Marion Vander Veen was born in Webberville, MI on January 21 in 1924. She then moved to various cities in Michigan, before meeting husband, Dick, in Muskegon, where they played opposite each other in their high school Christmas pageant. While Dick served in WWII, Marion graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a teaching degree. She served as a national officer of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, which presented her with its Mabel Lee Walton national leadership award, calling her “one of those unusual people who is as pretty as she is intelligent as she is charming.”

The couple married in 1946 and moved to Boston, where Marion taught grade school in Brookline while Dick attended Harvard Law School. In 1950, they settled in Grand Rapids, where they built their first home, and were active members of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

During her life, Marion accomplished many things including: helping with her husband’s campaign for congressman in 1974, active in the International Women’s Club, being appointed to Michigan’s Electoral College, and establishing the Vander Veen Center for the Book at the Grand Rapids Public Library.

Marion Vander Veen passed away on March 19, 2019. Her spirit of adventure matched her husband Dick’s, and her grace, liveliness, and love of beauty embroidered everything they did together. She was an accomplished water colorist, a gardener, a committed Democrat, and the encouraging mother of three skating, sailing, nature-loving boys. Marion’s civic commitment continued to the end of her life. In 2018 she established the Marion C. Vander Veen Great Lakes Education Fund to engage and educate young people to “protect our Great Lakes for future generations.”


To support the fund, click here