Mary Gertrude Willis

Mary Gertrude Willis

December 13, 1942 - February 6, 2021
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Mary Gertrude Willis,

Fenton, Michigan,

Formerly of Frankenmuth.

Beloved mother and grandmother, passed away Saturday, February 6, 2021 at Vicinia Gardens – Intermediate Care Assisted Living in Fenton, Michigan. Daughter of the late Fred and Gertrude (Switalski) Matzelle, Mary was born December 13, 1942 in Saginaw, Michigan. She was a graduate of Saginaw High School and Central Michigan University. Mary always had a smile and kind word for everyone. She was a devout Catholic and attended Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Frankenmuth where she was one of its founding members. Mary was employed by the Frankenmuth School District and taught first and second grade for 40 years at List Elementary School. Teaching was the greatest joy in her life. She loved all her students over the years-especially the spirited ones whom she affectionately called “little rodders.” After retiring, she enjoyed traveling and adventures with her “bestest” friend, Kat Robertson and her husband, Ed, exploring various destinations including Vermont, Vegas, New Orleans and other parts of the United States. She also loved vacationing in Manistee where she spent many childhood summers with her extended family. Her weekly lunches with her brother, Albert were very dear to her. She exercised regularly with her trainer and dear friend, Danielle Goss, who was very helpful and special to her. She also loved frequent shopping extravaganzas-always certain to be “dressed to the nines.” Her daughter, Katie was her constant companion and she loved spending time with her and her granddaughter, Allie.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughter, Katherine (Brett – her “favorite son-in-law”) Howell, Fenton; her granddaughter, Alexandra Howell, South Bend, Indiana; her brother, Albert (Anne) Matzelle, Howell; a nephew, Kyle (Ann) Matzelle, Oakley; her nieces, Holly Matzelle and Lauren (Karl) Weinner, all of Lansing. A special thank you to Vicinia Gardens-Intermediate Care and The Medical Team Hospice, both of Fenton, for their wonderful care and support.

Funeral Liturgy will take place 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 11, 2021 at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, 958 E. Tuscola St., Frankenmuth, Michigan. Rev. Fr. Patrick Jankowiak will officiate with burial in Blessed Trinity Cemetery. Friends may visit at the church where the family will be present on Thursday from 9:30 a.m. until time of Mass. In accordance with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services ordinance, the limitations of number gathered, mask wearing and social distancing will be observed. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to Blessed Trinity Parish.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, February 11th, 2021 | 9:30am - 11:00am
    Thursday, February 11th, 2021 9:30am - 11:00am
    Blessed Trinity Catholic Church
    958 E. Tuscola St.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Thursday, February 11th, 2021 | 11:00am
    Thursday, February 11th, 2021 11:00am
    Blessed Trinity Catholic Church
    958 E. Tuscola St.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
In Notre Dame, Alexa Tipton & Dugan Delp, Todd and Liz Brewer, and other have sent flowers to the family of Mary Gertrude Willis.
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Tina Samson

Posted at 11:59am
I had the pleasure of teaching with Mary for many years at List Elementary. Mary loved teaching and had such a passion for what she did, especially for teaching reading. She was SO funny and could tell a story like no other, usually making fun of herself in the process. I will miss Mary and hope she knew how much she was loved and admired by all of her List friends like me.

In Notre Dame, Alexa Tipton & Dugan Delp

Posted at 08:43pm
Our deepest condolences and prayers.
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In Notre Dame, Alexa Tipton & Dugan Delp purchased flowers for the family of Mary Gertrude Willis. Send Flowers


Todd and Liz Brewer

Posted at 06:28am
So sorry for the loss of your dear mom. May the Lord's peace & presence be your deepest comfort & your certain hope. With Love, Todd & Liz Brewer
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Todd and Liz Brewer purchased flowers for the family of Mary Gertrude Willis. Send Flowers


Mary and John Skoglund

Posted at 08:12pm
We remember Mary from many years ago as a colleague in Frankenmuth and as a sister church member of ours at Blessed Trinity Church. She was a reading specialist at List School at the time, and we were classroom teachers. We remember an evening when Mary Invited us over for a lovely dinner to congratulate us on our December, 1970, wedding. I cannot remember what was on the menu, but I do remember how kind it was of her to reach out and celebrate with us in her home on a snowy February evening. And, the best entertainment of the evening was little Katie, who regaled us all with her stories and songs. We often enjoyed seeing Mary and Katie in town or at church. We were the two Mary G.’s, as she was Gertrude, and I, Geraldine. I think it took us many years to appreciate those monikers. I remember Mary’s sense of humor coming into play quite often, and recall her teasingly calling our late friend, speech teacher Sue McKenney “Sue Ann Waggelhorn” just to be silly. (Sue’s maiden name was Wogaman.) I am happy to know that Mary and Kat maintained that close friendship over all those years, and am happy that Mary, Katie and Allie all had the love of one another. Mary was a kind and loving person. I happy that we were able to be part of her life for those few years in Frankenmuth. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, to Kat and Ed, and to all who knew and loved Mary.

Kristin Hardy

Posted at 07:54pm
All my love and prayers to Katie, Brett and Allie.
She was a beautiful person and will be missed so very much.

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