Obituary of Marlene Diane Addley
Marlene Diane (Bryant) Addley passed away peacefully in her room at Rose Ct. in Novi, MI, on December 16, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. Marlene was the loving wife of the late Glen, dear mother of Gary (Diane), Susan (Paul), the late newborn Tanya, and the late Jeffrey (Wendy). Beloved grandmother of Mike (Melissa), Amber (Jimmy), Sean (Matt), Jack (Danielle), Cara, and Sarah (Travis), and great grandmother of Jillian, Jameson, Corbin, Finan and Sydney.
Marlene was born on November 10th, 1933 to Ben Howard Bryant and Letitia Florence (Hale) Bryant in London, ON. She attended Ryerson Grade School through eighth grade. She enjoyed living near lots of extended family including her Nannie, Grandma, many aunts, uncles, and cousins including Aunt Audie, Uncle Cal and cousins Mike and Cathy Calhoun. Marlene’s mother, commonly referred to as Tece, was a milliner, a hat-maker. She taught her daughter Marlene how to sew, who in turn taught her daughter Susan. Marlene often commented on how Susan’s creative abilities must have come from her Nannie Tece.
When Marlene was 13, she was out riding her bicycle when she met Glen Addley. It was love at first sight for Glen, he wisely new this was the girl for him! Marlene dated Glen while she attended London Central Collegiate Institute through grade 13, and graduated in 1951. While at Central, her first job was working the soda fountain at her father’s pharmacy on Richmond St. in downtown London. She always loved a good ginger ale float, and later on would make them for her children, and then her grandchildren on warm summer evenings.
After graduation, Marlene enrolled in Nursing School at Victoria Hospital in London. Together with 24 unmarried classmates she lived in a dormitory with a strict 10 p.m. curfew. She loved to talk about how a few of them would sneak past the guard to go out on weekend nights. Marlene developed lifelong friendships with many of her nurses-in-training, and would regularly travel back to London to enjoy their reunions.
Shortly after Marlene started nursing training, she and Glen decided to make their love official. They eloped on November 17, 1951 in Millgrove, ON, one weekend after she turned 18. Their secret was maintained until Marlene became pregnant. Their first daughter, Tanya, was born August 1954, and tragically did not survive to go home with them. Little did Glen know how much Marlene would love her future career as a nurse, when he pleaded with the Head Nurse at Victoria to allow Marlene to finish her training. We often wonder if the Head Nurse ever knew what a very good decision she made that day! Marlene received her cap, and pin on May 1955. She was the first RN graduate with a married name! Marlene appreciated the opportunity to f inish her degree and was always proud to be a nurse. She kept her first cap and graduation pin forever.
Glen also graduated in 1955, and they moved to Windsor, ON. On December 15, 1955, Jeffrey was born and two years later on October 8, 1957, Gary was born. After a few months, the happy family moved back home to London. They lived in an apartment above the Dodds family, soon to be lifelong card playing friends. Next move was to a new 3 bedroom ranch on Burlington Crescent. Marlene and Glen met wonderful new neighbors, and soon Ruth Heath, Cathy DeVos and Marlene were all pregnant and delivered baby girls within 10 days of each other. Susan was born at Victoria Hospital on July 25, 1960. The Heath and Addley families started going to Bayfield for summer vacations. Soon the Gerard and Calhoun families joined in. For 22 years, Bayfield was the summer vacation tradition! Marlene loved getting in that chilly Lake Huron and going for a swim! The families remained lifelong close friends.
Marlene started her nursing career working part-time at Victoria in 1961. Working the midnight shift allowed her to be with her children. She and Glen enjoyed the outdoors, and taught the children to ride bikes, ice skate, and play tennis. They also valued time with friends and family. Both of their moms would come to the house frequently, and visits to the farm to see Grandpa Joe, Grandma Phyllis, Lillian, Albert and sometimes Sheila and family were always fun!
February 1968 was the big move to “the States”, Wayne, N.J. Marlene joined Welcome Wagon and a couples gourmet group to meet new friends. She loved to research the different cultures, help create the menu, and cook some of the dishes for the feast. With no ice hockey available to the boys, Glen and new friend Myron Arlook quickly started a league at the only available ice rink he could find, in Newark. At the time, it was a dangerous place for an outsider to visit. Brave Marlene would load up the station wagon with a bunch of boys and Susan and drive to Newark to watch them play hockey multiple times per week for a number of years.
Marlene also enjoyed going on camping trips with Susan’s Girl Scout troop, and actively supported the boys in scouts. She encouraged Gary on his path to becoming an Eagle Scout. She attended numerous events including soccer, baseball, field hockey and high school musicals. The family joined St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and Marlene joined the Altar Guild. While in N.J., Marlene worked at Mountainside Hospital from 1968-1977, as an R.N. Team Leader on medical and surgical floors, then as a Nursing Inservice instructor, responsible for staff development, procedure and patient teaching committees, IV therapy courses with staff, and extensive patient teaching. She developed a new pre-operative teaching guideline and revised the way the medical records related to nursing charting.
Spring 1976, Marlene and Glen moved to Elmira, NY. New York State would not recognize Marlene’s past nursing experience, requiring her to retake the nursing board exams. She studied alongside Susan, who was studying for her high school exams. Marlene drove by herself to Syracuse through one of the worst snow storms NY State had ever experienced in order to take 3 the exams. She passed all of them, and worked for two years in the Elmira Psychiatric Center. So many examples of what a strong woman Marlene was!
