Date of Death: October 22, 2019

Service Details

A visitation for Marilyn will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Thursday, November 7, 2019 at Hohner Funeral Home in Three Rivers.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. the following day, Friday, November 8, 2019 at First United Methodist Church in Three Rivers, MI with Rev. Heather McDougall officiating.

Obituary Notice

Marilyn Elaine “Marmie”  Miholer, age 93, of Three Rivers died on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at her home on Fisher Lake, surrounded by her loving family. She was born on September 15, 1926 in Richmond, Indiana. She was the eldest daughter of Russell and Bernadetta (Taube ) Neff.

Marilyn attended Three Rivers Public Schools, graduating with honor from TRHS class of 1944. She was the first in her immediate family to attend college, entering the University of Michigan where she was a member of the Alpha Xi Delta Sorority, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 1948.

Marilyn married Thomas L. Miholer on September 5, 1948 in Three Rivers and the couple embarked on a 60 year journey as florists together when in 1954 they took over ownership Neff’s Flower Shop, previously the retail arm of G.W. Neff and Sons Greenhouse, which was proudly established in 1930 by her parents and grandparents.

True to her belief in giving back to the community, Marilyn was active in many civic organizations. She served two terms on the Three Rivers Public Schools Board of Education, with a term as president. During that time she helped the board navigate the construction of the new Three Rivers Middle School. She also was appointed as a member to the Michigan Association of School Boards, where she had influence on public education throughout Michigan. She was a long- time supporter of the Carnegie Center for the Arts, serving on their board of directors for many years. Marilyn was honored as Citizen of the Year 1991-92 by the Lion’s Club in Three Rivers for her steadfast civic involvement and contributions.

In 1998, Marilyn received the honor of being named an Emeritus Scholar by the University of Michigan, where she was also a lifetime member of the UM Alumni Association, enjoying several trips with their travel club to Italy, Greece, Paris, England, and Holland.

Marilyn was a faithful and dedicated member of First United Methodist Church of Three Rivers and was active in coordinating many church activities as a member of United Methodist Women. She is fondly remembered by many for her decades of pretzel-making with Sunday school children at Easter. She and Tommy made sure there were alter flowers every Sunday adorning the sanctuary for years.

An avid amateur chef, Marilyn began a second career of sorts when she took up her pen to write restaurant reviews for the local Shoppers Guide, and then went on to have her own column “Ripples and Waves” in the Kalamazoo Hometown Gazette.

Above all, Marilyn cherished time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren, who affectionately called her by her chosen name from the novel Little Women, “Marmie.”

Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband Thomas Miholer in 2005, as well as her parents, her sisters, Nancy McArdle, Patricia Wolgast and husband Jay Wolgast, and niece Mary Wolgast Monk.

She leaves to cherish her loving memory her children Thomas L Miholer II, Laurie Miholer (Garry Zachritz), and David Miholer (Lisa Armstrong), as well as beloved grandchildren Megan Miholer, Zach Miholer (Darcy Miholer), Marissa Miholer, Katelyn Zachritz (Adam Gamez), Whitney Zachritz-Brown (Sarita Brown), and Alison Zachritz. Marilyn adored her great-grandchildren Dylan and Madisyn Cornish, Charlie, McKenzie, Maycie Miholer, Bailey Miholer-Wortinger, Cameron, Maliyah and Monae Flowers, Frankie and Eloise Zachritz-Brown, and Wynne Zachritz-Gamez; brother-in-law, Richard McArdle and sister-in-law, Eileen Miholer.

Many cherished cousins, nieces, and nephews will also remember her with love.

Additional Information

Of course Marilyn’s family would be honored to have her visitation and memorial service adorned with flowers, but those who wish to do so may direct memorial contributions to
either Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, or Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers.  Envelopes available at the funeral home or church.

