Marion Komendera
  • 87 years old
  • Date of birth: May 4, 1929
  • Place of birth:
    Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • Date of passing: Aug 28, 2016
  • Place of passing:
    Harrison Twp, Michigan, United States
...I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Marion Komendera, 87, born on May 4, 1929 and passed away on August 28, 2016. We will remember her forever.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Erik Komendera on 3rd September 2016

"“To the Best Mother in the World”

Ever since I started giving my mother cards (birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas) I would write a special message for her, starting with that phrase {editor’s note: referring to the title in quotations}.

There was many reasons for this…{again referring to why she was/is the best mother in the world}….my mother’s attributes. Her wisdom, acquired knowledge in so many areas of the academics, and her self-less character. Also, the one most important to me…her spirituality.

My mother and I would share our spiritual experiences and at this very moment, every word I write down, I send my thoughts with my spirit to hers.

Mother, my love for you is eternal and I thank you for being my mother. I have learned so many different things from you in which I apply every day in my life - all though we had our differences in the past years, our mutual trust and inner respect for each other was rock solid.

I know I will see you again someday…until that time comes I will always see you in my dreams until the end of my life on earth.

I love you forever.

Your son, Erik"

This tribute was added by David Gulick on 2nd September 2016

"My Graham Crackers.  I love you.  Most of my memories of you are from my childhood as we definitely drifted apart as I got older.  But I remember you with warmth, as when I was a child I felt that you loved me.  I definitely didn't feel that way with everyone in my family, but with you I did.  You said "chicken shit" and I thought that was a great term, and I felt like I could tell you at least some of the truth (which I wasn't great at growing up).  I grew up in a world with a lot of fear, but I wasn't afraid of you.  I don't know Grandma, I know you had some really tough times in your life but I'm grateful that you were my Grandma.  I struggle with what to write here because of everything I know about life now, but thank you for the efforts you made to make me feel loved.      
I know you would appreciate this.  It's a beautiful piece from a beautiful book.
The Prophet
On Death
Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.    

I love you Grandma.  I'll see you on the other side."

This tribute was added by Jacquelynne Harrell on 31st August 2016

"There is so much I can say...and as it is visibly clear, I wrote a lot. My hope is simply that in reading this, Grandma will be remembered as she was.

I loved coming home from school every day knowing that there was that force of stability…sitting in her the kitchen, doing a crossword, reading the paper, or a book. Sometimes, in the colder months, I could literally smell spaghetti as I would approach the house. As I would walk in and close that front door…I just felt home. The years I lived at home with Grandma, dad, and my brother were routine…there was a sense of reliability. I never had to question where my next meal was coming from (as I did while living with my mother)…I never had to question if there would be a mess…because there never was.

Some of my favorite memories are the nights that there were storms…summer nights specifically. I would go into her room and lay with her if I felt scared. Her presence reassured me that I was safe…with her…safe in my home. I remember going into her room in the middle of the night after a nightmare…and she would just listen to me telling her about the dream… sometimes I would cry…and she would assure me that they were "just" dreams.

I remember vaguely some earlier memories…when Erik would be on one side of her bed and I on the other….she would sing to us…my favorite song that she would sing was “Edelweiss" and she would sing to Erik too.

I remember being sick, even if I managed to make it on her “naughty-list” (which was quite often) it be as if whatever I had done wrong had vanished…I was instantly forgiven…and she would care for me around the clock. Making me soup, giving me Vernor’s, checking my temp, covering me up and tucking me in on the couch.

I remember going through her trunk of memories with her…I was so intrigued by her things. I remember I always loved seeing her jewelry or looking at the nic-nacks on her dresser. They all had special meaning to her. She only head a few things dear to her…they weren’t riches or fancy things…they were keepsakes. That was the kind of woman she was. She never needed material things to make her happy…she didn’t seek after, really, anything for herself…maybe a good book. But things like fancy clothes or new furniture…or name brand items didn’t seem to matter to her. Not that this would surprise me…she grew up with so little in her life. The thing she cherished most was love…to be loved and to give love to her family.

I remember the tree…how much she loved that tree outside. I remember these teenagers tearing leaves off of the tree and grandma scolding them. She believed in that tree…she knew that it had a life of it’s own…and she protected it. They eventually uprooted that tree…and it was truly devastating to her. Maybe it symbolized more than just the life of it’s own…quite possibly she saw herself in it. So, rooted in Hanover…the many years/seasons that she and that tree spent together. She would look out at it from her chair and adore it. My dad told me a week after they all moved out of Hanover…after every last memory had been had…every last dinner…every last opening and closing of the front door…the tree was taken away. The tree’s life ended just as the 20-some years at Hanover had finished for my family.

