Melanie Lee Huepenbecker, age 77, of Marshall, passed away on September 21, 2020 at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, Michigan surrounded by family. Melanie was born September 22, 1942 in Marshall, Michigan to Darwin C. Sawtelle and June Schenske.
She married Larry E. Huepenbecker on May 19, 1959 in Charlotte, Michigan. Melanie excelled at being a homemaker and mother to four children. She made clothes, curtains, pillowcases, Halloween costumes, party games, quilts for all her grandchildren and the best black raspberry jam. She knew everyone's food preference, collectible and hobbies. Melanie was a perennial room-mother at Mar-Lee School and wasn't afraid to let the counselors or principal at MHS know what was best for her family. She had fond memories of living across the street from the Detroit Zoo for a while in her youth. This led to an annual trip to Binder Park Zoo with all the grandkids. She made sure that everyone had the opportunity to experience the fair, the circus, the rodeo, the zoo and the movie theater.
Melanie and Larry farmed together for 61 years. She wore every hat; from feeding and caring for livestock; to driving the baler; to bookkeeper; to making the picnic in the field. There was always an orphan that needed her special attention. The lambs were her favorite and her latest was her cat named "Pest". She would also tend the garden and stay up all night canning and freezing the produce after the kids had gone to bed. Melanie and Larry's home was "grand central station" and every friend, neighbor, and relative knew they were welcome.
Melanie's children and grandchildren have been involved in many activities, sports, and clubs. She could not say "no" to any request for help, and would be at every work session, meeting, performance, and game. Melanie led the Hewitt Make Masters 4-H Club for many years and was an officer of the P.T.O.
She thought everyone should be addressed by their given name and that birthdays were special. Melanie made cut-out-cakes, pies, rice krispie treats, and her famous brownie cake for her family celebrations. Holidays were also made memorable by her attention to detail and the "many many" decorations to inspire the young and old. It wouldn't be Christmas without someone's gift wrapped in a pop-tart box. She made a point to interact with every guest and to photograph each one. We should have bought stock in Kodak!
Her family was the focus of her life. Melanie gave unconditional love and support. She labored to the end for the happiness of those around her.
Melanie is survived by husband Larry, daughter November (Tim Nycum) Huepenbecker-Dargitz, son Larry (Yvonnia) Huepenbecker II, son John D. Huepenbecker, son Donald (Amy) Huepenbecker; grandchildren Joshua M. (Kelly) Zuck, Gwen (Mack) Cook, Brandon (Stephanie) Zuck, Joshuah D. Huepenbecker, Jessica (Neil) Anderson, Celeste Robles, Jesse (Jordy) King, Tony Cable, Emily Huepenbecker, William Huepenbecker, David (Annalise) Huepenbecker, Douglas Huepenbecker, and many great-grandchildren; a sister Celinda Sawtelle of Florida, brother-in-law Denny Gordon, brother-in-law Bruce (Pat) Huepenbecker, step-father John (Vijaya) Hanfland.
She was preceded in death by her Parents, sister Cynthia Gordon, sister Nancy Morgan.
Memorial contributions may be directed to The Humane Society of South Central Michigan or the American Cancer Society.
A private graveside funeral service will be held at Oakridge Cemetery in Marshall.
Arrangements were entrusted to Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services 723 US Hwy. 27 N Marshall, Michigan 49068. Please visit https://kempffuneralhome.com to view the online obituary, sign the online guestbook or to leave the family condolences.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melanie Lee (Sawtelle) Huepenbecker, please visit our floral store.
Humane Society of South Central Michigan
2500 Watkins Road, Battle Creek MI 49015-8609
American Cancer Society
129 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503