Obituary: Marah Jean Witzke Kimble, 96, Manistee

May 1, 2020

Jean Witzke

Obituary: Marah Jean Witzke Kimble, 96, Manistee

Marah Jean was born at home 96 years ago.  Chandeliers rained down on her, their crystals loosened by the steam of so much boiling water.  Parents Thomas and Martha came from Scotland after the birth of their eldest, Sally.  Her brother Tom, and some years later Jean, were born in Detroit.  Jean graduated from Western High School and later married David Bonamici with whom she had her children, Bob and Judy.

Decades later, husband Alfred Witzke brought Jean to the world of small business.  She assisted in running a small automotive electrical parts company.  They retired from the Detroit area to Manistee in 1973.

After Al’s death in the 1980’s, Doug Kimble won Jean’s heart.  Somewhere in the 1990’s the couple decided they had enough of Michigan winters and went shopping for a winter home.  They settled on Whetstone, Arizona in the southeast corner of that state.  For nearly 30 years they drove cross country twice a year, much to the dismay of their children who thought they really should be more sensible.

With her Scottish heritage, Jean was a big fan of Alma’s Scottish Festivals, their traditional games and foods.  She visited Scotland twice, and talked of going again.

Jean sewed and knitted beautifully, and did so for as long as her eyes and fingers would let her.  She made beautiful sweaters, knitting regularly for her kids as they were growing up.  The number of hats and scarves she’s knitted is beyond counting.  Jean was also a great cook, making authentic Italian and Scottish foods, including incredible shortbread.

She was quite taken by beautiful, fine china teacups and saucers and collected them from around the world.

Jean never met a plant she didn’t like or a seed she didn’t try to grow – from citrus trees to cuttings or starts from almost anything.  She was a known guardian of the Bonamici family fig tree for over 70 years.  She also loved and cultured orchids.

No story of Jean’s life would be complete without mention of her beloved hummingbirds.  For years, she and Doug fed them at their various homes and enjoyed their scrappy attitudes.  The hummers will miss her, as we all miss her.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, and by son Bob.

Jean is survived by her dear Doug Kimble of Wayland; daughter Judy (Gary) Cools of Ludington; grandsons Eric Cools, and Adrian (Mayumi) Bonamici; and great-grandson Kyle. Doug’s children John (Bobbi) Kimble and Patty (Keith) Mosher and their families also survive, as do Jean’s nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Cremation has taken place at Jean’s request.  Jean’s “Celebration of Life” has been cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic – but she never liked funerals anyway.

Friends are asked to sign our on-line guest book and leave a story or message to share with the family.  Please also visit her on-line lifestory/photo gallery at: www.oakgroveludington.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donors to consider a memorial gift in Jean’s name to either the Frederik Meijer Gardens (1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525) or to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743). Virtual services are being handled by Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington. Please visit the funeral home website to share a memory and view the photo tribute, www.oakgroveludington.com.

 

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