Marilyn Van Niel, 68, of Spencerport, NY, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 13, at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, with Robert Van Niel, her husband of 31 years, by her side as she joined Jesus Christ in heaven.
Born on June 1, 1952 to the late Herbert H. and Margaret W. Stevenson, Marilyn attended Spencerport schools, Houghton College and, later, Roberts Wesleyan College. Marilyn's life and identity were truly anchored in her family and Christian faith. Other than being "Mimi" to her grandchildren, she was happiest when she was flower and vegetable gardening, canning, flower arranging, sewing, and doing handcrafts. Her service to others included working as a phlebotomy technician in local hospitals, medical office reception/secretary, helping students with disabilities succeed at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), selling flowers at the Rochester Public Market, and most recently retail in fabrics and crafts.
Marilyn demonstrated uncommon resilience and courage through her episodic 48 year battle with Crohn's disease. Facing debilitating medical and surgical challenges over the years, she ultimately underwent a complete intestinal transplant through the Cleveland Clinic in March 2015. However, her recurring health challenges never deterred her from a perpetual optimism and positive outlook. She exuded personal warmth and shared a frequent smile with friends and, especially, with her large extended family. She loved, and was well loved for, the roles of wife, mother, grandmother, sibling, aunt, and friend.
Surviving Marilyn, in addition to her husband, is former spouse Gordon Chapman of North Chili, NY, sons, Timothy (Alexandria) Chapman and their daughter Gracelyn, of Marion, NY; and Micah Chapman and his children, Nolan and Harper, of North Chili, NY. She also leaves behind siblings Sharon (Clifton) Seaman of Churchville, NY; Daryl (Gudrun) Stevenson of Houghton, NY; and Paul (Carol) Stevenson of Rush, NY, plus many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A service to celebrate Marilyn's life will be announced later and held in summer 2021. Interment will be in the Fairfield Cemetery in Spencerport.
Memorials, if desired, may be made to the Transplant House of Cleveland
(https://www.transplanthouseofcleveland.org), who took such good care of her and her husband for an extended period of time after her transplant and numerous other times in the years since.