Obituary: Marianne Gibbs Smith, 76, Ludington.

January 7, 2019

Marianne Gibbs Smith

Obituary: Marianne Gibbs Smith, 76, Ludington.

Surrounded by family and with her daughters at her bedside, Marianne Gibbs Smith, 76, of Ludington passed into the arms of Jesus on January 5, 2019.  While Marianne had a lengthy illness, she was productive with Kingdom work until she went to be with the Lord.

Marianne Gibbs was born to Harold and Alice (Reek) Gibbs in Ludington on March 19, 1942.  Marianne grew up in Ludington and attended Ludington High School. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Marianne married H. Richard (Dick) Smith in Ludington on July 10, 1964 and had three daughters.  In the late 60s and early 70s, she was a substitute teacher at Ludington High School and worked at her parent’s restaurants, Gibbs Downtown Restaurant and Country House.

Marianne became a born-again Christian on October 28, 1972 and it transformed her life and everything she did from that day on.  She loved her church family at the Community Church and was very active as president of Women’s Society and Christian Education. In 1982, after the death of her father, Harold Gibbs, Marianne took over as general manager of Gibbs Country House and ran the restaurant until 1992.  In 1992, she went to Bastrop, Texas and attended Bible School at the Bastrop Christian Outreach Center. After a mission trip to Belize, Central America, Marianne moved to be a full-time missionary in Belize in 1993. As a missionary, she served dinner to the homeless in the Belize City park and ministered to prison inmates and children of gang members.  She was considered an honorary member of both the Crips and the Bloods. She purchased a building in downtown Belize City and created a not-for-profit outreach, My Father’s House. She loved the people of Belize and her time there was a great adventure of faith and God’s provision.

Due to a lung disease, Marianne moved back to Michigan from Belize in 2006.  While she was not well enough to continue her mission work in Central America, she went to Redding, California in 2009 to attend Bethel School of Ministry and be a part of a great community of faith and healing.  She returned to Michigan in 2012 and spent her time in Ludington and Cadillac with her daughters. She wrote many books of poetry, including a book that was published in 2015, The Messiah Story, and prayed on a national prayer line every day.

Marianne was a wonderful mother who gave love uniquely and unconditionally to everyone she knew.   Whether she was far away or close by, she took the time to build close relationships with all of her grandchildren.  After her relationship with the Lord, her greatest treasure was the time she spent with friends and family. The family is so grateful for her new friend, who came from Texas to sings, the songs Marianne wrote, record them in an album, A Download from Heaven, and care for her like she was her own family.  Miracle Mary Hanley, you are an angel sent from heaven.

Marianne is survived by her daughters:  Anne and Mike Smith Zdrodowski, Amy Smith Bennett, and Susan and Hal Filter; seven grandchildren:  Joshua, Sarah, and Noah Zdrodowski; Samuel Bennett; and Meredith, Kathryn, and Hannah Filter; brother David and Sandy Gibbs, nieces, nephew, and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Harold and Alice Gibbs.

A celebration of life service will be conducted on Saturday, January 12 at 11 a.m. at Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington.   The family will receive friends on Friday at Oak Grove from 6 to 8 p.m. and at 10 a.m. on Saturday until the time of the service.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Salt and Light Council ( or the 700 Club.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington,