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M. Lois Harlan

December 31, 1926 - June 1, 2022
Traverse City, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Margrette Lois Harlan, 95, of Traverse City, died, Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at Orchard Creek Assisted Living.

She was born on December 31, 1926 in Orangeburg County, Willow Township, Neeses, South Carolina the daughter of Daniel Wesley Williamson and Agnes Bertha (Davis) Williamson. She was raised in Neeses and previously lived in Akron, Ohio, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Traverse City.

Lois graduated with a BS from Winthrop College, and was certified as a Dietician from Watts Hospital in Durham, North Carolina

Lois was a Dietician in Akron, Ohio and homemaker most of her life.

She was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church, Grawn United Methodist Church, and volunteered at Meijer Gardens, Blodgett Hospital Guild, Hospice of Michigan, and the Community Garden.

Lois loved to cook, and especially bake; her cookies and pies were legendary among Deborah and John’s friends. She made pickles and jellies almost every year for decades and was famous for peanut brittle at Christmas. After moving to Traverse City she volunteered in the kitchen at Grawn United Methodist Church, slicing vegetables and tasting, always wanting to add more garlic. Lois also loved to knit, making scarves for friends and relatives and knitted hats for newborn babies.

She grew up on a farm fostering a love to garden and having had a large garden for both flowers and vegetables. Her children shared, “we ate from the garden almost every night in the summer and fall.”

Lois enjoyed playing the piano and fostered a love of music in her children. She loved to travel. Some of Lois’ special trips was to Alaska which included a cruise to see icebergs; a covered wagon trip following the Western Trail, multiple trips to Europe, and trailer vacations in various places in the US, especially early winter months in Florida.

Lois has a love for the outdoors; spending many weekend afternoons at the lake for picnics and boating, enjoyed camping and canoeing with her husband and children. Lois and her husband volunteered and lived at the Ludington Lighthouse for 3 weeks one summer.

Lois loved playing solitaire and spent many hours at Orchard Creek playing solitaire on the computer.

Lois’ children remember she was a very special lady. She was a great homemaker, wife, and mother. She took life as it came, never complaining even when things didn’t go so well. She had a strong faith and wore out more than one Bible. She met Marty, the love of her life on a blind date in Akron, Ohio and married him 6 months later, May 20, 1950. Their devotion to each other and strong marriage has been a guide for her children. The care she gave to Marty as he declined after a stroke, spending nearly every day with him just to visit and be by his side, was truly an inspiration. She both gave and received a great amount of joy from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She will be greatly missed, but we know she is now at peace with her great love Marty.

Lois is survived by children, Deborah (John) Nickerson, of Beulah, Michigan, and John (Judy) Harlan, of Lake Zurich, Illinois; grandchildren, Dan Nickerson, James Harlan and Katherine (Brandon) Wolff; great-grandchildren, Mason and Emma Wolff.

She is preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Conan and Harold Williamson; and her beloved husband, Marty.

Lois’s family would like to thank the caregivers at Orchard Creek, Hope Village, Hospice of Michigan, and Options for Senior Living for the great care they gave her.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Frederick Meijer Gardens of Grand Rapids, Hospice of Michigan of Traverse City and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A celebration of life will be held 3:30 pm, Saturday, October 1, 2022 at the Grawn United Methodist Church with a luncheon to follow.

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