Saline Native Raymond VanDoren, Vietnam War Navy Veteran, Was a Talented Artist


Raymond Marcus VanDoren passed away unexpectedly at home on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

On February 11, 2021, Marc was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth.

The families and friends of Marc and Ruth are doubly grieving the loss of two beautiful individuals who were married for 47 years.

Marc was born on January 12, 1950, in Saline, Michigan, the first of five children born to Roger and Dorothy VanDoren. Marc and his three younger brothers and sister enjoyed their childhood years growing up together in Saline and have many cherished memories of family life together. Marc graduated from Saline High School in 1968.

He served honorably in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1972 that included a tour of duty in Vietnam for which he was recognized for meritorious service. Marc married Ruth McKenna in a lovely backyard ceremony in Tecumseh, Michigan, on June 22, 1974, with his father-in-law, the Rev. Paul McKenna as officiant.

Marc was an artist at heart and demonstrated that in a variety of ways with his early abstract paintings, dabbling with bonsai and outdoor art. He became especially skilled in carving and painting decoys, and produced countless intricately detailed, hand painted carvings of fish. Marc and Ruth spent nine years in San Francisco, CA where Marc attended the San Francisco Art Institute and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting.

He was involved in numerous art pursuits including film and video production, sound editing, props, painting and picture framing. He drove a taxicab through the streets of San Francisco to help pay the rent. They returned to Michigan (with a car load of cats) in 1983 and shortly after purchased the home of Marc’s grandfather that sits on a hill above Pleasant Lake in Manchester, MI.

Beginning in 1984, Marc spent 33 years working full time for various contractors with Detroit Edison out of Local 17. He often put in long hours dealing with storm damage to power lines. Marc mastered the art of trimming trees and was amazing to watch in action. Marc was an intelligent, caring, and sensitive individual who highly valued family.

He and Ruth created many beautiful memories for family and friends, such as splendid 4th of July picnics at Pleasant Lake with competitive games of bocce ball, great food, and fireworks over the lake. He was an excellent cook and consummate grill man. Annual wild game dinners with his family were a special time for gourmet cooking. Marc and Ruth were blessed with many nieces and nephews who loved them dearly and appreciated their singular flair and style.

In lieu of children, over the years Marc and Ruth provided a loving home for a multitude of cats, most adopted as strays that needed a good home and they found their haven on Pleasant Lake. From Luther in the beginning to Fred near the end, their feline friends brought great joy to them. In recent years, Marc acquired two beautiful, lively, chocolate brown poodles, Andre and Journey, who were much loved additions to the family. Andre and Journey have found a new loving home, but two remaining cats may be looking to be taken in, again.

Marc is survived by two brothers, Richard (Diane) VanDoren and Jeffery (Geraldine) VanDoren; his sister, Shanna Wykes; sister-in-law, Paula (Dennis) Bowman; brother-in-law, Dwight (Barbara) McKenna; and brother-in-law, Ivan (Melissa) McKenna, and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his wife, Marc was preceded in death by his parents, Roger and Dorothy VanDoren; a brother, Donald VanDoren; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Paul and Margie McKenna, and brother-in-law, John Wykes. A joint family Celebration of Life for Marc and Ruth will be held this summer on Pleasant Lake. Arrangements have been handled by the Robison-Bahnmiller Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Saline, Michigan. Those wishing to share condolences or memories may do so at In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Marc’s honor may be made to: The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration through their website: or to a preferred animal shelter.

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