Tuesday, September 27, 2016
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Jean Ellinger, words such as compassionate, hardworking, and faithful come to mind, but perhaps that word that paints the most accurate picture of her is faithful. Whether it came to her family, those in her community, or her Christian beliefs, she was faithful in everything she did. Jean took her roles as a wife and mother to heart, but she just may have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother to the grandchildren she adored. She loved pouring her heart and soul into the things she made in her kitchen, and she took every opportunity to shower her family with her love. Social and outgoing, Jean was genuine and gracious toward everyone. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
The 1930s were very much defined by the Great Depression. Times were tough with a soaring unemployment rate and jobs that were so hard to come by. As if things weren’t bad enough, a drought covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this already challenging time. Despite the trials around them, James and Naomi (Punches) Parrish were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the beauty of October unfolded in Plainwell, Michigan, in 1932. The big day finally arrived on October 18th when the baby girl they named Jean drew her first breath. She was the oldest of six to be raised in the family home in Otsego as she was joined in her family by her siblings, Bob, Jack, Jim, and the twins, Larry and Garry. As the oldest, Jean often helped with her younger brothers. Her father worked in the paper mill and was a civilian guard at Ft. Custer POW camp while her mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home. She was active in her church as a child, and after high school Jean worked at a local five and dime.
Life was forever changed for Jean when she met the man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Jim Ellinger, and they met through church. He had been going to Plainwell Baptist, but he had some friends tell him he better get to Otsego Baptist Church. Thank goodness he did since it was love nearly right from the start. Jean and Jim started dating, and after quite a while they were married on June 12, 1953, in Otsego Baptist Church. Jim graduated from Western Michigan University but was drafted soon after. They then went to Maryland, and while there Jean worked for Western Union. Jean and Jim stayed in an apartment in Laurel that was just a few miles from the military base.
When Jim was discharged in 1955, Jean and Jim moved to Plainwell then settled in Kalamazoo. Together they were blessed with four children, Jimmy and Johnny (twins who passed away shortly after birth) and then Jeff and Jennifer. Jean always loved animals, especially dogs, and over the years they had several boxers including Rocky, Buffer, and Hugo. As a family they enjoyed trips to Spider Lake by Traverse City for a week nearly every year. They also made trips to Cedar Point and Disneyland. Jean loved decorating for the holidays, especially Christmas, and she was an amazing hostess who loved entertaining. Jean was amazing in the kitchen, and she frequently demonstrated her compassionate spirit by cooking and baking for others. When someone was sick she loved cooking for them, and when there were funerals at church she usually made food.
Throughout her life Jean was a bustle of activity. Prior to having children she worked at Upjohn for a few years. Since she was so precise, Jean was often put on the line when inspectors came. Later in life she was thrilled to become a grandmother and great grandmother, and she spent as much time with her grandchildren as she could as she was very active in their lives. Jean’s family loved her cookies, and she always used her mother’s sugar cookie recipe for the holidays. Her grandchildren were certainly a hit when she made cookies for them to take to school. She was a longtime and active member of Grace Baptist Church. In addition to making food for funerals, she also worked in the nursery, taught Sunday school, and was part of a group that would travel together once a year and also regularly visit the Civic Theater. Jean loved playing games and cards, and for many years she was part of a game night. Their cottage on Pine Lake was a favorite place. She found it so peaceful to head out for a pontoon boat ride. Jean also liked fishing.
All who knew Jean Ellinger would agree that she was such a blessing to everyone she met. Truly beautiful on the inside and out, she exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Jean was a loving wife and mother, and her grandchildren were her greatest source of pride and joy. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
Jean Ellinger, age 83 passed away peacefully at home under hospice care. Jean was preceded in death by her twin sons, Jimmy and Johnny, her parents and her brother Jim. Jean will be lovingly remembered by her husband Jim, her son Jeff (Marissa) Ellinger, daughter Jennifer Ellinger, granddaughter Beth (Chris) Nicolich, grandsons Greg, Sam, and Noah, great grandchildren Addison and Kellan, brothers Bob (Nancy)Parrish, Jack (Judy) Parrish, Larry (Jackie) Parrish, Garry (Terri) Parrish, sister in law Barb Parrish and many nieces and nephews.