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Mary Minshall

June 9, 1938 - April 19, 2017
Plainwell, MI

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Life Story / Obituary


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Mary Minshall was a dedicated wife, loving mother, sweet sister, a caring aunt, and the most wonderful grandmother. She loved to entertain and fill her home with so many loved ones there wasn’t much room left to sit or to stand! Her wonderful cooking over the years, including her special chicken and noodles along with her marvelous cheesecake, will be lovingly remembered. Known for her delightful sense of humor, Mary never held a grudge or showed anger. She truly loved each and every person she met. Mary leaves behind a legacy of being generous and always having a special place in her heart for those in need. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by countless friends and family.

In the year 1938, Orson Welles's radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds is broadcast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs held its Hollywood premiere, and the New England area was hit with a raging hurricane across the Atlantic Ocean. In Plainwell, Michigan Lois and Ruth (LaFountain) Papineau welcomed home their newborn daughter, Mary, born on June 9th. Her birth brought much happiness to the family home.

Growing up in Orangeville, her father worked for Goodyear in Akron, Ohio and her mother was a homemaker. Later, they moved to the Gun Lake Tower area where her stepfather, Melvin, who helped to raise her and her three sisters, worked as a factory worker until he later purchased his own gravel pit. Mary had a typical childhood and loved to go both roller skating and ice skating. She was also very fond of her uncle Ray and cousin Butch growing up. At an early age, she began to explore the outdoors and loved to go fishing. Attending Wayland High School through the tenth grade, she married at the tender age of 17 after meeting the man of her dreams; Theodore Minshall. When she spotted him jumping out of a car window, she fell in love instantly and the rest is history! Marrying in her parent’s backyard on April 2, 1955, they settled down at his father Pete’s farm. It was a successful potato farm, known as Carry Farm. Later, they moved next door to her grandparents where they raised a beautiful family; Christine, Teddy, and Brenda; with niece and nephew Donald Walton and Karen Visser. Theodore was a good provider and owned his own tire business, Minshall Tire. Mary worked at Hooper IGA before later moving to Harding’s Market before she retired at the age of 58. She and Theodore had a special relationship and bonded over their equally gifted senses of humor. Knowing that Mary wasn’t too fond of snakes, once when she unwrapped one of his gifts, there was a snake in the box! Only a woman like Mary, could enjoy the prank and get a real kick out of it!

Mary hated to stay home for any length of time. She loved to explore and to seek adventure. For family vacations, they visited out west to the states of Colorado, Utah, Vegas, and New Mexico. She also cherished her visits to Maine with her friends Rose and Norm Pickett. Mostly, she was just as content heading north to fish and pretty much lived on Drummond Island each summer and fall. Mary loved the thrill of finding mushrooms, visiting casinos, and camping. She was most relaxed at the campsite or out on the water fishing. In addition to her passion for the outdoors, she also loved all types of animals. She had a unique love of bears and always had at least one up at the camp. Once, she even tried to feed her own Teddy to the bears! On her way home from nearly every vacation, she was already planning her next one! During most any season, however, she read anything she could get her hands on and made a lifetime of reading daily!

Without a book in her lap, she’d have a grandchild instead! She absolutely loved having them over. She cherished each and every one of them and there were plenty to go around! Mary loved to make each and every holiday a memorable one and was known to spoil all of her children, especially at Christmas time. She was a natural when it came to the children and nothing brought her greater joy than taking care of them. Not to mention, she loved to shop! When she wasn’t on a vacation, she was out shopping finding just the right this or that to spoil them with! Content at home for short moments, she adored her Dachshund, Dolly who kept her company and gave her plenty of comfort. Described as feisty, yet had a heart of gold, Mary’s wonderful collection of memories will be savored for generations to come.

Mary Minshall, age 78, of Plainwell passed away on April 19, 2017. Mary was born on June 9, 1938 to Louis and Ruth Papineau. Left to cherish her memory are children: Christine (Bill) Spark, Teddy, and Brenda (Tom) Chadderdon; niece Karen (Wes) Visser; 8 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; sisters Maureen (Dick) Slider and Cindy (Ron)Truax; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by the love of her life, Ted, her nephew, Donald; her parents; sister, Nancy; and grandson, Billy. Per Mary’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Please visit Mary’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo, and sign her memory book online.

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