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Life Story / Obituary
With ways all her own, Sophia Marvin was a wonderful woman to know and love. Strong and independent, she worked hard, and played hard, too, which was her lifelong motto. Above all, Sophia was a woman of faith who held her Catholic faith close to her heart. The daughter of Polish immigrants, she valued her Polish heritage and kept it alive and ongoing throughout her life. Sophia served her church and family well through her giving heart, nurturing example and leaves much to be remembered.
As the Roaring Twenties ushered in new ways of thinking, by 1921 jazz was all the rage and Charlie Chaplin starred on the big screen. Prosperity and good fortune created a sense of exhilaration never before seen while baseball continued to be America’s favorite pastime. Yet nestled in the northern Bay County village of Pinconning, Michigan, the birth of Sophia Julia on November 17, 1921 gave her parents, Anthony and Julia (Mroczek) Holysko much to be thankful for.
Raised on their family farm in Pinconning, Sophia grew up alongside her six siblings. Her family was devout to their Catholic faith and Polish roots, and attended Nine Mile Catholic Church where young Sophia grew in her early faith. Although their lives were quite simple, Sophia and her family always had food, especially during the hardships of the Great Depression. She and her siblings helped on their family farm, but life on the farm offered much adventure, too. While milking the cows Sophia was sure to share the milk with the little farm kittens, and she was even known to have instigated a few squirting milk fights among her siblings a time or two, as well! Feisty in her own right, Sophia learned from an early age the value of hard work and standing up for herself.
Sophia attended a one room schoolhouse and following high school she began attending beauty school. However, after meeting a young man by the name of Leo Dominowski at a local dance, love was in the air. In her early twenties, Sophia married Leo and together they shared the birth of their son, Gary in 1943 who was Sophia’s pride and joy.
Life for Sophia continued to be centered on her unwavering faith, the church she so loved, and her son. The love she held for Gary and protecting him was her highest priority, and she always worried about him. She worked hard in making a good home and life for him by working at the local A&P Grocery Store where in time she became the head cashier. Although Sophia was quite personable, she ran a tight ship and kept her focus on the goal at hand. At home and for church functions she was an excellent cook of many traditional Polish favorites. When she gained a daughter-in-law when Gary married, Sophia was sure to carry on the tradition by sharing her recipes with Barb.
In the mid-1960s Sophia met and married her second husband, Jim Cole. For a time they lived in Chicago, Illinois before making their home in Kalamazoo, Michigan where Gary and Barb both worked and lived. As it came to be, living close to her family was just what Sophia needed when her husband, Jim sadly died from a massive heart attack after only a few years of marriage.
After moving to Kalamazoo, Sophia began working at Western Michigan University in computer data entry and from where she eventually retired following more than ten years of service. During this time, love was not lost for Sophia. She met and married Louis Marvin and together they enjoyed much in life. When Louis passed away in 1995, Sophia was more than ready for retirement. She bought a winter place in Sebring, Florida where she remained very active. For the next few years, Sophia enjoyed her many friends there and filled her time playing shuffleboard, euchre, swimming, and exercising. Always a very social gal, Sophia loved nothing more than keeping her schedule full of activities with friends.
Sophia enjoyed bowling and playing cards over the years. She was very active with the Portage Senior Center. She loved Polish music, and she took in great times with family on weekend trips. One of Sophia’s fondest memories included a trip she and her sister took to the Holy Land. This trip meant so much to Sophia, especially as she and her sister created a closer bond during their time there.
The Catholic Church was an integral part and major focal point in Sophia’s life. She loved the church, and she held a strong connection with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sophia always prayed the Rosary and as a true “prayer warrior,” she never ceased in her daily prayers. Although she had been attending St. Ambrose, Sophia was first a member of St. Catherine of Siena, St. Joseph, St. Monica and St. Mary’s. However, she recently loved attending the Polish Masses held at St. Monica with Fr. Lipka.
Sophia always made the holidays special from the time Gary was a little boy to spoiling her beloved grandchildren. She shared the best stories with the kids, and teasing and spooking them to no end, too! Just spending time together with her family by her side brought Sophia the greatest joy, and times together up north in Baldwin at Gary’s cabin always made the best memories.
For the last years of her life, Sophia lived with her son and daughter-in-law. Even though she remained strong and healthy throughout her life, she began showing signs of dementia.
Just as strong as she was independent, Sophia Marvin was ever the loving, spiritual woman who through many trials, placed her faith in her Lord above. She gave of her time and talents, and she enjoyed numerous friends and activities, yet her family and faith forever remained at the center of her heart. Gone yet never to be forgotten, Sophia will be dearly missed and fondly remembered.
Sophia Julia Marvin, age 94, of Kalamazoo, died on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at her son’s home in Kalamazoo. She was preceded in death by two husbands and by five siblings. Surviving are her son, Gary (Barbara) Dominowski; six grandchildren: Laurie (Todd) Arndt, Brenda Werner, Gary James Dominowski, Regina (Mike) Ambs, Rebecca Dominowski (Eric Sanders), Anthony (Nitasha) Dominowski; ten great-grandchildren: Kurtis, Kevin, Kyle, Kristen and Courtney Werner; Katelyn and Michael Ambs; Carter, Deagan and Wyatt Dominowski; and a sister, Lorraine Augustyniak.
Cremation will take place and a private Mass will be celebrated. Services will be held Friday, 9:00 AM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900 followed by a brunch in the Life Story Center. Burial will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Sophia’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Reverence Home Health & Hospice.