Mary Schwerin Hall of Arcadia Township/Kings Mill went home to be with her Lord on May 3, 2023.
Mary was born on June 22, 1924, to the late George Sr. and Josephine (Vielhaber) Schank. Mary was born in the family farm house, fourth of eleven children. She graduated 8th grade from Oak Grove School. Mary helped out at home, watched the children for her mother and helped her dad with the cows and farming in the fields when she was needed. At the age of 14, she began working for a local family, caring for the children and house work. This is where she learned to cook. The family has a large home. Upstairs had a lot of space where the children showed her how to roller skate. Mary saved her money and bought herself a bike. No more walking to work. It cost her $2.00. At 17, she and her sister Gertrude moved to Lapeer to work at Metal Products on Saginaw and Oregon Streets. Mary was walking again. They had to walk across town to get to work. She earned 25 cents per hour. When Mary and her sister wanted to visit their parents, they would take a bus out of Lapeer but the last stop was 9 ½ miles from the family home. They would walk the final leg of their journey. At 19, she met Melvin Schwerin. They became fast friends and fell in love. They were married on December 28, 1943, at SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church in North Branch, where she was an active and devoted member. Mary and her husband both worked in factories and at the family farm. They raised beef cows and calves. Mary named and knew each one. She was a multi-tasker working 40 hours a week in the shop and then come home to get on a tractor to bail hay or take grain to the Harper Elevator in North Branch, or gardening. She especially enjoyed canning tomatoes. She always had lots of flowers, roses being her favorite. She loved to cook and made the best pies. Mary worked hard most of her life, caring for children, house cleaning, cooking, picking up onions and potatoes on the muck in Imlay City. She picked green beans, sorted potatoes. During WWII, she became one of Rosie’s Riveter working at Pontiac Motors. She worked at the cleaners in North Branch as well. She would even deliver potatoes to people in the city to make ends meet. Whatever chore needed to be done she was right there. She even chopped wood to keep them warm. In 1964 Mary, 40, and Melvin, 48, found a way to relax, driving and building stock cars. They raced at Eastern Michigan Speedway. Melvin built several race cars for friends and family. When Mary wasn’t driving in Powder Puffs she helped keep the track of car positions during the races. Mary won several first place trophies. Everyone joked that she would only drive 40 mph on the road, but wasn’t afraid to go 55-60 on the race track. Together she and Melvin won 19 1st place trophies. They enjoyed playing euchre with family and friends. January 12, 1975, Mary’s husband Melvin Schwerin passed away after heart surgery. She continued to work at Metal Products, which had moved across from Lapeer East School. She was very active in the United Auto Worker Union (UAW). She served as Union President for several years, attending UAW classes and meetings at Black Lake UAW Center in Onaway, MI. Mary attended the luncheons at the UAW Building in Marlette regularly for the rest of her life. Mary loved to travel. She took a train to Oregon and back, flew to California, Tennessee and Texas.
She went to Mexico twice, visited Hearst Castle, toured the White House, went in the Sears Tower, toured many light houses, and she walked the Mackinaw Bridge and visited Mackinaw Island.
In 1982, she returned to school and earned her high school degree. In 1985, Mary met Orville Hall. Just like Mary he loved to travel. They enjoyed camping and traveling over the United States. She always loved to travel by car, plane, train and bus. With Orville, they travelled by motor home and 5th wheel. Every winter they would travel to Florida, Arizona or California. They would leave mid October and return in April or May, spending their summers in Michigan. When her traveling days came to an end, she had visited every state in the US except Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and New Hampshire. Orville passed away in 2000. Mary spent her later year in the loving care of her daughter and son-in-law, Mary Ann and Gordon Potter.
Mary is survived by her daughter Mary Ann (Gordon) Potter, grandsons, Gary (Carol L.) Potter, Gerald (Carol J. ) Potter, Brian (Diane) Woidan and granddaughter-in-law- Elizabeth Potter, great-grandchildren, Jeremy (Jennifer) Potter, Kira (Ryan) Vogel, Daniel (Sarah) Potter, Ryan (Catilin) Potter, Adam (Randa) Potter, Thane (Beth) Woidan, Zachary Potter, Briana (Chris) Lasater, Journee Potter, Alex Potter, great-great-grandchildren, Lilian, Hilary, Ryan Jr., Summer, Aurora, Matthew, Bralynn, Elizabeth (Ella), Logan, Lincoln, Brantley, Lennon, sister, Catherine Miglin, brother, Duane Schank, sisters-in-law, Annette Schank, Betty Schank, special friend, Charlotte Bischoff, many nieces and nephews. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, husbands, Melvin Schwerin and Orville Hall, grandson, Gordy Potter, great-grandson, Matthew Potter, her siblings, George Schank, Gertrude Houck, Edward Schank, Dorothy Herron, Clarence Schank, Raymond Schank, Lucille Lamphere, Archie Schank, special nephew, Paul Schank.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the United Hospice Service of Marlette Regional Hospital.
The family will be present for visitation on Sunday, May 7, 2023, 2:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M. at Blackburn Chapel-Martin Funeral Home with Rosary at 3:00 P.M. On Monday, May 8, 2023, visitation will be 10:00 A.M.-11:00 A.M. at SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church with Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 A.M. Rev Richard Treml will be officiating. Mary will be laid to rest next to her husband, Melvin, at SS Peter & Paul Cemetery.
You may share an online condolence and memories of Mary to the family at www.blackburnchapel.com.
Arrangements by Blackburn Chapel-Martin Funeral Home
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