Mary Warnez

June 24, 1920 - March 28, 2015
Plainwell, MI



Tuesday, March 31, 2015
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Plainwell Location
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
(269) 685-5881
Driving Directions


Wednesday, April 1, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
St. Margaret Church
766 S. Farmer St.
Otsego, MI 49078
Web Site


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.

Wings of Hope Hospice
530 Linn Street, Suite A
Allegan, MI 49010
(269) 686-8659
Driving Directions
Web Site

St. Margaret School
766 S. Farmer St.
Otsego, MI 49078
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

110 W. Allegan St.
Otsego, MI 49078
(269) 692-3951
Driving Directions

Plainwell Flowers
117 S. Main
Plainwell, MI 49080
(269) 685-8055
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Throughout her rich and rewarding life, the moments that Mary Warnez cherished most were the moments spent with the ones she loved. It was easy to see that her life was rooted in something different, something deeper, and that something was her faith as it was the compass she used to direct her path. A devoted wife and mother to be sure, Mary just may have argued that being a grandmother and great-grandmother was her greatest gift. Although she was quiet and reserved, she had a great sense of humor and loved sharing laughter with those around her. Life will never be the same without Mary here, but her timeless legacy that is rich in faith, compassion, and unconditional love will be proudly carried on by those who follow in her footsteps.

With the end of WWI in 1918, America was recognized as a world leader for the first time and poised for greatness. We did not disappoint as we led the way in innovation that was changing the way we lived our daily lives. Radios, refrigerators, and motion pictures in both color and sound were among the noteworthy accomplishments, and it was also during this time that Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh took the world of flight to new heights. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of James and Edith (Engles) Cahill as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child as the warmth of the summer covered the city of Plainwell, Michigan, in 1920. The big day finally arrived on June 24th when the baby girl they named Mary Jean drew her first breath. She was the older of two children in her family and was raised alongside her younger sister, Rachel.

For the most part Mary was a young girl of her generation. Her father was a hardworking farmer while her mother earned some money as a seamstress. Mary attended local schools where she excelled in her studies as she was a member of the National Honor Society and also graduated with honors in 1939.

As a young woman Mary was eager for all that life had in store. She spent a short time working at the Red Brick Inn before settling in at the office at Michigan Paper. However, it was her personal life that soon became very interesting during this time as it was as a young woman that she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Emil Warnez, and they met at a dance in Plainwell after he had come from Detroit to work in the onion fields. They began dating, and over time they fell deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Mary and Emil were united in marriage on May 17, 1941, in St. Margaret’s Church. As a young newlywed she continued working at the paper mill until her husband returned from serving in WWII in 1945.

Mary and her husband built a home in Plainwell that was right next door to the place she grew up. Together they welcomed eight children including Kathy, Martha, Jim, Sarah, Mike, Barb, Theresa, and Diane into their hearts and home. Mary was a lifelong member of St. Margaret’s Catholic Church where she and her family regularly attended. Although Mary was not an animal lover, her children were allowed to have a dog and a cat. As a family they looked forward to vacationing at grandpa’s place on Lake St. Clair, and at times they also traveled farther from home on trips to places like Washington, D. C., Disney, and Niagara Falls. Later in life Mary was filled with unspeakable joy to welcome grandchildren into the family, and she spent as much time with her grandchildren as she could. She eagerly babysat them when needed, and she made a point to get to as many of their events and activities as she could. For a time Mary’s mother lived with them, which was great for Mary as she had a second pair of hands to keep up on all the cooking. Roast beef and meatloaf were among the family favorites.

Over the years Mary was never one to be idle for long. Because Emil traveled for work she often went along, and they also went on a cruise on one occasion. Mary loved reading and also kept busy with needlepoint, cross stitch, sewing, and doing crossword puzzles. She enjoyed big band music and also anything from Frank Sinatra. In addition to attending services at church, Mary was a member of the League of Mary there.

Described as the glue that held her family together, Mary Warnez was such a blessing to her family and friends. Although she was more quiet by nature, she was also gentle, kind, and compassionate toward others. Mary was a devoted Christian whose beliefs were deeply embedded in the depth of her heart, and through the life she lived everyday she exemplified what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. Deeply loved, Mary will be forever missed.

Mary Jean Warnez, of Plainwell, died on March 28, 2015 at the Wings Home. Mary’s family includes her children: Kathy (Creig) Kelley, Martha (Lonnie) Collick, Jim (Peggy) Warnez, Sarah (Bob) O’Day, Mike (Jackie) Warnez, Barb Brenner, Theresa (Scott) Hammond, Diane (Jason) Davis; 12 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and 3 nieces. Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Emil; her grandchild, Angela Brenner; and her sister, Rachel Miller. Visit with her family and friends and view her life story film on Tuesday, March 31 from 4:00-7:00 with a Rosary at 6:30 at the Life Story Funeral Home, Plainwell; 120 Woodhams St. (685-5881). A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, April 1 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Margaret Catholic Church: 766 S. Farmer St. Otsego MI. Please visit Mary’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to St. Margaret’s School or Wings of Hope Hospice.