Marilyn Lipnik, 84, passed away on July 30, 2020. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 7, 1935, she was one of four beloved children raised by Russell Kenneth and Hazel Marie (Patterson) Craft.
Marilyn grew up in Adel, Iowa, where she attended high school, graduating as the class of 1953 valedictorian. Her modesty prevents us from sharing that she was also voted homecoming queen.
While attending Stephens College – where she earned an Associates in Arts degree in 1955 – her professors recognized what her family had long known: she had a sharp intellect and aptitude for science. Encouraged to continue her chemistry studies, she followed the advice and earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1958.
Her early professional career led her to the East Coast, where she began working for the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware as a chemist. A fortuitous (especially for her children) opportunity to travel to Europe led to acceptance of a position with Parke-Davis in Ann Arbor, Michigan which became her new home. Introduced by a mutual friend to Gerald “Jerry” Lipnik, they wed on September 5, 1964, and remained married until his death in 2001. Her devoted care for him during a long illness was genuinely inspiring.
Marilyn left the professional world with the birth of her first son to take on what she would consider to be her most important and cherished role – raising her four sons: Bob, Mike, Steve, and Andrew. She always made family her priority, and couldn’t have been more proud of her sons. She tirelessly kept all four boys on track with various school activities and sports, and was an inexhaustible volunteer to support these endeavors.
The arrival of her grandchildren, Ella, Ethan, Evan, Henry, and Elliott, brought her great joy and added irreplaceable richness to each of their lives. Her sons and grandchildren were her sources of pride and joy – she loved spending as much time with them as possible.
Marilyn led a very active life. She was an avid gardener who loved to plant her annuals as soon as the weather would allow. She was partial to pink and white impatiens and bright red geraniums. Marilyn enjoyed tennis and golf, and you could find her on the tennis court with her ladies group every Monday morning playing until she was 80. She had many close friends with whom she shared her passion for golf, bridge, and attending Waterman Lectures. She always looked forward to her annual January friends’ trip to Florida.
Marilyn loved to read, making frequent trips to the library, often to look for a mystery novel she had not yet read.
Embracing all things Ann Arbor with vigor, she followed Michigan athletics loyally, except perhaps on one Saturday per year, when Michigan would face Iowa on the football field – where her allegiance lay on this question remains unknown.
At age 60, Marilyn re-entered the professional workforce, training to become an H&R Block tax preparer. She worked as a seasonal tax preparer with H&R Block for twenty years. In addition to working, Marilyn always felt it important to give back to the community she loved, volunteering for Meals on Wheels for many years, up until this spring.
Marilyn never liked to have the spotlight on her. Her friends and family will remember her for finding ways to quietly help while deflecting recognition. She refused to slow down, planting her entire flower garden (with help from close friends) after bouncing back from a brief hospitalization this past spring. She was fiercely independent, never one to ask for help, and never heard to complain.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Ann Craft Vance, and her husband, Jerry. She is survived by her sons Bob, Mike (Jill), Steve (Yael), and Andrew; grandchildren Ella, Ethan, Evan, Henry, and Elliott; brother Robert Craft (Heidi) and sister Louise Gossett (Joe). She will be deeply missed by her family, friends and all who knew her.
The Lipnik Family is especially grateful to the medical team at the University of Michigan Peritoneal Dialysis clinic, for helping our mother continue to live her life with grace and independence for many special years.
A visitation was held at Muehlig Funeral Chapel on August 2, 2020. Marilyn will be interred during a family ceremony in her hometown of Adel, Iowa, on Saturday, August 8, 2020.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution in honor of Marilyn may do so to Ann Arbor Meals On Wheels, National Kidney Foundation, or the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be left at www.caldwellparrish.com