On Friday, August 28, 2020, Marilyn Ann (Thompson) Sipple, loving wife and mother of four children and five grandchildren, passed away at the age of 78.
Marilyn was born on February 24, 1942 in Allegan, Michigan to Paul and Anna (Schafer) Thompson. She received her associate’s degree from Western Michigan University and worked as a teacher in Title I at Martin Public Schools for over 10 years. Marilyn was passionate about education and worked hard to make sure that each student she served could be successful.
Marilyn grew up in the Allegan area, one of six brothers and sisters, all of whom she cherished deeply. Her fondest memories of childhood were sledding in the yard during the winter time and wearing matching outfits that were hand-sewn by her mother for her twin sister Carolyn and her. Marilyn was grateful to have a twin because she always had a friend and never felt alone.
On June 23, 1962, Marilyn married the love of her life—Jack Ronald Sipple, a farmer from Martin, Michigan. They first met at a square dance and Jack, being a true gentleman, asked Marilyn’s older brother Paul if he could give her a ride home. Paul consented and the two began courting.
Jack and Marilyn spent their 58 years together working hard side-by-side on their dairy farm and enjoying family life with their children and grandchildren. While they always called Martin home, they made a point to explore far-off places together, including Alaska, Switzerland, Hawaii, and England. The two also volunteered much of their free time building churches and schools through an organization called Builders for Christ. The projects took them all over the United States, leading them to meet many like-minded friends, many of whom they are still in touch with. Marilyn was thankful to maintain such close friendships with people of faith through the years.
Marilyn will always be remembered by her children as an incredibly compassionate and intentional mother. She was first blessed with three daughters—Kathy, Christy, and Karen. When she gave birth to a son a number of years later, she recalled that Jack was so excited, he called all the neighbors to share the good news: “It’s a boy!” Her kids reminisced on how involved their mom was in 4H events and that she taught them to care for their animals and helped them get ready for the fair. A true family woman at heart, Marilyn made sure that they took a vacation each year—whether it was to Gun Lake, Cedar Point, or the Sleeping Bear Dunes—she prioritized time spent together. Marilyn loved raising her children on the family farm, and later, watching it become a haven for her grandchildren as well.
Ever a doting mother, Marilyn was just as nurturing as a grandmother. She took pride in her five grandchildren—John, Breyanna, Alli, Megan, and Casey. She enjoyed teaching them to make applesauce, bake, sew, and garden; and in turn, they taught her new card games and took her on golf cart rides around the farm. Marilyn loved spoiling her grandchildren with homemade desserts and telling them stories about her childhood. In June of 2020, she added another grandson to the mix when her granddaughter Megan married Kris Ward. Marilyn had a wonderful evening dancing with Jack at the wedding.
All her life, Marilyn has been a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allegan was a second home to her. She served as a Sunday School teacher for 35 years as well as a Ladies Aid officer and member. One of the last things that Marilyn wrote was, “The belief I am most passionate about is my faith and knowing that God is always with me and I will be with my Savior in eternity.”
Marilyn was preceded in death by her beloved daughter Kathleen Lane, as well as her father Paul, mother, Anna, brother-in-law Carl Sandahl, and sister-in-law Sharon Kelly (Roger). She is survived by her husband Jack; children Christine DeBruyn (Arthur), Karen Hildebrand (Ted), Kirt Sipple; son-in-law Terry Lane; grandchildren John Waldsmith, Allison DeBruyn, Breyanna Waldsmith, Megan Ward (Kristopher), Catherine DeBruyn; siblings Maxine Sandahl, Bernice Wentzel (Charles), Paul Thompson (Sara), Lawrence Thompson (Sharon), Carolyn Miner (Don); sister-in-law Joyce Suhusky (Frank); and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
The family will receive friends at Gorden Funeral Residence, Allegan Chapel, on Monday, August 31, 2020 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A funeral service will take place at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm. Burial will follow in the New East Martin Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1764 34th Street, Allegan, MI 49010; or to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, 222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 100, Kalamazoo, MI 49007