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.
Lawton Education Foundation
P.O. Box 215
Lawton, MI 49065-0215
For the Linda K. Barkalow National Honor Society Scholarship Fund
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Although she was taken from her loved ones without warning, Marjorie Howard experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer. She was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, her sights were continuously set on things from above. Accompanied by an unwavering faith, Marjorie was the sort of person who could find the good in everyone and everything without an unkind word to say about anyone. She fully devoted herself to living and nurturing her family, and there was nothing she treasured more than witnessing her family tree blossom to include various branches of loved ones. With an insatiable thirst for learning new things, Marge used her gifts and talents to bless those within the community she called home throughout her entire journey. Life will never be the same without her here, but her timeless legacy will remain alive and well in the lives of those who follow in her footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Jazz music, the Charleston, and the peak of Broadway all colored the cultural fabric of our nation while more affordable cars brought the world around us within our reach. It was during this exciting time that Earl and Tressa Spencer were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the beauty of spring blanketed Porter Township, Michigan, in 1925. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Marjorie J. drew her first breath on May 19th. She was the younger of two children in her family and was raised in Lawton alongside her brother, Emerson, who was a few years older. Marjorie was raised on a farm, but her father later painted and remodeled houses and then sold aluminum siding and windows. She learned to embroider and sew as a young girl from her mother and also developed her love for crafts. Marge also liked to read, and since there were few books at her school she read the encyclopedia. She was later known for reading a book a day.
As a young teen, Marge and her family moved to Lawton where she enjoyed walking to see her friends. She attended local schools including Lawton High School. Marjorie graduated as the valedictorian of her class in 1942 and went on to Parson’s Business College.
New and exciting changes were in store for Marjorie when she met the young man of her dreams while working at Eaton’s. His name was Robert Edward Howard, and he was from Gobles. Sparks flew right from the start, and with a desire to establish a life together they were married on June 21, 1946, at her parents’ house. After a honeymoon in Holland, they returned home to Lawton and settled into a small apartment before building their house on Hamilton. They started a family with the birth of their daughter, Linda, in 1947, and later, Karen and Jennifer completed their family. They lived in a great neighborhood where everyone knew everyone and there were kids everywhere. In 1957, Marge and her husband bought a lot on Gravel Lake where they built the family cottage that they still have today. They loved spending their summers there as there were plenty of boat rides and sunsets. They had a great community there, too, and Marjorie was known as the matriarch of Gravel Lake.
Throughout her life Marge was a bustle of activity. She was an amazing seamstress who was passionate about sewing. She made all kinds of kids clothes as well as curtains, costumes, baton outfits, and doll clothes, and she never used a pattern, either. Marge was a great cook and baker who was known for her pies and cookies that she always had ready for guests. She kept a large garden and canned much of her yield. Marjorie also knitted all kinds of things like Christmas stockings for all of her grandchildren with their names and emblems. She loved music and passed on that love to her daughters. Some of Marge’s favorite memories were made gathering around the piano to play and sing together. These musical gatherings now include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too.
A longtime resident of Lawton, everyone knew Marge. She was very involved with the Baptist church, and she also taught various Bible studies as she knew her Bible well. When Jennifer was in fourth grade, Marge started working at an insurance agency in Paw Paw, but she then began working as a secretary at the elementary and middle schools in the Lawton school system for what would be 29 years. Over the years Marge touched numerous students in such a special way. Even after retiring she sold lunch tickets for several years. As a lifelong learner, she attended KVCC and was also a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Marge taught herself various computer skills, and she kept up on Facebook to remain in touch with her grandchildren.
There was no greater gift in Marge’s life than her family, and she loved it when everyone was together. She was an active part of her grandchildren’s lives, and her grandchildren loved going to their house. Marjorie was the rock of her family, and they found strength in knowing that she would be there to remind them that, “This too shall pass.”
Described as positive, selfless, progressive, and steadfast, Marjorie Howard was a blessing in the lives of everyone she met. She was unwavering in her faith and her convictions, and her love for her family was easy to see. Marjorie believed in doing the right thing, and her patience for others was truly inspiring. Always on the lookout for ways she could help others, she was gracious and generous in ways both great and small. Although she will be deeply missed, Marjorie leaves behind a brilliantly colored mosaic of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.
Marjorie J. Howard, of Lawton, died on May 3, 2015. Marjorie’s family includes her 3 children: Linda (Derick) Barkalow, Karen (Nick) Welburn and Jennifer (Mike) Garvey; 7 grandchildren: Anthony (Staci) Welburn, Andrew (Marisa) Welburn, Mark (Lesley) Welburn, John (Heather) Barkalow, Scott Barkalow, Erin (Derek) Wilson and Kristy (Owen) Alexander; 11 great-grandchildren: Alexis, Shane, Nicholas, Hunter, Naomi, Sarah, Maddox, Kayla, Charlotte, Maya, Jase, and her next great-grandson on the way. Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents; brother; and her husband, Robert. Visit with family and friends on Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler & Thompson – Paw Paw; 60900 M-40 Highway (657-3870). Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church with burial at Oak Grove Cemetery. Following the burial, a luncheon will be shared at the church hall. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church or the Linda K. Barkalow National Honor Society Scholarship C/O Lawton Education Foundation. Please visit Marge’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of her and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home.