Early in 1978, Glen and Marlene moved to a beautiful bungalow home in Southfield, MI. This brought them closer to both of the boys enrolled at Michigan State University and the opportunity to see Jeff play on MSU’s hockey team. Their new neighbors, Jeanne and Austin Pate, welcomed them with open arms and invited them to join the Church of the Redeemer, where once again Marlene joined the Alter Guild. She volunteered at local church events, and also as a chaperone for children and families on the 5 hour bus ride to and from the Shriner’s Hospital in Erie, PA. Most Friday evenings were “happy hour” and dinners out with friends from church. Marlene also joined the local garden club and would help plant flowers in the Southfield community parks. They also decorated wreaths to donate to the Festival of Trees to benefit the Children’s Hospital of MI Foundation. Glen, Marlene and Susan took sailing lessons, and Glen bought a 22 ft. sailboat they named ‘MadJag’, their combined initials. Glen would pack the car with their snacks and overnight bags, and when Marlene got home from work at 8 AM, off they would go to sail around Lake, St. Clair for the weekend. Marlene always loved to swim and loved sailing, as long as Glen didn’t go to fast and lean the boat sideways!
Marlene started her MI career at Southfield Rehabilitation Center and then continued on to work at both Providence and Beaumont hospitals, most often as Head Nurse in the psychiatric wards for the next 20 years.
They watched as their three children graduated university, got married and started their own families. Marlene loved her new children, Wendy, Diane and Paul as her own. She absolutely loved being a Nannie. It’s an understatement to say her six grandchildren adored her! Nannie and Pop had a fun house to visit. It had a big basement with toys and a ping pong table, a big family room and dining area for the whole group to gather, and an attic bedroom that was often quite chilly. Nannie would warm up the beds with electric blankets and read to the grandchildren, all “Snuggie buggy” in their beds. The yard was large to play in with a patio to watch the birds, and 4 they had a garden. PopPop and the kids would pick the tomatoes, beans, squash and lettuce and Nannie would prepare them for dinner. She would make pies from the cherry trees. At Easter, Nannie would do an outdoor Easter egg hunt, and Christmas was always a full day of cookies, treats, her hand knit stockings filled with goodies and a clementine, and then presents, all before dinner! The dinner tables often included extended family and friends, and always included English crackers to pop open, find the toy, and wear the tissue hat…so many laughs!
When Glen and Marlene retired, they leased a large conversion van. Marlene trimmed a piece of foam to create a cozy mattress, they threw their golf clubs and bags in the back, and off they went to tour the West Coast. The next summer, they toured the East Coast and connected with a lot of friends along the way. They also had time for more bridge games with friends and playing golf together became a regular routine. Marlene and Glen were so surprised and elated when she got a hole-in-one! She saved that golf ball!
In 2011, Marlene and Glen moved to an apartment at Fox Run. They enjoyed their new ‘digs’, and grandson Jack told them “ It’s like living at a permanent Spring Break resort”. They added more bridge to their routine, as well as movies, special events, and Marlene loved morning aquasize in the pool. She volunteered on the garden committee and they both became ambassadors to new people moving in. They enjoyed their new neighbors, and shared a happy hour glass of wine with them before going to dinner together. If anyone was considering a move to Fox Run, Marlene would say, “ It’s the best gift you can give to your children”. We were thrilled they were happy there!
During their years at Fox Run, Marlene experienced a steady decline in her memory. She diligently worked at crossword puzzles, wrote lots of notes, jotted everything on her large calendar, swam and walked to stay in shape. Each year came with increased challenges and frustration that Marlene handled with grace and never complained about. The irony of this disease for Marlene was that while it took away her critical thinking skills, her memory of the people she loved and the events of her life both long past and just minutes ago, and diminished 5 her ability to communicate, what she always did know was her ‘high level of confusion’. She would say, “I am so confused”’ then quietly accept the moment in silence. In September, I hugged her, and she whispered , “I love you”, and in December when I told her that I loved her, she said “Me too”, her last beautiful gifts to me.
In their later years, Marlene and Glen were very fortunate to have the most wonderful caregivers, Ruth and Jennifer. Concerned with their safety, Jennifer moved in with them during Covid and continued to live with Marlene for 6 months until she moved to Memory Care at Rose Ct. Ruth visited a couple days a week, helping her dress, eat, taking her outside, and just sharing her kindness. Jennifer was with Marlene for hours almost every day, helping her with everything and loving on her all the time! We are forever grateful to both of them not only for their great care, but for genuinely loving our parents.
Marlene taught all of us, “ If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” She lived by this motto and was a genuinely kind person. I honestly don’t think anyone ever said a negative word about her. She had a passion to take care of anyone in need, including family, friends, neighbors, and animals. She never did it out of obligation, she did it with pure joy in her heart. We would always say, “That’s Nannie,… Once a nurse, always a nurse!”
So with great sadness, we say goodbye to our mother, but with happiness in our hearts, we celebrate her new freedom in Christ. We celebrate that her spirit has shed her frustrating old body and she is free to be peaceful, happy, pain-free, and can once again be with Glen, Jeff, Tanya, and friends and family. We believe Marlene’s greatest legacy was her profound ability to deeply care and sincerely love us all, a lesson we can all strive to achieve in our lives in honor of Marlene.
We will have a small memorial service to celebrate Marlene at a later date. Condolences may be mailed to Susan Oliver: 860 Teaberry St. commerce Twp., MI 48390, or to Gary Addley: 2142 Sandlewood, White Lake, MI, 48383. Donations in memory of Marlene’s life can be made to: 6 Angela Hospice at Angelahospice.org/donate, 734-838-5020; or to The Alzheimer’s Association, at Act.Alz.org. Please indicate in memory of Marlene Addley, with Susan Oliver as the notification recipient. Susanaddleyoliver@gmail.com
Thank you with love and gratitude from Marlene and family.
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