She loved her little garden in the front of the house…it was never large or extravagant…but she took pride in it. I went by 15802 three years ago…and some of the flowers that she planted with her two hands were still there. They were still there….10 years after we had all left. I am thankful for the those flowers…a remanent of Grandma…of her love for nature and the beauty in it.

She loved history as it has already been stated on here. It interesting…one tries to analyze why people are drawn to specific subjects of study. Maybe it was ingrained in her…the way it was in us because of her. But, now as I look back, I wonder if her passion for history was possibly inspired by her curiosity that she always had about her father that she would never meet. She knew that he was Indian because of the story Pauline, my great-grandmother had told her. Maybe grandma’s deep love for history stemmed in her youth from her desire to know about her past and then gradually became one of her greatest passions.

I remember the smells of Thanksgiving morning…Grandma preparing dishes…Erik and I watching the Thanksgiving parade and then playing video games. The aroma was soothing…and these Thanksgivings seemed like a “tradition” that never would never end.

I remember Christmas’s as a child….one in particular…when dad took Erik and I in the basement…and my Uncle John was stomping across the floor and Grandma put all of the gifts under the tree…Santa had come.

Grandma and dad made our Christmas’s so special. It was not just about gifts…in fact not really about that at all. It was more spiritual than anything…and we weren’t even “church-goers.” She and dad would play the most beautiful Christmas music like “What Child Is This”…candles lit and lights out…it was magical. She loved Christmas…and I imagine that is where my dad’s passion for Christmas came from…all of us for that matter.

I have this memory of summer days when the sun was coming through the slightly opened curtain in the living room and hearing “Be My Love” by Mario Lanza…gosh how she loved Mario. And she would sing along…with her high soprano voice.

I remember how she loved “Gone with the Wind,” she loved the “Sound of Music,”  “ShowBoat,” and “Carousel.” She loved musicals…and movies that were inspirational. My dad told me she loved “ShowBoat” because she said it was how she imagined her own father was.

I remember every Labor Day, we were watching the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Marathon. My grandma absolutely adored Jerry…and she loved what he was doing for these children.

I remember her 7th Avenue magazines…and one year, when she thought I was finally old enough to appreciate a bedroom set, she had me pick one out. It was hunter green…which was my favorite color when I was 10. I can’t recall if she ever bought herself a thing from that magazine…I certainly hope she did…but what I do know is used 7th Avenue to find and buy gifts for others. I remember how she wanted me to feel like a young lady…and she bought me this beautiful silver brush set and a cherry wood vanity. It must have taken her a while to save up the money…or maybe she planned it out. Such beautiful things…that she wanted me to have.

I am not going to say she never bought herself anything or that she never wanted new things. All women…and men alike have such desires. I will never forget the day my favorite golden couch was replaced by a whole living room set. Grandma was so proud of that set…so proud that she never wanted it to get dirty. Us grandkids, when we get together, often chuckle when we describe how she would cover that couch with these silly old sheets or blankets…and often they were mis-matched. Looking back, I realize why she covered her furniture…to preserve something she had saved so long for and that she was proud of.

I remember, one Christmas, I so badly wanted the Polly Pocket Mansion and she couldn’t afford it. She promised me she would get it for me as soon as she could. One sunny day, early in March, I came home from school and such a delightful surprise awaited me. She kept her word…I could always trust that. She didn’t make promises that she couldn’t keep…but when she did make a promise she came through.

I remember how she respected my time on the phone with my boyfriend (which to a teenager meant the world). When I lived with my mom, my mom would limit our conversations to 10 minutes….what could you possibly say in 10 minutes? My grandma would often allow an hour. I share this story because it may not be well known that Grandma was a true romantic at heart. She shared with me stories of unrequited love that she would always wonder about…the “what if’s”…yes, she was tough and made statements like “do not cry…it shows weakness”…but I know she had a tender heart in her core. These unrequited love stories, she would share with me as I grew into my own.

My grandma…she truly was the smartest woman I have ever met. She could recall specific dates and details of events in history without much thought. She would watch Jeopardy with my brother and dad…I would sort of watch…I was, most of the time, disinterested…as I always was captivated by some imaginary adventure with my barbies or Polly Pockets…or outside if the sun had not set. But, I remember when I would observe her and Erik…they would tally scores...I enjoyed seeing these mutual "competitions." She loved Trivial Pursuit too…

She loved learning about the world around her…the upstairs closest floor was stacked with National Geographic magazines. She always read the news…always watching the Today show. She took pleasure in the joy of others. These things that I write about, I didn’t really acknowledge it as child, in fact…I didn’t realize how much my Grandma cared about certain things until I grew old enough to appreciate her attributes.

