Over 20 years ago, Marion Stiles, Berrien Springs business owner and book publisher, decided to become a volunteer at Caring Circle. Her volunteer coordinator said, “Marion stands out in my mind because she was ready for her first assignment, and the only one I had to give to this elegant, scholarly woman, was a visit with a very down-home truck driver.” She continued, “one would have thought they would have nothing in common, but I was wrong!”
Marion began visiting with the gentleman she was assigned too, and quickly started bonding and finding similar interests. To brighten the gentleman’s week, Marion would bring small mementos to each visit. Sometimes she brought him fruit he liked, other times she would bring him magazines that he had mentioned. At every visit she discovered more about him, such as that he loved liver and onion sandwiches, so she began to make him one every few weeks.
Marion listened to him reminisce through countless stories from his childhood onto adulthood. One story led to another, and Marion knew she wanted to capture these memories for the family to look back on and remember their father. Marion took down all the stories he told, asked for more and ended up working with relatives to add photos from different times in his life. Not only did Marion write, compile, and add photos, she went the extra step and put it together in a bound paperback book. She made copies for him and all his children, so they could celebrate his life—always.
Marion volunteered with Caring Circle until she became too ill to continue. She then began using hospice services herself until her death. Marion is remembered for the joy she found in volunteering and how she truly cherished the time spent with those she helped.