Mari Zimmerman Thompson, 73, Christopher T. Thompson, 74, Saginaw, Michigan

Mari and Chris passed away together in a tragic automobile accident on Thursday, July 2, 2015. The two were married May 17, 2002, enjoyed their sunset years as Kindred Spirits and shared a life full of love and laughter. Mari was born on April 27, 1942 in Saginaw, Michigan, to the late John and Monica Sperry. She spent her childhood in Saginaw and graduated from Arthur Hill High School, class of 1960. She attended Michigan State University where she earned her Master’s in Art History. While at Michigan State, she met and married her first husband, Jon Clifford Zimmerman. Mari and Jon returned to Saginaw to build their life together. During this time, Mari taught art at Swan Valley High School and served as a coach for the school’s pompon squad. Mari was active in the local Pan-Hellenic chapter and engaged in various community works. Mari and Jon had three children, Sperry, Jon and Margaret. After the birth of Jon, Mari left teaching and became a local realtor to spend more time with her young children. In 1988, Mari and Jon divorced. Mari remained in Saginaw to raise her children, started an interior design business and continued working as a real estate agent. She enjoyed being with her children and attending their various sporting events including baseball and soccer games. In 1999, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and successfully overcame the disease. She and Chris joined their lives together in 2002 sharing a passion for the arts, travel and family activities. Mari began to focus more on her own artwork. She created Yellow Dog Studios and won numerous first prize awards for her artwork at SAWA and other art events. She served consecutive terms as President of Saginaw Area Watermedia Artists and was a program and art show chairperson for the Executive Committee of the Midland Artist Guild. In addition to the activities she and Chris shared, Mari enjoyed her Laughter, Lunch & Lit book club, painting, being a member of the Midland Watercolor Society and an active board member of the Saginaw Art Museum. Christopher was on born January 16, 1941 in Tiffin, Ohio, to the late John and Mary Jo (Wagner) Thompson. Chris graduated from Tiffin Columbian High School, class of 1959. In 1963, he went on to earn a journalism degree from Michigan State University with numerous courses in government management. From 1964-1966, Chris served his country bravely in West Germany as First Lieutenant in the Army Medical Service Corps. In 1965, Chris married his first wife, Judith Porter in Amberg, Germany. The following year, the two moved to Saginaw where they had two daughters, Paige and Regan. While in Saginaw, Chris was employed at the Saginaw News for over 40 years. He held various editorial positions including 30 continuous years as a contributing columnist. His life with family and friends often served as topics for his columns. In 2000, his “Fair Wife” Judith, passed away after losing her battle with breast cancer. Shortly thereafter, he and Mari joined their lives as “Kindred Spirits”. Over the years, Chris engaged in a variety of activities and community services. This included his work as a photographer of Big Ten Football, a writer for Booth Newspapers, and an editor and columnist for the Saginaw News. In recent years, he wrote an opinion column for the Midland Daily News. Chris received recognition and numerous awards for his journalism and photography including a First, Second and Third place and Honorable Mention from United Press International and the Associated Press. Chris’ community service positions included being a member of the Thomas Township government, an elected trustee and a member of the Thomas Township Planning Commission, a member of the Township Ordinance and Policy Committee, chairman of the Thomas Township Zoning Board of Appeals, and a member of the Streetscape Committee. Chris was also a member of the Board of Directors of the William B. Mershon Chapter, Trout Unlimited, and served on the Board of Directors for the Can-Amera Games, in Saginaw Township. Chris served as President of the Central Michigan Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi (a professional Journalism Society), the Great Lakes Press Association, and of Gandy Dancers. Chris gave of his time freely and also supported the Michigan State University Alumni Club of Saginaw County, the Big Brothers organization of Saginaw, the Apple Mountain Ski Patrol, the Saginaw News Speakers Bureau, was a coordinator of the Farmers Market Table Project, a member of Shields Lions Club, and Gus Macker Basketball. In their life together, Mari and Chris enjoyed time doing many shared activities. They were both members and served as deacons of Second Presbyterian Church, members of the Saginaw Valley Master Gardeners, volunteered at Beal Botanical Garden at Michigan State University, members of the Midland Artist Guild, and avid contributors and supporters of the local art community. They enjoyed family and friends as well as traveling, including several trips as members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through Saginaw Valley State University. Mari and Chris were active contributors and attendees of the Midland and Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestras and enjoyed frequent discussions with their History of God class. Mari and Chris are survived by their children: Mari’s children, Sperry (Zimmerman) Megerian, and her husband, Mark, Jon Zimmerman and his wife, Amanda, and Margaret (Zimmerman) Cook, and her husband Justin, Mari’s four grandchildren, Kathryn and Courtney Megerian and Jay and Drew Cook, Chris’ daughters, Elisabeth Paige (Thompson) Jones and her husband, Troy, Regan Kathleen (Thompson) Bell, as well as Chris’ four grandchildren, Allison, Karly, Kendall and Austin; Chris’ sister, Jane L. Paige and her husband, Ronald, his nephew and niece, Eric and Jessica. Chris was predeceased by his first wife, Dr. Judith P. Thompson, his father, mother and half-brother, Dr. John H. Thompson Jr. and two nephews, Marc and Roger Thompson. Mari was predeceased by her parents John and Monica Sperry, her brother, Jack, and her sister, Joan. A shared visitation for Mari and Chris will be held on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 from 2-4 p.m. and again from 6-8 p.m. at W. L. Case & Company Funeral Home, 4480 Mackinaw Road. A Memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 11 a.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 2665 Midland Road. Rev. James Neumann will officiate. Friends may visit at the Church from 10 a.m. until the time of the Memorial service. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a donation to the Thomas Twp. Parks and Recreation Department or to a scholarship fund established in Mari and Chris’ memory to support a young talent in Photo Journalism and Art Media studies. Mari and Chris’ children would like to thank family and friends for the involvement in their parent’s lives and their ongoing support during this time. Family and friendships were of utmost importance to our parents. They loved and cherished you all.