Cover photo for Mary Jane Zahn's Obituary
1925 Mary Jane "Pat" Zahn 2024

Mary Jane Zahn

April 19, 1925 — February 10, 2024

Portage, Michigan

Mary Jane “Pat” Zahn’s last hours were filled with hearing Scripture, prayer, hymns, and fond memories, as well as listening to her daughters sing to her the silly road trip songs that she had taught them so many years ago. It is with these things ringing in her ears that Pat was ushered from Earthly life to new Life Eternal on Saturday evening, February 10, 2024, having lived for nearly 99 years.

That long life journey began in Highland Park, Michigan, where Pat was born – the extended caboose of Eslie “Dan” and Blanche Patch. By all accounts, she was the apple of her father’s eye, and she adored him. Pat’s father, the Chief of Police in Ypsilanti, was also a published author and illustrator, and from him, Pat acquired a gift with words and an ability to draw. She gained much from her mother as well. Her mother taught her how to preserve food, cook, clean, sew, and, in general, how to manage a household. Many a friend, family member, or traveler could attest with a full and satisfied belly to how well she learned those lessons. Pat was certainly one who could make you realize how much better “from scratch” really was. And if you happened to be around during the Christmas season, you were in for an extra special treat, having the opportunity to choose from what seemed to be a never-ending assortment of cookies and confections.

Pat and Ed were married on September 6, 1947, and out of their dynamic, faith-filled marriage of 72 years came six daughters: Susanne Johnston, Linda Van Gorden, Deborah Nadeau, Margaret Bender, Carolyn Buffenbarger, and Gretchen Maybee. From their children, they were blessed with 17 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, and even a cadre of great-great-grandchildren.

A faithful and devoted wife, as well as a caring and attentive mother, there was more to Pat than just family life. Pat was also a bit of an adventurer. Pat loved to travel, and through the years, she and Ed were blessed to be able to visit many places in the United States and around the world. While Italy was perhaps Pat’s favorite destination, she enjoyed fulfilling a life-long dream of trekking through the Holy Land at 90 years of age! There were so many roads that Pat could have selected as gifted and capable as she was, but Pat chose one of the highest callings there is – to love and care for her husband and children. One need only look at the lives of her six daughters to be able to see that she chose well. Pat’s impact continues to be seen through each of them. Pat has left behind an example that is much needed in the world today.

That steady faithfulness was abundantly evident in her later years when she was no longer able to engage in all the adventures that she still carried in her heart. Despite being extremely limited in what she could do, Pat was not one to complain or be discouraged. Pat took everything as it came and found joy in it. She was grateful for every moment and for every person who would share that moment with her. Pat is one who seemed to have found the true essence of being content in any circumstance. 

While a private interment took place on February 16th, the family would invite you to join them in celebrating the remarkable woman who was Mary Jane “Pat” Zahn. A memorial service will take place in the Chapel at Calvary Bible Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on April 19, 2024 – the day on which she would have celebrated her 99th birthday. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am, with the memorial service to follow at 11:00 am. Guests are invited to join the family for lunch immediately following the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in honor of Mary Jane Zahn to Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries.

To order memorial trees in memory of Mary Jane Zahn, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, April 19, 2024

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