When I think of Grandma, I think of her as the family stone. The very foundation of us all…and for so long, the one who seemed to be the glue that held us together. After she moved to Ypsilanti and then to Mackinaw…all family gatherings slowly began to diminish. Hanover was an era in time that could never be relived.

Grandma was a survivor…she lived through many hardships, of course, including this last one that slowly caused her to fade away. She was strong…with a willful spirit. I know that I am not the only who was influenced by this attribute. Sometimes, when I reflect on my childhood and how “spirited” I was…and strong-willed…I realize it is why we butted heads so much. Everything she told me not to do…maybe not everything…but many things, I would do. I don’t know if she was quite as precocious of a child, although, somehow I can’t imagine her any other way. She spoke her mind…and lived by her own terms…her own values.

She was a good woman…a great woman. Genuine and loyal…the most loyal person I have ever met. If she loved you, she loved you for life. She had a gentle soul and solid heart. I often wonder where/who Erik and I would be if she had not mothered us? She instilled so much value of education and knowledge. She loved us as her own children…she raised us in a way our own mother never could.

It’s ironic, as child, I can easily say I got on her nerves quite possibly more than anyone else, but as an older teenager/young adult, she loved our conversations and looked forward to them as much as I did. I remember talking to her almost weekly for many years…but I will always regret the day I started calling her less.

If there is one thing that I could say every day for of the rest of my life, it would simply be that I only wish I had more time with her. As an adult, I only visited “home” (Michigan) a handful of times…but each time I could hardly wait to see her beautiful, big, brown eyes and to hug her. She had such a gentle voice (fierce at times to be sure) and as it was mentioned already, a laugh that was so unique. As these years progressed, despite her dementia, she knew me…at some point I feel she may have forgot me but I like to believe in her heart I was always there…we ALL were…just as she was in all of our hearts...

Grandma, I love you…I will always love you. Reading these tributes…it is so clear that you are loved so deeply because of how you loved us all so truly. I have missed you and I will continue to miss you. I don’t know if I ever truly thanked you for raising this rambunctious child…for caring for me when my own mother sent me away as a teenager and for being the wings the helped me to fly…mostly for loving me unconditionally. You are now my “edelweiss”…

Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow
May you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever...

Bless my homeland forever..."

This tribute was added by Karen Gulick on 31st August 2016

"My Mom is heart aches.  The child in me remembers hugging her and looking up into her beautiful brown eyes and saying "I love you so much".  Those eyes would look at me tenderly, and she would tell me she loves me too.  My Mom always loved me in the truest sense of the word.  She was the only person upon whom I could really depend.  I knew she would be there if I needed her and that is very rare.  Those beautiful eyes were very expressive (Mom's angry look was fearsome) and her zest for life was evident.  She enjoyed sharing that zest, she was passionate about everything from history, her ancestors, and books, to Mario Lanza, the Tigers, and Jeopardy.  And, as she always said, she sympathized with the
"underdog".  Mom was a strong woman, a friend once said that what he admired most was her tenacity.  I think that quality took her from being a preemie born in the depression, to an old, dying woman who would not let go of life.  Now there is an aching void in me, but I know eventually the memory of those beautiful eyes and all they represented will bring comfort, love, and inspiration.  Mom, I love you so much."

This tribute was added by Jamie Komendera on 31st August 2016

"I don't know if I have a better memory than playing Super Mario Brothers with my Grandmother, that memory , a 60yr old woman playing Nintendo and she was good too. My Grandma Marion had the most unique and infectious laugh. That laugh you could hear anywhere in her house and when she laughed you knew it was her. That laugh is what I'll miss the most.I have so many great memories of my Grandma and there's so much that could be said, she had such a wonderful combination personality traits it would be hard to define the person she was. If Grandma said she was going to do something it got done,  she wasn't one who made excuses and to my knowledge didn't accept them. If presence could be measured she would have been 12 feet tall,  when Grandma was in the room you knew it. In so many ways she wasn't the conventional Grandma but in others she was. As a child I could always count on a Peanut butter  and mint green jelly sandwich with a glass of milk.  As an I got older it was Grandmas spaghetti,  and a seat at the dining room table.  A seat at that table with the inspired portrait of the Native American warrior on the wall behind me. When you got a seat at the table you got to be part of something special. Grandma's vast knowledge of history was amazing, her reflections on the past , her thoughts on politics and poetry, you got so drawn into her conversations,  she really could speak on any topic,  certainty one of the smartest people I've known. Her interest in history was passed on to all of her Grandchildren. My favorite topic with her was our Native American hheritag, Something she made sure we felt pride for and that we understood our own family history, where we came from and how we all became the family we are.
  When I was 17 I fell in love,  for the first time,  my Grandma was one of the first people I told and I remember her opinion of my lady friend meant the world to me. As a boy in love does I needed advice, Grandma was always there. We had some very long talks about love, all the thoughts and feelings I was having for the first time.  Being able to freely talk with Grandma helped me get through those awkward teen years. She was a great listener , always had the right advice and sure helped me find confidence.
It was a pleasure just to know you Grandma, being your Grandson was an honor.  I'll always be so grateful for how you helped shape my life.  
                                                                         I love you so much Grandma
                                                                                     I hope your resting well"

