(Mabel) Marilyn McKinley was born in Lake Odessa, MI to David and Mabel (Perkins) Smith. She graduated from Albion College in 1951 and earned a masters degree in education from Western Michigan University in 1963.
Music, particularly choral music, was a lifelong joy and passion. Marilyn sang in her youth church choir at the age of 10, Albion College Choir, and directed the Portage Senior Center choir for 18 years establishing many treasured memories and friends.
At the young age of 14 Marilyn met her future husband Don McKinley, also from Lake Odessa, when he was just 15. It was true love and they married in 1950 raising four sons in Portage, MI. After teaching for 34 years in the Kalamazoo Public School system she retired in 1990 to their Gourdneck Lake home and held many memorable gatherings with friends and family. Marilyn was an usher and home host for the Gilmore Festival where she opened her home to participants from Israel, India, England and Africa.
Soon after the death of Don, in 2000, Marilyn moved to Friendship Village where she played the piano for Vespers most Sunday afternoons and coordinated sing-alongs with many friends. Marilyn was a charter member of Westminster Presbyterian Church and served as deacon, elder and choir member. She was an active volunteer at Ministry with Community, Loaves and Fishes, Meals on Wheels and the Shepherd Center.
Surviving her are sons Steve (Irene), Dave (Sharon), Mark, Tom (Judy). Grandchildren Steven, Katie, Jocelyn, Dustin, Ben and Nicholas, seven great grandchildren and beloved nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 11am on July 26, 2021 at Friendship Village, 1400 N. Drake Rd., Kalamazoo, MI. Properly worn masks will be required.
Marilyn was cremated in accordance to her wishes. Memorial contributions may be made to Loaves and Fishes of Kalamazoo, Ministry with Community, Westminster Presbyterian Church, or Shepherds Center.
While visiting Marilyn's tribute page at www.avinkcremation.com please take a moment to light a candle or share a memory with the family. The McKinley family is being assisted by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society, 129 S. Grand Street, Schoolcraft, MI 49087. 269-679-5622.