Marie Pilbeam was a Navy Wife During World War II, Taught Art to Children With Challenges


Marie A. (Smith) Pilbeam, age 98, passed away on Friday, March 19, 2021 at the Saline Evangelical Home in Saline, MI.

She was born on July 10, 1922 in Lynn, Massachusetts, the daughter of Lester H. and Katherine (Pelkey) Skelton. On February 14, 1944 in Lynn, Massachusetts she married Mr. John Smith, and he preceded her in death on August 6, 1977. Some years later on October 27, 1980 in Milan, MI, Marie married Mr. Kenneth Pilbeam and he preceded her in death in September of 1999.

The ocean was one of Marie’s favorite places. She was raised in Massachusetts and as a child would walk to the ocean each day with her brother and sister. After retirement, she was able to visit her favorite places near the water.

Marie endured the hardships of being a Naval wife and giving birth to Joy, during World War II. She shared interesting stories about those times, giving her children and grandchildren some history during that period of time. All her grandchildren have been blessed with her beautiful paintings and drawings throughout the years. She enjoyed all types of projects, especially hand quilting, sewing and all kinds of art.

Marie graduated from Lynn English High School and attended The Massachusetts School of Art and Eastern University. She retired from the York Woods Center For Children, where she taught art to challenged children.

Survivors include her daughter Joy Holley and grandchildren Thomas (Susan) Holley, Michelle McCartney, Amy Wheeler and Matthew Smith. Also surviving are her great-grandchildren Drake and Demi Hirschfield, Matthew, Maria and Elizabeth Wheeler, Delaney McCartney, and Brooke and Brianna Holley.

Marie was preceded in death in addition to her parents and husbands by her brother Lawrence Skelton, her sister Rita Clark, her son Lawrence Smith, and son-in-law Dennis Holley.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 11:00 A.M. at the St. Andrew Catholic Church in Saline, MI. Friends may join the family for a time of visitation at the church from 10:00 A.M. until the time of Mass at 11:00 A.M. Burial will follow the service and will be held in the Oakwood Cemetery in Saline. Memorial contributions in Marie’s name may be made to EHM Senior Solutions: Memo/Notes section Life Enrichment Department, and envelopes will be available at the church. To leave a memory you have of Marie, to sign her guestbook, or for directions please visit

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