Marylin M. Salisbury

August 20, 1925 ~ August 27, 2018 (age 93)

Marylin Margaret (Krahn) Salisbury, 93, took Jesus’ hand and died peacefully early Monday morning August 27 at Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids, MI. She was born at the family farm on August 20, 1925, the eldest daughter of Herman and Neva.  As a young girl, she attended Reed School, a one-room schoolhouse with 1st through 8th grade, then she went on to graduate from Big Rapids High School.  She married Darwin R. “Red” Salisbury and he became an ordained United Methodist minister.  They celebrated four children and sixty years of marriage together.  While working in all aspects as a minister’s wife and raising a family, Marylin decided it was time she received a college education.  In her early forties she graduated with an Associate Degree from Montcalm Community College, then later in her mid-forties she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education (with honors) from Michigan State University.  She received an endorsement in Special Education for the Hearing Impaired from Grand Valley State University.  Marylin was diagnosed with ‘nerve deafness’ at the age of 35 and was told she needed to wear bilateral hearing aids for the rest of her life.  This prompted her to research and understand hearing impairments which led to her educational studies.  She became a Public-School Special Education Teacher for Hearing Impaired students K-12 in Holland and a substitute teacher for Special Ed in Grand Rapids and Oceana County.  She loved her students and found joy in their accomplishments and educational growth and she admired their fortitude for living with special needs. 

Marylin was a wonderful loving and caring mother to four children and she will be deeply missed.  Deemed the ‘best cook ever,’ she believed in home cooked meals and made delicious main dishes, breads, canned goods, pies and outstanding strawberry short cake.  She was always trying the latest trends and was ahead of her time when she was grocery shopping at health food co-ops in the 1970’s.  She possessed many creative talents including sewing, quilting, gardening, playing the piano and all-around decorating.  She loved to read, do puzzles and play Uno and board games - especially when she would win.  She enjoyed singing and was fond of hymns and musicals along with meaningful movies.  She was a dedicated mother and taught her own children well, instilling in them a love for creativity, learning, exploring nature and being in God’s great outdoors. 

Most beloved to Marylin were her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.  She was a Grandma with the ‘most-est’ and adored and spoiled her grands with baking cookies, handing out candy, and making sure everyone had at least two helpings of dessert.  Because her grands ranged in age from babies to young adults, she often became their babysitter, teacher, cheerleader, counselor and confidant.  She was always (and every day) their prayer warrior.  As her oldest grandson so appropriately says, “She was my inspiration.”

Together Marylin and Red loved traveling and they were blessed to experience trips abroad and throughout the United States.  One of her fondest memories is being re-baptized in the River Jordan in Israel by her husband, Red.  She loved Great Britain and her travels there provided new friendships and an everlasting desire to have a beautiful English garden in her own backyard.  She loved taking tours by boat, on foot and in buses, barbequing, cooking, entertaining and building a wealth of lifelong friends.  Further highlights of their ministry together included teaching in leadership training school and church schools, serving churches in North Star, MI, Breckenridge, MI, Spencerville, IN, Shelby, Clare, Greenville, Holland, and Grand Rapids, MI as well as spending six years in the District Superintendency of the West Michigan Conference.  Marylin and Red would always refer to being ‘back at home’ when at their cottage on Lake Michigan.  They found solitude in the beauty of the sunsets and Marylin loved to walk the beach to find unusual and beautiful driftwood and stones and to swim in the cool water.  “Surely, they lived in God’s Country.”

In 2004, Marylin moved from Petoskey, MI to Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids, MI.  She was active in several groups including the Red Hatters and weekly morning Bible Study.  She volunteered to read to schoolchildren, played piano for second floor residents and volunteered to feed patients in skilled living.  She walked the halls of Clark delivering packages and flowers to residents on a weekly basis and she continued to swim three days a week in the Clark pool at the age of ninety.  She rode the Clark bus to Sunday church services at First United Methodist Church where she is a member and later she attended weekly Chapel services at Clark. 

Marylin was preceded in death by her parents, her husband the Rev. Darwin “Red” Salisbury, son Monty F. Salisbury, son-in-law Don Luther and great grandson Robert Buchholz II.  She is survived by her three daughters Lynn Luther of TN, Conda Risner (Fritz Scott) of MI and Lonnie (Brian) Woodard of MI, daughter-in-law Debbie Salisbury of CA, sister Beverly Bailey of MI and sister-in-law Vonda (Roger) Kraak of MI.  Her surviving twelve grandchildren and twenty three great grandchildren include John (Joanna) Salisbury, Alexandria, Connor, CA; Julia (Steve Humfleet) Salisbury, Autumn, Nina Nikki, WA; Roslyn McNeill, Shane, TN; Susannah (Chris) Gatenby, Liam, Madeleine, WA; Amanda (Casey) VanDeGriff, Tyler, Evan, TN; Rob (Carrie) Buchholz Chanda, Ciera, MS; Heather (Johnny) LoPresto, Allatia, James, Nicholas, Daniel, MS; Jacob (Sarah) Buchholz, Jessie, Mya, MI; Vanessa Stevens (Shawn), Samantha, Carson, SC; Megan (John) Marhofer, Emma, Lillian, Riese, MI; Brent Woodard, MI; Brittany (Brent) Massingill, GA. Marylin leaves thirteen great, great, grandchildren and many adored nieces, nephews and cousins.

Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at the Clark Retirement Community Chapel, 1551 Franklin Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 on Friday, September 7 at 1:30 P.M.  A time of visitation with the family will follow the service.  In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the benevolent fund of Clark Retirement Community, Emmanuel Hospice or UMCOR in care of First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids.  A private family committal service will be held at Highland View Cemetery in Big Rapids, MI.  Arrangements are being handled by Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service, 4291 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.  To share a photo or memory and sign the family’s online guestbook please visit

Marylin’s family would like to especially thank Clark’s Third Floor staff and Emmanuel Hospice staff for their love, support and extra care they gave to Mom during these past weeks.

Donations may be made to:

Clark Retirement Community Benevolent Fund
1551 Franklin St. SE, Grand Rapids MI 49506
Tel: 1-616-452-1568

UMCOR United Methodist Committee on Relief
458 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta GA 30308
Tel: 1-800-554-8583

Emmanuel Hospice
2161 Leonard St. N.W., Grand Rapids MI 49504
Tel: 1-616-719-0919

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