Born August 2, 1921 to Alexander (Overfors) and Maria Alena (Mattson) Johnson at home in “Swede Town” outside of Roscommon, MI. Lillian began her education at Wayne School and, having learned to read and write from her sisters, was immediately promoted to second grade as there were no other children her age for kindergarten or first grade. Graduating from Roscommon High School at age 16 she was immediately employed by the National Youth Administration as a typist in the Roscommon County Courthouse. From that position she proceeded as Secretary to the Roscommon County Prosecutor, John Donahue and later Fred Cadwell.
Lillian pursued her curiosity about “the city” to an office position in Detroit for Continental Casualty Insurance in 1940s, but at the beginning of World War II was requested to return to Roscommon as Clerk of Rationing for the Office of Price Administration.
In 1941 she met a charming Michigan State Trooper, Gordon E. Grinwis, who threatened her with a traffic ticket for not stopping at a stop sign. Their argument over whether Lillian did or did not stop continued through their courtship and 52 year marriage begun in 1948. Mr. and Mrs. Grinwis relocated to Lansing in 1948 where Lillian worked with the State of Michigan Health Department.
After raising two children in Lansing, Lillian worked elections, and was active in Plymouth Congregational Church until her husband’s debilitating stroke in 1990 and her own decline to Lewy-Body Dementia beginning in 2002. Through her life, Lillian’s love and humor lifted the spirits of all who knew her.
Lillian enjoyed researching genealogy and her thirty years of correspondence and research where used extensively by subsequent Grinwis and Mattson/Overfors genealogists. She also enjoyed music and played the piano, a skill shared and encouraged in her children. While helping compose this obituary she proudly stated, “I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do.”
She is preceded in death by her husband, Gordon E. Grinwis, her parents, elder siblings Alice (Charles) Cobb, Ellen (James I) Clark and William (“Willy John”) Johnson. Surviving are son, Michael B. (Susan) Grinwis, daughter, Diana L. Grinwis (Fred Kling), grandchildren Kristina M. (Tasha) Lewis-Grinwis and Kari L. (Mark) Sak, many nieces and nephews and their descendents.
Visitation at noon and Celebration of Life at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Plymouth Congregational Church Labyrinth Garden, the East Lansing ALFA Center, or the Alzheimer’s Association.
The family expresses sincere gratitude for the tender care Lillian received from the staff of East Lansing ALFA Center, Hometown Home Health & Hospice, Dr. Kristen Gaumer of Sparrow Senior Health, Dr. Janis Rygwelski, MD, and caregivers Pauline Perkins and Tina Kling.