Margret Julena Rehnlund
Marnie — mother to three, grandmother to five, great-grandmother to one — died August 21, 2014, aged 94. Her son-in-law Timothy prepared this obituary.
Margret Julena Rehnlund was born on July 18, 1920, in the city of Hancock in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her father Ray Rehnlund was a photographer, printer, and aviator. The Rehnlund family was from Umeo, Sweden (the “Land of the Reindeer”), not far from the Arctic Circle, and her mother Mabel Kneebone’s family was from Gwinear, Cornwall, in the far southwest corner of England.
Margret moved with her family to Detroit and graduated from Mackenzie High School in 1939. She worked as a switchboard operator and then as a secretary at Huron Forge and rented an apartment on Mark Twain St. She met Joseph King, the love of her life, who rented rooms from a Mrs. Darling also on Mark Twain, when Joe, who also grew up in the “U.P.,” supposedly came across the street to borrow an iron. Their courtship was interrupted by WWII; Margret had to wait for Joe to liberate Europe as part of General George Patton’s Third Army. Margret wrote to Joe every day during the war, though no one was privy to those very personal epistles.
After the war’s end, Joe and “Marnie” were married and moved to Walled Lake to start a family. She raised three beautiful children — Shirley Jean, Nancy Marie, and Thomas Joseph — on Minda Court, across from St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, where Marnie and Joe were charter members. Like her grandfather Reinhold Rehnlund, Marnie was a baker and worked part-time at the Walled Lake Bakery. Some years after Joe retired, the couple moved to Grosse Pointe. They lived on Belanger Steet and joined St. Paul’s Lutheran Church nearby.
Joe King passed away in January of 2002 and his ashes were placed in the columbarium adjacent to St. Paul’s Church. Marnie lived in her own home into her 93rd year and moved to Beechwood Manor where she died last Thursday at the age of 94 years, one month, and three days. Her ashes will be placed alongside those of her soulmate Joe in St. Paul’s columbarium. Her sister Dorothy and brother Robert preceded her in death. Margret is survived by her three children, her sister Shirley Mae, five really beautiful grandchildren (Adele, Nicholas, Laurent, Margot, and Aidan), and one exceptionally beautiful great-grandson Sebastian, 14 months.
Marnie had that beautiful Swedish complexion and a determined Cornish work ethic. In marked contrast to her beau, Marnie never knowingly uttered a swear word and she was severely allergic to alcohol. She was warm-hearted, loving, generous, selfless, easy-going, supportive, faithful — and you can all insert your own adjectives, since she touched the lives of so many people. She was very empathetic and would often say, “I know exactly how you feel,” and she did. Her only shortcoming that I was aware of was that of a chronic worrier. She worried about misplaced personal items, about travel details, about large and small things, and she especially worried about the well-being of her children and grandchildren. And now she is free of those worries. She loved to laugh but rarely told a joke, and never spoke ill of anyone.
The family wishes to thank the pastoral staff and parish members past and present of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Marnie’s primary care physician Dr. Rammouni, and especially Bonnie Steketee and the other lay ministers who brought her communion regularly in her later years. And finally, an extra-special thank you to Cindy Senn who was Marnie’s special friend and caregiver for the last four years. Thanks to all of you for being here today to remember Marnie. A reception will follow after this service in the parlor with two of Marnie’s favorite foods, Cornish pasties and Sander’s hot fudge sundaes.
Blessed are those who die in the Lord, for they shall rest from their labors and their good works will follow them.