This tribute was added by valarie mryncza on 31st August 2016

"When I think of Marion, I picture her in a bathing suit, shorts & gym shoes. She wore her beautiful long black hair down. She was in her late forties when I met her, & I swear she didn't look a day over 35. I met her in 1978 & most of my memories of her are from then until about the late 1990's. I remember her being a sun-worshiper. She laid out in the sun everyday, & would have a beautiful golden tan well into the fall season. Marion never backed down from a challenge, she met them head on. In her late fifties, she helped raise 2 of her grandchildren, and did a wonderful job, as they are loving, & caring adults. Marion loved her family. I remember back in 1978, i think it was Eriks 15th birthday, & he wanted weights. Marion budgeted & worked it out so she was able to buy them. I can remember her being so excited to give them to him, she was trying different hiding places for them until she decided to hide them under her couch. Needless to say, Erik was very happy with the weights, but Marion was happier, I'm sure. I remember visiting her, & we'd all sit around her kitchen table & talk for hours.It never got boring. Marion was captivating with all of her stories & interests. I was never more impressed with her than  when she went to college. She enjoyed it so much & was something she always wanted to do. Another thing she always wanted was a piano. But they were expensive & she  had to pinch every penny. And in true Marion Komendera style, she worked it out & finally got a piano. She couldn't play alot, but I do remember her playing some music, & when she was done, she would always say how much she loved playing it. Marion made sure that her son & I had a reception after we got married. She opened her home to our friends & family. She cooked up a lot of food & that was the first time I got a taste of her potato salad. I can say that it was the best potato salad I ever ate, even to this day. Marion always opened her home to people who needed a place to live too. She was a very compassionate person & always willing to help anyone if she had the means to do it.  She touched alot of people's lives & left her mark on this planet..."Marion was here"."

This tribute was added by Elizabeth Karen on 30th August 2016

"My grandma....She was an incredible grandma. She was there for me with a shoulder to lean on and a ear to listen. She always gave me great advice. I always knew I could call Grandma . Her eyes lit up as she told me stories of her childhood, youth, and adulthood. My favorite was the stories about our great ancestors. She was a force to be reckoned with. She had a definite presence about her . She was one of a kind . My grandma will have a place in my heart for all of my life. There was truly nobody like my Grandma. I love you and will cherish our memories forever."

This tribute was added by Katherine Keena on 30th August 2016

"My mother… my friend. You had always been my person for so many years especially when the kids were young. I could always pick up the phone and talk to you whenever I wanted, and you always listened and were non judgmental. I know I got a lot of my personality traits from you such as being independent, dependability, responsibility, pay your bills, hard work ethic, strong willed, sometimes outspoken, but never being afraid to say what you mean.  The things you loved, I love too.  You loved history, music, reading, writing, old movies, current events and much more. As I've told everyone I know, you were the most intelligent person I know.  And you had all the answers; you knew what to say to make it better. I will always remember all of your truisms that you believed in. The two that stand out the most are "be true to yourself” and "if something is worth doing then do it right” I will never forget how you made Christmas’s so special no matter what the circumstances.   I wish I had known that the last real conversation we had would be the last. I would have told you everything that was in my heart. I would have told you that I know you and understand you did your very best.  I would have told you that I appreciate everything you did and that I miss you and that  I'll miss you more than you know. Before they took you away I whispered some things to you.  I hope and pray that you heard me. I feel that you are still with me and always will be. I hope and pray that you are in a place where you can run free and be your truest self and completely be at peace. I love you Mom. Sweet dreams."

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This memorial is administered by:

Karen Gulick
Katherine Keena


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