Marilyn (Denessen) Vander Zanden Mackin, age 94, died peacefully on Monday, October 8 at
her Allouez residence. Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Elmer and Veronica (Sheedy) Denessen
on June 5, 1924, Marilyn attended St. Patrick School (1930–38), St. Joseph Academy (1938–42),
and Mount Mary College (1942–46), graduating with a double major in English and Business
Administration. She married John Jacob Vander Zanden on November 16, 1946, at St.
Willebrord Parish, after he returned from WWII Navy service. A true family matriarch, Marilyn
loved being a wife, homemaker, and mother to their seven children. She also had a sharp
business mind and with her husband, co-founded Vander Zanden Real Estate in September
Marilyn’s passion for life was boundless. She reveled in spending time with her many friends at
bridge club, birthday club, square dance club, and art classes; entertaining and hosting
numerous dinner parties for family and friends; and sitting in her garden at home. She was also
a devoted member of her church and attended daily Mass for many years, varying her
attendance between St. Matthew Parish and St. Norbert Abbey, where she was a Norbertine
Marilyn was equally dedicated to serving her community and church. She stayed involved at St.
Matthew Parish where her children attended grade school; was active with the Green Bay-De
Pere Antiquarian Society, Brown County Historical Society, Catholic Woman’s Club, and Green
Bay Service League; and was a member of the Oneida Golf and Country Club, La Baie Dance
Club, Avila Book Club, Square Dance club, and many others.
Marilyn served on two boards in Green Bay, including the Catholic High School Foundation
Board and the St. Vincent Hospital Resource Council. In addition, she was a devoted supporter
of St. Norbert College (where she established a scholarship endowment fund), Notre Dame
Academy, St. Matthew Parish, Heritage Hill, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Carmelite orders, and
Marilyn and John enjoyed a happy marriage for 35 years until John’s untimely death in June
1982 at age 59. Five years later, Marilyn found true love again. In August 1987, she married
John (“Jack”) Mackin, whom she knew from grade school and attendance at daily Mass. Marilyn and Jack were married for 28 years and loved their blended family of 12 children.
Jack died in January 2016 at age 90 near their winter residence in Jupiter Island, FL. After Jack’s
death, Marilyn, a lifelong Green Bay resident, continued to spend the winter months in Jupiter
Island, where she attended St. Jude Parish in Tequesta and St. Christopher Church in Hobe
Marilyn is survived by five of her seven children: Mary (Jerry) O'Connor, Estero, FL; Richard
(Rayann) Vander Zanden, Stuart, FL; Sarah Vander Zanden (Peter Marston) Minneapolis, MN;
Kathryn Vander Zanden, Hinsdale, IL; and Jacob (Jessica) Vander Zanden, Dana Point, CA.
Marilyn is also survived by her five stepchildren with John Mackin: Mary (Wayne) LaCourt, De
Pere, WI; Patricia (John) Cole, Green Bay, WI; Molly (Patrick) Zabrowski, Wauwatosa, WI;
Michael (Julann) Mackin, Green Bay, WI; and Daniel Mackin, De Pere, WI; step sister-in-law
Marilyn Fischer, step cousin Elizabeth Whalen, daughter-in-law Deborah Martin, son-in-law
Kenneth Twadell, 29 beloved grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild,
many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Marilyn is predeceased by two adult children, her son Douglas Jacob Vander Zanden (Deborah Martin), who passed away February 2004, and her daughter Amy Bridget (Vander Zanden) Twadell (Kenneth Twadell), who died October 2008. In addition to her parents, her husbands, and two of her children, Marilyn was preceded in death by her sister Lois (Denessen) Bourguignon Beisel, who lived two doors away in the same Allouez neighborhood, and brother-in-law Abbot Benjamin Thomas Mackin O. Praem of the Norbertine Community, St. Norbert Abbey.
The family wishes to express heartfelt appreciation to Marilyn’s caregiver Jackie, whose loving
assistance enabled Marilyn to remain in her beautiful home, and to the caring nurses and staff
of Unity Hospice in Green Bay and Vitas Hospice in Jupiter, FL.
The wake will be held in St. Matthew Church Narthex on Friday, October 12th beginning at 4
p.m. with a short prayer service at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian burial and celebration of Marilyn’s
life will be at St. Matthew Church on Saturday, October 13th at 11 a.m. with visitation starting
at 10 a.m. Entombment will be private at Allouez Chapel Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers,
donations may be made to the AJM Teacher’s Scholarship Endowment c/o St. Norbert College
or to St. Matthew Parish.
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