Memories of Lynn Meilander from Phyllis Grandison Zuehlke (sister-in-law).

Shared by Jeff Meilander on September 14, 2020
Lynn and I did not use the term sister-in-law.We were sisters!

I first met Marilyn (later called Lynn) on a beautiful spring day at the Zeta Tau Alpha house on the campus of Purdue University.Her brother, Ron, and I were close to an engagement.This was my first meeting of his family.As Ed, Janice and Marilyn arrived, Ron took their coats.I complimented Marilyn (8 years old) on her pretty coat.She replied quickly, hands on her hips and face tilted, “It should be pretty!It cost more than my mom’s!”I have never known another time when Janice Zuehlke was speechless!

Ron and I married in Greenfield, Indiana on June 16, 1956.Ed Zuehlke was hospitalized after suffering a series of heart attacks and unable to attend.He insisted the wedding not be postponed!Lynn and my cousin, Nancy, lighted candles for the ceremony.

In 1960, Lynn and her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio.Ed now had a corporate level position with Republic Steel at their home offices.Lynn was not thrilled with the move and her enrollment at Rocky River, Ohio High School.

In October, 1962, Ron, Ricky (almost 4), Sue (3) and I were transferred by Ron’s company, International Telephone and Telegraph to Palo Alto, California.This was “hippie” time in the San Francisco area and a most unsettling time in our nation.Lynn came to California to visit us for six weeks that summer.We had a wonderful time.She wanted to learn how to cook.Her mom was not a good cook and didn’t encourage Lynn to learn those skills.She was an excellent student!Our next door neighbor also had a summer visitor—a niece from the Netherlands.Shopping became an enjoyable activity for the girls!

We accepted a company transfer back to Chicago with pleasure and moved on October 31, 1963.In just a few weeks, President Kennedy lost his life.In March, 1964, our son Bruce arrived!Lynn wanted to be the “fun” aunt, but distance didn’t allow that to happen.

Years of college, marriage, new home, the wonderful welcome of Jeff to the family…Ed’s death, Janice’s death, a move to Michigan…life was challenging for Lynn.The constant happiness was Jeff!!!Pure delight!

Ron and I had been transferred to Greenwood, South Carolina in June, 1981.

Rick had graduated from Central Michigan University and married Theresa Lauer September 5, 1981. Their son, Michael, was born October 12, 1983.Lynn was chosen to be Mike’s godmother! She accepted with pleasure!

Les, Lynn and Jeff came to Greenwood in November, 1987 for her nephew’s(Bruce) wedding to Donna Brock.

Rick’s wife, Theresa, sadly died of a brain tumor April 20, 2004.Lynn and Jeff came to Mt. Pleasant, MI to assist and grieve with us.

March 17, 1999 was a tragic day!Lynn’s brother, Ron, died suddenly while playing golf!Lynn came immediately to grieve with me.I will never forget her kindness for staying an extra week to comfort me.

Lynn’s own health issues were becoming challenging.No matter her personal issues, she found others who needed care and attention.

She leaves our family who treasured her laughter and joy and those to whom she gave compassion.

She was my sister!God bless her! And bless Jeff, Julie and their precious boys!

Shared by Jeff Meilander on September 12, 2020
I have many memories of Aunt Lynn growing up. Even now when I think of her the first image I see is her big smile. It was genuine, when she smiled saying she was happy to see you, you could feel it. I remember being young when she had her purple convertible and I thought it was the most amazing thing that someone could have a car of any kind that was purple and even sparkled! I remember I got to ride in it when she came while we were on a family trip to Myrtle Beach. I believe I was around ten and someone had done Kristin and I’s makeup and we both felt so fancy. The Aunt Lynn offered to take up for a drive in her purple convertible with the top down around the beach! I felt like the coolest ten year old around. Instantly I knew I wanted to be a lot like my Aunt Lynn. Aunt Lynn was just an amazing person overall. She was kind, generous, hard working, and would do anything she could to help another out. Growing up I really did look up to Aunt Lynn and want to just like her.
Shared by Jeff Meilander on September 10, 2020
Dear Jeff, 
I'm so sorry to hear that your Mother has passed away.  She had such a difficult time struggling with her illness.  But fortunately she was able to fulfill her greatest desire.  She told me she wanted to share the monumental events in your attend your wedding and be here to see a grandchild. I am so glad to know she was able to fulfill those dreams.

Your friendship with Josh brought your Mom and I together.  We had an immediate connection and I always enjoyed being with her.  I admired her intensive drive and her abundance of creativity and energy.  She took pity on me as a struggling Cub Scout Den Mother, and she came to my aid. Together we struggled to manage the mayhem of our unruly den of scouts. We brainstormed about how to keep you guys busy, without injuring each other during the meetings.  We planned projects that would keep you interested for the duration, often achieving our main goal which was to send you home without bandages. We spent a lot of time laughing together as we tried to make you guys act like reverent Cub Scouts. At this, we probably failed miserably. Speaking of misery, I wonder how many hours we spent sitting at Alpine Valley waiting for you guys to get off of the slopes so we could go home and get warm!

Lynn was so artistic and I admired her beautiful cross-stitch needlework and braided rugs. (one beautiful cross-stitch hangs in my house)  Her work was flawless. Your home was full of beautiful things, many made by her hands.  She shared her love of antiques and introduced me to the Fairgrounds Antique Market in Geauga County.  Twice a year we would leave early in the morning and shop until it ended in the late afternoon.  She showed me how to find unique items of quality and how to modify them for my home. I learned so much from her and we had so much fun doing it.  When you moved to Michigan I felt a real loss, and was so happy when you returned to Ohio.

