s life intention.
It was the year of 1938, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt watched carefully as many actions abroad, especially involving Germany, began to ramp up conflict. The United States was also in a recession causing the unemployment rate to rise substantially to 19%; however, there was plenty to celebrate as well. The first service seeing eye dog was used, and Superman made his heroic appearance in a comic book to the delight of many children.
Howard Hughes also broke the Round the World record with a flight that lasted a mere 3 days and 19 hours, and the racing horse proudly named Seabiscuit beat the 1-4 favorite War Admiral in what was promoted as the “Match of the Century.” A great deal of excitement was created with Orson Wells’ radio adaptation of “War of the Worlds” when people panicked thinking the plot was breaking news rather than fiction. Closer to home in the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, much excitement was also experienced just days after carving the Thanksgiving turkey. Willard and Bertha (Ruse) Boekeloo welcomed their third precious child into the world. On November 28th, Marie Ann was welcomed into the Boekeloo family.
Marie’s two brothers, Claude and Clayt, kept her on her toes but loved and protected their little sister - as most big brothers do. Before too long, another little brother, Dick, joined the fun - making the family complete. The family’s farm was located in the Cooper Township area which is where Marie spent her childhood. The whole family pitched in tending to the chores as necessary including milking the cows and raising the chickens. The family kept very busy, but all the hard work together helped create sweet memories as a family.
While home life kept Marie more than occupied, she also attended school and graduated from Richland High School with the class of 1956. Following graduation, she worked for the Western and Southern Life Insurance Company. This kept her focus for a bit of time until her heart found love. Mutual friends introduced Marie to a handsome young man named Eugene Toornman in 1960. It did not take long for Gene, as he was affectionately called, to propose marriage. The happy couple exchanged vows on August 28, 1961, in Kalamazoo at the First Reformed Church. Though they did not know it then, the newlyweds shared a commitment of love that would last 55 years!
Marie was devoted to her family, and she took to married life immediately. Before long, Marie and Gene celebrated the births of four children together - Debbie, Carrie, Laurie, and Penny. And to Marie’s delight, Gene brought two children from a previous marriage, Tom and Tammy. These six children made for occasional tears shed due to normal sibling rivalry, but they also ultimately provided a happy and somewhat chaotic household filled with laughter and love.
From the start, Marie made certain that she was involved in her children’s lives. She spent many hours volunteering at the Vicksburg schools - specifically Sunset and Tobey Elementary. The young family was also active in little league where Marie would keep score at the games, and this came naturally because she loved baseball, especially the Detroit Tigers! Her family looked forward to the nights when her delicious lasagna or potato salad was on the menu. During the cold winter months, her chili and goulash were also favorites.
Marie enjoyed her bountiful vegetable garden which provided so much that her children sold them at the roadside, two items for a nickel! Her flower garden was also beautiful and showcased the love she put into it. It always came back to the family though, and so more recently, she would invite the family over for BBQ’s or just to visit, as she loved hearing about all the doings in their lives.
Later in life, when Marie and Gene’s children became adults, they enjoyed many activities together with just the two of them again. For ten years during the winter months they traveled to Texas, but Marie, missing her children and grandchildren so much, would stay for only two months each year. They were given the gift of ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren who provided Marie with an amazing sense of joy. She would go to great lengths to show her love to all of them even earning the name “Grandma Wagon” for all the thrilling wagon rides on which she would take them.
Marie lived a life in which her family sustained her throughout. They truly were her heart and soul, and she lived to make sure they were loved. Though Marie could sometimes have a feisty side, it was always because she had an eye on her loved ones’ best interests. Her genuine attention and good company will be greatly missed. The memories we shared with Marie will be kept close to our hearts, and we will miss her immensely.
Marie Ann Toornman, of Portage, passed away on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at the age of 78.
She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Gene; three children: Debbie Toornman, of Portage; Laurie (John) Hare, of Otsego; Penny (Tom Valind) Major, of Vicksburg; Stepson: Tom (Cathy) Toornman, of GA; stepdaughter: Tammy (Rolly) Brown, of OH; ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her two siblings: Clayt (Karen) Boekeloo, of Leroy; Dick (Bonnie) Boekeloo, of Portage; her sister-in-law: June Boekeloo, of NM; and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her daughter: Carrie Toornman-Kimble; and brother: Claude Boekeloo.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 11AM at Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg , MI (269-649-1697). The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.
Those who wish may make contributions to the American Diabetes and/or a charity of their choice.