Cherry Blossoms

Marilyn J. Holder

June 6, 1926 ~ May 19, 2020 (age 93)


Our beloved matriarch Marilyn (Jane) Thomas Holder has left her circle of family and friends. With family by her side, Marilyn departed this life of 93 years in Midland, Michigan on May 19, 2020. She was born June 6, 1926 to the late Talbot Earl Thomas and Jane Eggleston Thomas in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

Marilyn’s love of music as a child led to a decision to pursue music in college. She graduated from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music majoring in Organ Performance. Oberlin College was where she met the love of her life Benjamin Holder. They were married in Tallmadge, Ohio on June 19, 1949. They celebrated nearly 60 years of marriage and adventures before Ben’s passing in 2009.

Ben and Marilyn made their home in Midland, Michigan for 30 years where they raised their family. She was a devoted mother, piano teacher and organist for St. John’s Episcopal Church. In 1955, they built a cottage in Northern Michigan and enjoyed life at Lake Louise as well. After Ben’s retirement, they took joy in making Punta Gorda, Florida their home while still spending summers at Lake Louise.

Marilyn displayed a youthful and gracious spirit throughout her life. She loved entertaining and was most energized by a gathering of family and friends. She cherished her close friendships.  Marilyn was indeed the matriarch because of her love and devotion to family.  She took it upon herself to organize many family reunions in North Carolina and Florida during the last decade of her life.

As a lover of finance and numbers, she was a founding member in a profitable Punta Gorda women’s investment club for 25 years. Boating, tennis and golf also occupied much of her time after Ben's retirement. Her passion for books, bridge, and other games was often apparent. She was proud to pass her renowned competitive spirit on to her children and grandchildren.

Marilyn’s courageous battle with cancer led to a gift of three more active years, during which time she experienced many blessings.  Those included the birth of three great grandchildren and attending the marriages of three grandsons in Michigan, California and Texas.

She had recently embraced returning to Midland and making Primrose Retirement Community her home.  The family would like to thank the staff for their wonderful and loving care, along with Grace Hospice in her final days.

Marilyn is survived by her son Dr. Blair (Elaine) Holder of New Philadelphia, Ohio, her daughter Elizabeth Swift of Midland, Michigan, her son Dr. Scott (Patty) Holder of Austin, Texas, her daughter Lynn (Richard) Hartman of Ft. Worth, Texas; grandchildren Katie (Brad) Speed, Dr. David (Kristen) Holder, Dr. Jessica (Erik) Walker, Benjamin (Pooja) Holder, Christine Hartman, Reed (Anna) Swift, Jeffrey (Becky) Hartman; and eight great grandchildren Ellie, Mia, and June Holder, Lanie and Ryan Speed, Stella and Ava Walker, and Shepherd Hartman.  Marilyn is also survived by her sister-in-law Gretta (Wesley) Kettelkamp, a niece and nephews.  Along with her husband, she was preceded in death by her brothers Robert E. Thomas and T. Earl Thomas Jr., nephew Gregory Kettlekamp and son-in-law Howard G. Swift III.

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Lake Louise Christian Community Endowment Fund, 11037 Thumb Lake Rd., Boyne Falls, MI 49713 or the Cancer Services Endowment Fund at Midland Area Community Foundation, 76 Ashman Circle, Midland, MI 48640.

A celebration of Marilyn’s life will be scheduled at a later date where we will share her favorite hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”.

Arrangements are under the care of the Wilson MILLER Funeral Home.


A service summary is not available


Cancer Services Endowment Fund at Midland Area Community Foundation
76 Ashman Circle, Midland MI 48640

Lake Louise Christian Community Endowment Fund
11037 Thumb Lake Rd., Boyne Falls MI 49713

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