Cover photo for Marilyn Hey Webster's Obituary
Marilyn Hey Webster Profile Photo

Marilyn Hey Webster

December 7, 1931 — January 27, 2024

Bloomfield Hills, MIchigan

Marilyn Hey Webster

In memory of Marilyn Dee Hey Webster, known affectionately as M. Dee, a woman who left an indelible mark with her unwavering spirit, infectious smile, and vibrant personality.  Born on December 7. 1931, in Royal Oak, Michigan, Marilyn was the only child of Doris Hannah Taylor Hey and Milton Lewis Hey.

Marilyn's journey through life was a tapestry woven with the threads of education and exploration.  In her youth, her parents ignited Marilyn’s love of travel with trips to the family’s Canadian roots, to Texas, Florida and Mexico. 

Her love of adventure took her to the Appalachian Trail and white water rafting.  Marilyn's attachment to Mexico made her visit to Spain the highlight of her cycling trip through Europe the summer of 1953.   Her love of travel continued well into her 80's as she saw most of Europe, the United Kingdom, and more of Mexico traveling by foot, car, boat, bike and train.  Marilyn immersed herself in diverse cultures and their many museums, relishing the times her children and grandchildren were able to join her abroad.

Marilyn grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan, attended Northwood Elementary and graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1949. During her youth, she worked at J. L. Hudson Co. (6/1950-9/1950; 6/1951-9/1951) in the College Shop selling and fashion advising.

Marilyn attended the University of Michigan from Fall, 1949 until June, 1953, where she joined Alpha Phi Fraternity, was a member of National Council of Teachers of English, member of Executive Council of the University's Women's League, Girl Scout Troop Leader, and earned her B.A., majoring in English and minoring in Speech and Spanish.  Marilyn also was a Student Teacher at University High School, Ann Arbor (9/1952-1/1953); and attended 1952 summer session at the National University of Mexico.

After graduation, she ventured to New York and worked at Bloomingdales (9/1953-7/1955) as a Training Supervisor for approx 700 salespeople at the Men's Store, Fashion Accessories and Small Wear, until obtaining her Master’s degree in English, Columbia University (Fall, 1955 - June, 1956).

In Recognition of constructive association with students and staff, scholarship, and effective participation in the advancement of a professional spirit among teachers of English, Marilyn received The Franklin T Baker Citation from the Teacher's College, Columbia University for the academic year 1954-1955. She was also member of Professional Honor Associations: Pi Lambda Theta and Kappa Delta Pi.

Marilyn joined the staff at Syosset High School, NY, in its first year of functioning teaching 9th Grade English (9/1956-6/1957).  After experiencing their colder winters, Marilyn headed to California to teach English at Encinal High School, Alameda, CA where she was also faculty advisor for the Yearbook and the High School paper, while enjoying the excitement of living on Nob Hill in San Francisco.

Marilyn found her way back to Michigan to start a family and continued to teach in the classroom until her children were born.  The consummate teacher, Marilyn began in-home tutoring while her children were young.  She championed local causes trying seeking to a positive difference in the world. 

Later in life, at the age of 60, Marilyn restarted her teaching career.  She began again at Siena Heights College teaching Composition/Research, and Public and Personal Expression and followed that with teaching GED classes for the Southfield Public School System; and ESL for West Bloomfield School System.

Finally at Oakland Community College where she received the English Discipline Award in 1993, and Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award in 1995, Marilyn created the curriculums for and taught Composition and Creative Writing, and created the Creative Insights which included student creative endeavors across multiple disciplines.

Marilyn not only found joy in traditional academic settings but she extended her reach and created the Poetry Workshop and the "Open Mike Poetry Program" held at the Southfield Public Library; from 1996-1999 as English Adjunct Faculty judged the fiction entries for the LAND (Liberal Arts Network for Development) contest for Lake Michigan College; and taught a GED class for women at Southfield Jail.

Marilyn was both a teacher and a lifelong learner with myriad interests.  

Marilyn's own words of teaching and learning: "One of my professors stated that Youth is Potential. This an exciting and powerful thought.  I, as a teacher, want to help define, develop, and direct this potential in the student's academic, personal, and community life, for I firmly believe that teaching must not be limited to the academic treatment of subjects.  No, effective and satisfying teaching encompasses thorough knowledge of the individual student, his capabilities and needs, and the role that he can and must play as an adult with a world view in a dynamic democratic society."

Beyond academics and her adventures, Marilyn embraced life with a zest for broadening her horizons.  She learned to play the piano, was a curious student of Spanish and math, a passionate bridge player, and an unapologetic Anglophile—she approached every endeavor with zeal including giving dinner parties, dressing the table with crystal, china and colors to match the occasion, and having games at hand for guests to enjoy.

She was the family's gin rummy champion - a title reflective of her competitive spirit and zest for life - instilling a desire in family members to beat Mom/Gram/Jamma even just once and resulting in keeping track of the scores of all games because like her mother, Marilyn played with a twinkle in her eye, possibly even making up rules at the start of any game.

She read voraciously, the Wall Street Journal always occupied the breakfast table; history and Greek & Roman Mythology books were in abundance.  Later in life til the end, Marilyn enjoyed connecting with family playing the Wall Street Journal puzzles, and the NYT Spelling Bee.  Whether at a party or conversing with friends and family, Marilyn’s keen intellect shone in lively conversations she so thoroughly enjoyed.

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul”…Being an only child, Marilyn’s parents encouraged to choose her friends as siblings, advice she followed throughout life and evidenced by the strong bonds that tied them together until the end and left an indelible mark in their and her hearts.

Marilyn was a devoted member of the Birmingham Unitarian Church since 1969, and staunch supporter of the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings. She also cherished the camaraderie shared with fellow members at The Village Club.

As cherished memories intertwine with sorrow at Marilyn's passing, we remember her proudest accomplishments: her devoted children and grandchildren.  Marilyn took her last breath in Gold River, California on January 27, 2024, surrounded by love, leaving behind Anne E. Webster Jacobs (daughter) & Christopher Jacobs (son-in-law), grandsons: Colin, Kyle & Alexander; Allison D. Webster-Giddings (daughter) & grandchildren: Samuel & Sydney; Peter H. Webster (son) & Penny Webster (daughter-in-law), grandchildren: Ethan & Glennie; James B. Webster (son) & his sweetheart, Verena Bücheler.  She also leaves behind her cousins Suzanne M. Taylor and John Hey.

She is predeceased by her parents, and her cousins whom she loved so dearly:  Betty Taylor Hall, Beverly Taylor Gray, Patricia Hemple Dietrich and Richard Taylor.

In closing this chapter on earth for Marilyn Dee Hey Webster, we celebrate a life well-lived and treasure the immeasurable impact she had on all who were fortunate enough to know her. Her legacy will endure through the stories shared by those whose lives were enlightened by her presence.

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A Celebration of Life will be in Michigan on July 27, 2024 @ 10amEST at the Birmingham Unitarian Church, 38651 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304, near the corner of Lone Pine Rd. and Woodward Avenue.

In lieu of flowers and if you are so inclined to make a donation in Marilyn’s Memory we suggest the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Navy Seal Foundation or a charity of your choosing.

To order memorial trees in memory of Marilyn Hey Webster, please visit our tree store.

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