April 1, 1915 – July 3, 2015
One of the great sparks on Earth flickered and went out Friday, July 3rd when Marian (Markoff) Davies peacefully passed away in her sleep at the amazing age of 100. If the measure of our lives is how we face each day and find happiness, then Marian was an inspiration for us all. A fiercely independent Russian with a twinkle in her eye, she didn’t buy into the concept of growing old and lived on her own until she was 98. She drove a car until she was 92. Danced like she was a teenager at all her grandchildren’s weddings. Swam laps regularly in the Oak Park YMCA pool until her body would no longer let her. And even rode in back of a convertible as the official 2013 Senior Queen of the Holt Hometown Festival. Her unbelievable life was chronicled in a March 2008 Lansing State Journal article appropriately headlined, “Forever Young.” A real firecracker, her laugh was contagious and she loved to joke around. Marian was a true social butterfly, seemingly booked with a constant schedule of get-togethers, lunches, card games, and home visits well into her 90s (even when she had to take the bus to get there). An artist with needle-and-thread, Marian was a self-taught seamstress who made everything from winter coats and nightgowns to Halloween costumes and robes for her children and their families. A prolific baker as well, she was most known for her signature casseroles and annual tins of Christmas cookies she’d mass produce in her kitchen and drop off to a host of shut-ins, friends and relatives. She was a devout member of North Westminister Presbyterian Church in Lansing, serving in multiple positions, including deacon, and active in the church’s social work through its Advent House Ministries. She grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and met a Coast Guard officer stationed there named John (Jack) Davies, whom she married in 1945. They later had two daughters and settled in Lansing in 1952 after living briefly in Romeo. Jack, who died in 1993 from cancer, was a Michigan State Police officer. After raising kids, Marian reinvented herself and went back to work in the 1960s, first at J.C. Penney’s doing alterations, then at Eddington Rug, before finally landing a job with the state of Michigan’s foster care home licensing division. She retired at 70 in 1985 and admitted she initially felt lost without the purpose of work each day. But Marian weathered life’s pain, never accepted any loss as a reason to get maudlin, and found immense joy in the small things. She was the very symbol of fortitude; the mortar in the foundation of our family. She welcomed with open arms all the new members who arrived. She saved us and pulled us through, and gave us reasons to band together and try again to be more forgiving and patient. She made us all better. Forever our symbol of strength.
Marian is survived by her two daughters, Deanna Boyko and Beverly Brighton; six grandchildren – Bob (Michele) Allison, Angela Boyko, Paul (Annessa) Allison, Ian (Erica) Boyko, Rachel (Luke) Ward, and Terry Brighton Jr.; and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack, her sisters Ann Szorek, Fimma Stanton and Rita Cenfettelli, and brother Michael Yokoff.
A celebration of Marian’s life will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 18 at North Westminister Presbyterian Church, 743 North Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Lansing. Visitation with the family will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 17 at Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the non-profit Advent House Ministries or the Salvation Army.