Life Story / Obituary
Edith Marjorie (Herlein) Maassen was born in Muskegon on September 5, 1924, youngest of eight siblings. Her upbringing taught her compassion, faith, and perseverance. She graduated from Muskegon Community College and Hope College, earning her master’s degree from the University of Michigan later in life. At Hope, she studied music and organ performance and met her future husband, Pierce Maassen.
Teaching elementary school until Pierce’s seminary graduation, Edith then worked by his side, playing the organ and piano and directing choirs in churches he pastored. After his 1967 death she taught fifth grade and music in Fremont until her retirement. She had by then moved to the edge of Manistee National Forest, expressing her fierce independence and love of nature. She was the organist for Fremont United Methodist Church and remained active in her community and local government.
Edith relocated to Zeeland in 2002 to be closer to family. She found a new church home at Second Reformed, where she served as an elder and literacy volunteer. She continued her life-long loves of reading, especially history; knitting, sewing, and other needlework; and gardening, bird-watching, and observing nature. She followed politics closely, saving the Time magazine announcing President Obama’s historic election with her library of books on Lincoln.
After her death on September 18, in Holland, Edith’s spirit is carried forward by her children, Ruth, Peter, and Lois; their partners, Tom Tamlyn, Kay Gouwens, and Chris Wiers; her grandchildren, Dmitri Brown, Emily Powers Souza, Paxton Wiers, Avril Wiers, and Lillian Maassen and their partners, Gillian Ferguson, Peter Souza, Juliette Brinks, and Bryan Lacy; and her great-grandchildren, Eleanor, June, Hazel, and Bennett.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Edith’s honor can be made to Nature Conservancy, the American Civil Liberties Union , or Second Reformed Church of Zeeland.