Cover photo for Marlen Boothby's Obituary
Marlen Boothby Profile Photo

Marlen Boothby

December 1, 1941 — July 11, 2023

Paw Paw

While there are no words to express our profound loss, the family of Marlen Boothby announce his unexpected passing at home, surrounded by loved ones, on July 11, 2023.

Marlen was born on December 1, 1941, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to parents Doctor Paul and Dixie Boothby. Soon after his birth he and his family moved to Lawrence Michigan where Marlen attended Lawrence schools.  He moved to Paw Paw in his Junior year and graduated from Paw Paw High School in 1960. He attended Olivet College where he played football and Ray Vogue School of Art and Design in Chicago.

From a young age, Marlen had many loves, airplanes, music, soccer, and the Arts, to name a few.  He was a gifted artist in multiple mediums. He learned to fly from his father and was encouraged in his musical talent by his mom whom he lovingly called “Toots.”  Marlen lent his beautiful baritone voice to many choirs over the years beginning professionally in Chicago. He especially enjoyed singing every Christmas season in the Lawrence production of the Messiah with his friends and family, and with the St. Augustine and St. Joseph choirs in Kalamazoo. He was instrumental in the development of boys' soccer in Paw Paw and coached his own boys from elementary through their high school years. He would end each day with sudoku followed by watching college, and/or professional soccer on TV.

Marlen followed his love of aeronautics to the Kalamazoo County Airport where he worked for forty-three wonderful years.  He enjoyed every day that he spent working with his airport family.

On February 18, 1965, Marlen married his high school sweetheart, Nancy, with his best friend Tom McKenzie at his side. He became a father to a daughter, Kathryn, followed by two sons, Dave and Joel.  He was a devoted husband who would often say, whatever makes “George,” or Mom happy, makes me happy. George was his pet's name for Nancy.

Marlen spent his entire adult life at home in Paw Paw, always near his mother and “little” sister, Tonda, her husband Tom and their children, and now their grandchildren.  After they retired, he and Nancy often traveled to their home away from home, Ft Myers, Florida where they loved being with their son, Dave, his wife Carrie, and their girls. In Florida Marlen would sit on the beach with his dog Mollie at his side all afternoon making sketches he would later paint in watercolor.  Marlen loved his patio vegetable garden, especially when his green beans were ready to pick.

Marlen was a kind, gentle, and thoughtful man who loved his human and furry family members and was always ready to help anyone in need.

Marlen is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy; daughter Kathryn (Kalamazoo); son David and wife Carrie (Lakeland, FL) and their children, Amanda and her husband Teddy Ryan, Casey and her husband Phil Peach, and Nikki; and son Joel (Paw Paw) and his children Kendra and Ethan; and his sweet little dog Charlie. Two sisters, Paula Boothby and her husband Ernest Dishner (Greensboro, NC) and son Cameron Muhic; and Tonda Boothby and her husband Tom Shoemaker (Paw Paw), their children Jesse, his wife Holly and children Leona, Harrison, and Lucas; Lexie, her husband Brian Fath and their daughter Bridgette; and, son Wyatt Boothby Shoemaker, MD. The Boothby clan is a very large group and he loved them all. But he was especially close to the Lawrence and Hartford cousins he grew up with and considered his brothers and sisters.

Marlen did not want a funeral and he requested cremation.  He wanted us to celebrate his life by sharing with each other our precious memories and time spent with him. There will be a private celebration of his life at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marlen Boothby, please visit our flower store.


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