I was so glad to have a good friend to share many conversations about our personal lives and our boys.  She told me about her struggle to have a child, the ultimate joy she and your Dad felt when you came into their life. You fulfilled their dreams of becoming a family and you were always the center of their universe.  Her love for you was great and became her purpose in life. So in many ways, her dreams came true. That must have given her a sense of peace.  I'm sure it was a comfort for her to have her beloved son with her as she left this world.  Bless you for being there.

I will remember her with love and am grateful to have had her as a friend.  Blessings to you and your family, especially at this time.  

Jennifer Sixt     
Shared by Jeff Meilander on September 9, 2020
There is much to love and appreciate about Lynn.  I adored her dogged independence.  Even as her mobility declined over the years, she remained committed to full independence in nearly every way.  Though she preferred life without much assistance, she also knew that some folks needed lots of help.  Independent as she was, she often gave her time and energy to serving those in need, protecting the vulnerable, and acknowledging the challenges of others with compassion.  Her independence was a personal decision, not a law to impose on others.

Lynn was also whip-smart.  Her attention to detail, to process, and her reflex to analyze what could lie ahead was impressive, if not intimidating.  Her mind worked like a super-computer and thinking strategically was second nature.  I can scarcely recall a time where she wasn’t fully engaged in a conversation, reading a room, or thinking into the future.

What I loved most about Lynn was her commitment to Jeff.  Lynn’s loyalty to and affection for Jeff’s was something she wore on her sleeve.  She was immensely proud of Jeff and supportive of his ideas and passions.  Not many people will remember, but Lynn’s sponsorship of Jeff’s passions extended deep into his boyhood.  When Jeff and a couple of his friends started their own local environmental advocacy group, RAD (Recycle America Daily- if I remember correctly), Lynn was their organizer, their campaigner, and even played a role in getting the startup covered by the local news.  Lynn waited much of her adult life to be a mom (a role she cherished), but was never selfish about it.  When Jeff sought to establish a relationship with his birth family and mother (Mary), Lynn facilitated, supported, and nourished that relationship.  Her love was selfless and unconditional.  
Cody Canning

Aunt Lynn

Shared by Jeff Meilander on September 8, 2020
  • Aunt Lynn was the big sister I never had. I loved it when we would go visit Grandma and Grandpa Zuehlke and Lynn would be home.  I thought she was so cool. Whatever she did I had to do...
  • One time I remember Lynn came camping with us. At that time she loved to sleep in and I remember my dad, her brother, telling us to be quiet because she was still sleeping. I never thought she would get up. 
  • I remember Lynn teaching me how to hula hoop. I kind of had it down but she helped me perfect my style.
  • When I was going through my cancer treatments she would call me every week to check on me. ❤
  • I really liked it when you all lived in Michigan and you were only an hour away from my family. Lynn, Les and Jeff would come and visit us. Aaron and Kristopher and I would frequently load up in the car and meet up at your house and then go to Potter's Park - the local zoo.
  • When she would come to Lansing for business we would meet up for dinner or lunch depending on the time. On one of these occasions she got to meet Jim and she gave her approval. She said he was a stand up guy.
  • One summer we rented 4 houses at Myrtle Beach SC. It was the whole Zuehlke Family and the whole Lodes family. Lynn drove from Ohio to SC to spend a few days with all of us. Lynn, myself, Aaron and Kristin decided we were going to go to the Outlet Mall. Aaron and Kristin insisted that Aunt Lynn had to drive with the top down in her convertible. So of course she did. But it was July and REALLY hot that day. When we got back to the car the seats were so HOT! Aaron and Kristin were crying and wanted Lynn to put the roof up. Lynn and I told them they were fuddy-duddies and what good was it to have a convertible if you didn't use it. 
  • Every memory I have of Aunt Lynn is a good one. She loved you so much Jeff. She was so happy that you met Julie and said you two are perfect together. Then when you made her a grandmother not once but twice - she was complete. I'm so sad she's gone but am so happy she's not suffering anymore.

    Sue Lodes
Shared by Jeff Meilander on September 8, 2020
I had the pleasure of calling Lynn my boss for the last 21 years.  She hired me as a mover in 1999.  From the start Lynn was an engaged leader, involved with her employees on all levels of the company and willing to create opportunities for those interested in advancement.  Over the years she helped me see my own strengths and offered me different roles that helped me develop my abilities as a leader.  I wouldn’t be doing this job or a part of this organization if it wasn’t for Lynn.  I’ll always be grateful for her guidance, generosity, encouragement, and her friendship. She will be truly missed by everyone.           

Nick Trentanelli
Cleveland, OH
Shared by Jeff Meilander on September 9, 2020
I want you to know how deeply sorry I am.  I pray for comfort for you and your family.  Your mom was a really good person.  I have always worked very closely with her.  She was almost like a stepmom to me.  I actually had the best of both worlds with her.  She always wrapped her arms around me like a daughter but also was a friend I could talk to about anything.  I stayed with TMT early on because your mom valued family. She cherished and adored you.  You were the light of her life.    I never missed a field trip with my kids and I was always a room parent.  Any other jobs I had worked at I’m sure I would have never been able to spend the time with my kids when they were younger.

She was there for me when my mom had her quad bypass surgery and also when my father passed.  I have stepchildren of my own and I cherish those relationships.  I get the best of both worlds.  Respect as a mother and friendship.  That’s how I felt about your mom.   We even became grandparents around the same time.  She talked non stop about them (just like your dad).  She would email me/text me pictures of your kids.    I can’t tell you how many times we talked in the evenings.  It always started out with her needing help on work stuff and the next thing I know we were on the phone for an hour.

Jeff.. you were everything to her.  Her whole world was around you and for you.  If you need anything, let me know.  I will be there to help! 

Take care of yourself and your family!

Tina Hope
Accounting Manager

Share a story

Illustrate your story with a picture, music or video (optional):