Marta Jean (Swanson) Giesecke, 78, passed away peacefully on June 21, 2018, with family by her side. She was born June 8, 1940, in Grand Ledge, Michigan, the daughter of Stanley and Doris (Smith) Swanson and grew up in Grand Ledge surrounded by a large and loving extended family. As a child, she was active in their church, Girl Scouts, was a GLHS cheerleader, and loved spending time at the family farm in Morley, Michigan. She had many adventures with her two sisters and The Swanson Girls remained close throughout their lives. She married John R. “Jack” Giesecke on April 27, 1968, and they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. He survives her.
Marta held a variety of jobs throughout her life, including at the First Congregational Church, Bee’s Chevy Olds, and Beck’s Orchard. However, she considered her most important roles to be wife, homemaker, and mother. She delighted in raising their three children and was a faithful supporter at band concerts, Sea Lions meets, various sporting events, and a myriad of other activities that the kids enjoyed over the years. She opened their home to swim team dinners, Lions Band events, slumber parties, and family celebrations. As grandchildren arrived, she took equal joy in watching them grow and participate in various activities, earn good grades, and often said how proud she was that they were “such nice kids.” She was very supportive of Jack’s business, The Stereo Shoppe, and hosted many store parties, both at Christmas and in the summer.
She loved summer vacations at family cottages on Morrison Lake in Michigan and on Big Sand Lake in Wisconsin. These were great places for making family memories, the love of which has been passed to her children and grandchildren. Avid Spartan fans, she and Jack held season tickets for MSU football and basketball for 40+ years and many great times were had cheering on the Spartans and following them to Tournament games. Marta loved adventure and she and Jack enjoyed traveling, trying new restaurants, piling the family into the station wagon for Sunday drives, and organizing friends for a fun night out.
She was an avid gardener and loved tending to her flowers. She was active in the Mint Country Garden Club and served as past President, was a co-founder of the Mint City Investment Club, and past President of the St. Johns Women’s Club. Marta especially loved to decorate their old Victorian home on State Street, taking special joy in doing so at Christmas-time. She and Jack enjoyed auctions and collecting antiques and she refinished many pieces which were used to furnish their home. She always had a project and could often be found quilting, wallpapering, painting, making her famous chocolate chip cookies, and working hard to make their house a home. She loved to read; the kitchen lights were always on, and the coffee was always ready.
Even with all of these activities, Marta will be most remembered for her love of family and friends, her strong faith, easy laugh, happy disposition, and always optimistic outlook. She was there for anyone who needed her and her glass was always “full.” She could chat easily with all kinds of people and made friends wherever she went. In recent years, as her health declined, she handled the transition with her usual grace and good humor.
In addition to her husband Jack, surviving Marta are her children, Jennifer (Jim) Beagle of St. Johns, Michigan; Michael (Laura) Giesecke of Scottsdale, Arizona; and Betsy (Brandon) Chaffee of Granville, Ohio. Also surviving Marta are her much-loved grandchildren, Andy, Sam, Nicholas, Regan, Parker, McKenna, Evan, Matthew and Henry; her sister, Kathy (Jeff) Jackson of Grand Ledge; sister-in-law, Nancy (Stu) Greene of Auburn, Maine; sister-in-law, Sally (Bill) Giese of Hudson, Wisconsin; and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and special family friends. Preceding her in death were her parents; sister, Mary Jane Northrup; brother-in-law, Dick Northrup; and parents-in-law, Ray and Marie Giesecke.
Funeral services will be held at the First United Methodist Church of St. Johns, 200 E. State St., at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Private interment will take place at Mt. Rest Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, June 25, 2018, at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home in St. Johns. Memorials may be made to Sparrow Hospice Services, PO Box 30480, Lansing, MI 48909. Online condolences may be made at www.keckcolemanfh.com.