Beloved Margarete Elizabeth Klinken, known by family and friends as "Gretchen" or "Oma" lost her battle with congestive heart failure at age 87. She passed Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 in Hollywood, Florida where she spent many of her golden years.
Gretchen was born January 7, 1931 to German immigrant parents Adam Tollmann and Barbara "Betty" Rothenhauser in a small house in Detroit Michigan. She lived there for a few years then moved with her parents to the countryside of Centerline so they
would have enough room to farm.
Gretchen grew up in Centerline and graduated from Busch High School in 1948. Gretchen learned from her parents and taught her children the value of hard-work, independence and striving to meet your goals. It's hard to believe that her first job out of high school was as a switch board operator for Michigan Bell Telephone Company given todays era of cell phones and social media.
The strong German heritage within her family drove her to work alongside her parents at the "Bambi" Restaurant in northern Michigan, the Bavarian Inn, in Detroit, and finally at the Hofbrau House in Centerline with her ex-husband Hans Klinken. Her German culture was instilled in her children in dance, enjoying her fabulous cooking and to strive to learn the language. As challenges arose in her life, she met those challenges and went to work for Ford Motor as a professional power seamstress retiring in the mid 1980's.
Gretchen always loved and shared that love of the outdoors, parks, Belle Isle, picnics, parties, and most of all the beach where she retired to in Hollywood Florida. She walked the boardwalk daily and zipped around in her red convertible Mustang Cobra embracing life. It was not unusual for her to go fishing on the ocean and riding the water taxi to her many adventures with her Florida friends and family. She travelled to Germany as often as possible and had the time of her life sailing on the Queen Mary II.
Gretchen held dear birthdays, special events and holidays with Easter being her favorite. Gretchen's grandchildren were pure joy to her. She looked forward to every band concert, parade, sporting event or graduation she could attend. She even became a true sports fan with her son-in-law Tom watching games together on T.V. She looked at life as a merry go round with ups and downs and was a true fighter until her passing.
Gretchen was preceded in death by her parents Adam and Barbara Tollmann. She is survived by her sister Barbara Franke, her children John (Andrea) Klinken, Christine (Larry) Klein, Anne Marie (Dan) Marx, Gretchen (Tom) Liles. Grandchildren Eric Rousseau, Ellis Klinken, Micheal, Adam, and Lauren Liles, James and Carl Klein and last but not least her lovable cat Bailey.
A sincere thank you to all our family and friends for your thoughts and prayers. And remember.......
"In heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here, and when we're gone from here, our friends will be drinking all the beer!"
God bless you all,
The Klinken Family