Maryon Willyard, 97

Maryon Willyard of Allegan passed away Thursday, March 5, 2020, at Briarwood Assisted Living in Allegan at the age of 97.

Maryon was born Dec. 13, 1922, in Chicago, the daughter of Duncan and Maryon (O’Connor) Metcalfe.

She graduated from Avalon High School, Pittsburgh in 1941.

Moving with her family to Grand Rapids in the early 1940s, she enjoyed farming and running her vegetable stand at the corner of 54th Street and Division Avenue. It was at this stand that she met her future husband, Kenneth Willyard.

They had been married nearly 60 years at his passing in 2009.

She and Ken lived in Wyoming, Mich., until his retirement from the Chessie System Railroad in 1982 when they moved to their home on Lake Allegan.

Maryon is survived by her two sons, Terrence (Nancy) and Dennis (Sue); three grandchildren, Angela (Aaron) Shepherd, Elizabeth (Chris) Coleman, and Valerie (Dan) Kowalski; and five great-grandchildren, Benjamin and Silas Shepherd, Declan Coleman, and Everett and Ethan Kowalski. A sixth great-grandson is expected in May to parents Chris and Liz Coleman. Also surviving are sister-in-law Doris Edwards, brother-in-law Keith (Marilyn) Willyard, sister-in-law Jeannine (Tooge) Willyard, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She also leaves behind her longtime cat companion, Twirlin’ Merlin.

Maryon was a unique individual of many talents. An avid card player, she was passionate about playing solitaire and beating all who were gullible enough to challenge her to a game of rummy. She had a keen interest in stamp collecting and had a green thumb and was proud of her gardening skills. She made it her mission to revive forlorn plants, no matter how sad and bedraggled they appeared to onlookers. This dedication was symbolic of her persistent rooting for life’s underdogs—be they human, animal, or plant life.

An excellent musician, she played her Fender guitar and Hammond B3 organ well into her 90s. She loved blues and soul music, having an affection for rock and roll and Rolling Stone magazine—an unusual trait for someone of her generation. She did it her way for 97 years!

To honor her memory, Maryon would ask us to be kind to one another and help the needy.

The family wishes to thank Briarwood Assisted Living and Hospice of Holland for their loving and compassionate care. Special thanks to one-of-a-kind hospice nurse Andrea.

Heartfelt thanks also to Dawn Folwarski of Home Helpers. Dawn was there to lovingly assist Maryon in remaining in her lake home well into her 96th year.

Please direct memorial contributions to Hospice of Holland or to organizations assisting the needy.


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