Cover photo for Marjorie E. Brinkman's Obituary
Marjorie E. Brinkman Profile Photo
1929 Marjorie E. Brinkman 2024

Marjorie E. Brinkman

September 12, 1929 — May 7, 2024

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Marjorie Elizabeth Brinkman - to most of her friends “Mike”, a name she picked up in grade school and stayed with her throughout her life. Most people reading this will probably know her as Mike, so that is what I will call her. Mike lived to be a healthy 94 years old and spent most of her years in Portage, Michigan. She went to be with the Lord on May 7, 2024. She died at Rose Arbor Hospice, after battling cancer for three years. Mike was born on September 12, 1929, in Evanston, Illinois, to Fred and Edith Snell. She had three older brothers: Larry, Bob and Fred and a younger sister Dorthy. At the age of 6, Mike lost her father to pneumonia - this drastically changed the course of her life as the family moved from Evanston, Illinois, to Three Rivers, Michigan, where her mother Edith took on a full time job as a secretary. Mike grew up taking on many of the household tasks such as cooking and cleaning for the family, as her mother was away most of the day. Caregiving became her way of life and was a special trait that she graciously accepted and it allowed her to bring comfort to her wide circle of friends and family. While many of her friends were out playing on Saturday, it was wash day at the Snell’s house and Mike would help her mother do these chores. She fondly remembered spending many Sunday’s with one of her best friends, Lila, taking drives in the country with her family. 

Mike graduated from Three Rivers High school and then attended Michigan State College (MSU) where she received a degree in Elementary Education. She joined the Kappa Delta sorority during her time at MSC and remained connected to many college friends and roommates her entire life. Extracurricular activities such as Glee Club, Delta Gamma Mu fencing honorary and a journalist on the MSC yearbook staff rounded out her academic career.

It was while she was at MSC that she met Richard (Dick) Brinkman on a blind date. Early dates were simple coffees together as funds were in short supply. They were even featured in the MSC yearbook of 1949 on an outing to the MSC union bowling ally. Dick was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and they bonded with many couples from the Fraternity and the group became life-long friends. Revisiting the campus for homecomings and regular dinner gatherings with the group they termed “Cork and Fork” were always highlights for Mike and Dick. While Mike had an Education degree and taught for a short time, her family came first and she stayed home to raise her three boys. When the boys were grown she took on the job of book keeping for Dicks tire shop and later worked in the AV department for Portage Public schools as well as volunteer secretary at her church, Portage UCC.

Marjorie Snell and Richard (Dick) Brinkman were married July 1, 1951, in Three Rivers, Michigan. Marjorie and Dick had three sons: Jim, Gary and Steve. One of the delights of Marjorie and Dick throughout their life was their family time at Restye, the cottage on Lake Charlevoix her Grandparents had built and where she spent many summer days at as a young girl. The highlight of Marjorie’s summer was a two week outing to the cottage with Dick and her sons, this always held special memories for the whole family.

Mike loved to sing and choir was the outlet she was passionate about. High-school, College and later as a charter member of the Portage UCC Church choir since its inception in 1963. It was just recently in her early 90’s that she gave up singing in the church’s choir.

Mike was very active all of her life. She loved to be outdoors. She was instrumental in her family being active snow skiers, cross country skiers and golfers. She was always ready for a hike in the woods. One of her favorite hikes was going up the 462 steps to the top of Avalanche mountain overlooking her beloved Lake Charlevoix, a hike she completed most recently at 93. The role she played early on as a caretaker stayed with her through out her life. She was an amazing mother to her three sons as well as taking on the challenge of caring for Dick when he got Alzheimer’s. She didn’t let that disease slow her or Dick down as she kept him and herself on the go visiting family and friends across the country. She and Dick often took hikes along the Celery Flats trail in Portage, another one of her favorite hikes. Sharing time in the community was important to her which lead to volunteering at the Portage Public library, Western Michigan University and even up to several months ago she was driving for Meals on Wheels. Mike was a hero to some and a joy to many.

Majorie is survived by her sister Dorothy Rimawi, her brother-in-law Ramon Brinkman; her sons: Jim (Sally) Brinkman, Gary (Alice) Brinkman, Steve Brinkman; Grandchildren: Eric (Jenelle) Brinkman, Brian (Alice) Brinkman, Ryan (Gillian) Brinkman, Joshua (Randi) Brinkman, Kylee (Tor) Brinkman, Matt Hill and Mike Hill; Great Grandchildren: Cowen, Britten, Weston Hill; Micah, Isaiah, Caleb Brinkman; Benjamin, Arthur, Theo Brinkman; Elias, Synova, Jaxson Brinkman; Elisabeth, Ava Brinkman; Marjorie is preceded in death by her husband, Richard (2004); brothers: Larry, Robert and Fred; and daughter in law Jeannette Brinkman (2021).

Marjorie Brinkman’s memorial will be Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. at the Portage United Church of Christ, 2731 W. Milham Ave, Portage, MI 49024. Visitation will be from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Memorial gifts can be given to Portage United Church of Christ Love Fund and/or to Rose Arbor Hospice 5473 Croyden Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Please share memories with Mike's family at www.langelands.com
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Service Schedule

Today's Services

Visitation

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

1:30 - 2:30 pm (Eastern time)

Portage United Church of Christ

2731 West Milham Avenue, Portage, MI 49024

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Memorial Service

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Starts at 2:30 pm (Eastern time)

Portage United Church of Christ

2731 West Milham Avenue, Portage, MI 49024

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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