Please Leave Your Condolences

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  1. So sorry to hear of her passing. She was a wonderful woman. When I think of First United Methodist she always comes to my mind, she had a friendly smile and warm heart. She was always so welcoming. Good friend to our beloved Aunt, Elizabeth Gotschall and our Mom, Nancy Roush. Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. So very sorry for your loss. But so many wonderful memories of spending 4th of July at Fisher Lake; how happy Marmie was at her 90th birthday celebration. We will all cherish those moments and memories. And as you read through the obituary, you see the amazing legacy, not only in the accomplishments, but in children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May her Memory Be Eternal +

  3. I have very fond memories of Marilyn at the flower shop. She was always so gracious and kind. I remember one time when my mother drove me to Neff’s to get something special for my grandmother, who was very ill and in the hospital. I wanted something special to cheer her up. Marilyn helped me pick out a nice plant and then found a cute butterfly to stick in the pot. It meant a lot to me that she would take the time to help a child pick out a gift. She was one special lady!

  4. Dear Family & Friends,
    Sending my heartfelt sympathy and Prayers for this wonderful lady & friend. As Principal of Three Rivers High school, for many years, I had the distinct privilege to work with Marilyn & Tommy. They were a wonderful Gift to me and to TRHS. Whether it was Graduation, Honors Night, NHS Inductions or any other awards ceremony – they were always there. They made me a better Principal and I thank God for bringing them into my life…
    Your “loved one” and entire family will be in my on-going thoughts and Prayers.. A Very Grateful Head Wildcat, Father “J.”

  5. Marilyn Touched so many lives thru the celebration of flowers. She loved her community, was very giving of herself in so many community
    I always admired Marilyn as a lovely, gentle lady who was very creative, a true florist who loved every flower for it’s uniqueness and beauty. And was still amazed and full of joy when she would see a new color or type of flower. I will miss this dear lady who was my friendly competition.

  6. Words fail me, but she knew how much I cared for her. I will miss our afternoon talks…one of the last times was as good as all the others. She couldn’t always find the words, but I knew what she was trying to say. Love you still.

    • ❤️ You were also special to her/ mutual admiration society, as my grandma would say. Thanks for being a good neighbor and friend.

  7. Laurie, I am so sorry to hear of your beloved mothers passing. Please accept my deepest sympathies and extend them to your family. I so remember her kindness every time I was in the shop. She was a lovely woman. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  8. Dear Laurie and family,
    I did not have the pleasure of meeting this amazing woman but felt that I knew her through my many wonderful conversations with you Laurie. I see where you all get your sense of civic duty, your warmth and generosity, and your desire for higher education. God Bless her beautiful soul as he welcomes her home. May He wrap his arms around her loved ones during this difficult time of grief.

  9. What a wonderful woman. I remember working at Neff’s during breaks during my junior and senior years in high school. She and Tommy made it fun. A dear friend of my mother and father. She will be greatly missed. Prayers for the entire family.

  10. How can this be? So few of us left of the class of “44′..,,,,,,we had such good times together in high school. Marilyn was such a kind person and will be greatly missed, as I cry a few tears for my dear friend…..

  11. I know in my heart that if not for Marilyn in my life I would have missed a great many things. Working with her At church, in the community, or in education helped me know what path I should follow. A wonderful mentor and friend.

      • Just heard about this today. A true Three Rivers icon in community service, church, and business. She was very kind to my mom over the years. And when you got flowers in Three Rivers, well you just didn’t go anywhere else. Condolences to the family and the community at large — she will be greatly missed.

  12. The definition of a classy lady is Marilyn Miholer. She made peoples lives so much more beautiful with the thousands of flower arrangements she did over the years. She was a kind lady and I I am so blessed to be able to call her a friend. She will be missed but is in a better place now with Tommy. My prayers are with the family. I am out of town and will not be able to attend any service but will be thinking of all of you.
    Taylor Snow

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. Marilyn was so giving and kind to all. It was a pleasure knowing her and Tom and feeling welcomed in their home back in high school. Sending prayers for strength and comfort.

      • I am so profoundly sorry for the loss of your dear Marmie. What a gal she was. Smart, engaging, interested and interesting. She will be missed, but we shall speak of her often and fondly.

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