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MaryAnn Maloley


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved MaryAnn Maloley. She passed away on May 20, 2024, at age 94. MaryAnn, or the “Chocolate Lady” as many knew her, touched and influenced the lives of so many. Her kindness, boundless energy, unwavering positivity, and humor made her a fixture of our community.

Born in Grand Rapids on February 23, 1930, she attended Breton Downs Elementary School and graduated from South High School.

In her teen years, alongside her brother Jack, MaryAnn became a celebrated dancer at Phil Osterhouse Studios. Their captivating performances graced the stage of Ramona Park and numerous other local venues. The duo was often the highlight of church conventions, where their talent and charisma made them the requested entertainment time and again.

MaryAnn worked for many years at Jacobson’s Department Store as their Sportswear Manager. Because of her sincere way with people, she regularly led her department to record sales.

And with her family and friends, she lived a vibrant life. She traveled to California and Las Vegas regularly, never turned down a card game, took road trips with friends, and hosted regular parties, big and small.

In 1980, fueled by her passion for chocolate, genuine love for people, and fun-loving creativity, MaryAnn founded MaryAnn’s Chocolates. She built from scratch the gourmet chocolate retail and manufacturing company, which was one of the first women-owned businesses in Grand Rapids.

MaryAnn’s Chocolates was more than a business venture: it was a place where people found connection, appreciated the playful, and found joy. Her little store in Breton Village Mall reflected MaryAnn’s warm and caring nature, and it created countless wonderful memories for children and adults.

MaryAnn found great joy in bringing happiness to people through her store. She eagerly shared in life’s special moments with others, often surprising both longtime friends and new acquaintances with an unexpected box of chocolates. And to her, her employees were more than colleagues: they were family, and she sought to guide, nurture, and mentor them.

Beyond her professional life, MaryAnn was the kind of woman people wanted to be around. She was always ready for a party and had a unique ability to connect with people. With her genuine and comforting demeanor, she effortlessly built meaningful connections with old and new friends alike. She gave people the benefit of the doubt, and made others feel special and appreciated. Her friendly smile and infectious enthusiasm brightened every room she entered.

Known to her family as Mom, Gram, Ma, Grandma MaryAnn, Auntie Mame, Aunt MaryAnn and M.A., there was little she loved more than being with them. It was a rare occasion when she missed a family gathering, and she especially delighted in playing with her great-grandchildren.  And you can be sure, there was always a candy treat for them in her purse.

MaryAnn’s faith and beliefs were important, meaningful, and comforting to her. A lifelong member of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, MaryAnn participated in many ministries, fund-raising activities, and Midwest conferences, often in leadership roles.  She enthusiastically sang tenor in the choir for almost 70 years and for this dedication received the Episcopal Commendation of Exemplary Service from the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese.

MaryAnn is survived by her daughter and light of her life, JoAnn Abraham; grandsons, David (Heidi) Franklin, Michael Abraham (Andrea), Anthony (Sarah) Abraham, Matthew (Michelle) Abraham, Nicholas (Laurel) Abraham and John (Antoine Chatin) Abraham; great-grandchildren, Lindsey Franklin, Taggart and Riven, Alex and Claire, Madelyn, Cecilia, and James, and Bernadette and Jim Abraham; sister-in-law, Joanie Wawee; step-son, Matthew (Rebecca) Maloley, as well as many special and loved nieces, nephews, cousins, and godchildren. She was preceded in death by her darling daughter, Susie Franklin; parents, John and Josephine Wawee; brothers, Jack and Mike Wawee; sister-in-law, Shirley Wawee; and father of her daughters, James Maloley.

MaryAnn’s legacy will continue to live on through the joy and happiness she brought to others, both through her delectable chocolates and her remarkable spirit. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, employees, and all who had the privilege of knowing her.

MaryAnn’s family will greet family and friends at O’Brien-Eggebeen Gerst Funeral Home, 3980 Cascade Rd. S, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546, on Thursday, May 30, 2024, from 2-4PM and 6-8PM with a Trisagion Prayer Service at 7:30 PM.  There will be a visitation at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, 2250 East Paris Ave. SE, Friday, May 31, 2024, from 10:00-10:45 AM, with the Funeral Service beginning at 11:00 AM.  A luncheon celebrating MaryAnn’s life will be held immediately following at the church for all guests.  Interment will then take place at Woodlawn Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

Rest in peace, MaryAnn.  Your sweet spirit and the joy you spread will remain in our hearts forever.

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5 Responses

  1. MaryAnn was always family to us. She was happy, kind, generous and always ready for fun. She had a long life with many great successes and also some difficult challenges, yet always kept her positive attitude and love for others. Her focus on giving, connecting and loving others was inspirational. Her chocolate was THE BEST and beyond compare. She was adored by all and will be greatly missed.
    Sending love and prayers for comfort to Joanne and her family. Memory Eternal.

  2. MaryAnn was a very lovely lady! Gracious, kind, warm and loving! She was always smiling and sincere. May she rest in peace, May God give her family strength and…… May her memory be eternal!

  3. Rest in peace cousin Mary Ann. That infectious smile, sense of humor, and positive outlook on life will always be cherished.

  4. I will always remember Aunt Maryann and her bff Elizabeth . I was privileged to spend time at their homes. I was made welcome and included in lovely special events. I was always in awe of that beautiful lady who I admired from afar and hoped someday to be just a little like her. Life took me away from that part of the family but I always felt in some ways what I learned as a young girl, being part of her life, shaped the women I became. My life choices took me away from that part of the family but I always remembered Aunt Maryann with gratitude and love.

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Make a Contribution

Memorial Contributions: 

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