Cover photo for Elizabeth Jane "B.J." Ranney's Obituary
Elizabeth Jane "B.J." Ranney Profile Photo
1927 Elizabeth 2020

Elizabeth Jane "B.J." Ranney

September 23, 1927 — June 24, 2020

Elizabeth Jane "B.J." Ranney, (nee Schmidt), age 92, passed away peacefully June 24, 2020 at Golden Life Adult Foster Care in Greenville, Michigan. Born in Grand Rapids, MI on September 23, 1927, Elizabeth, or B.J. as her friends knew her, went to grade school at St. Stephen’s Catholic School in East Grand Rapids and graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 1945. She went on to earn a teaching certificate from the University of Michigan and briefly taught primary school. B.J. was married for 66 years to the late Richard Farr Ranney, who brought his bride to his hometown of Greenville, MI where they enjoyed a very active life. B.J. loved to be outside, skiing in the winter, and gardening in the summer. She often said that if you had fresh flowers in the house, you didn’t have to clean! Her father, Henry L. Schmidt, a well-known Grand Rapids tailor of fine custom-made clothing, taught her how to work with fabric. She became a skilled seamstress, making many of her own clothes, and turned that passion into a business making Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, sock monkeys, and beautifully-designed, handmade Christmas ornaments. Orders came from all over and moved expeditiously from her waiting list to the mail. Although she loved to sew, her true passion was being on the golf course with her beloved husband, who taught her the game soon after they married. She excelled at golfing, winning the “Greenville Country Club Ladies Championship” crown four times, and the “Helen Keselring Tournament” once. Never one to sit still, B.J. made lifelong friends as a member of the Per Gradus Club, remaining active for more than 40 years. She participated in many of the Club’s service projects, including representing the organization to other women’s clubs in an effort to help needy school children in Greenville. She also was a frequent volunteer at the elementary school and served with the Naomi Lewis Hospital Guild. B.J. is the loving mother of Richard, Jr. of Greenville, Charles (Cheryl) of Buffalo, N.Y., and Christopher of Greenville; loving grandmother of Jennifer Deihl, Alicia Ranney-Regua (Russ), Catherine Ranney and Emma Ranney; daughter of the late Henry and Gertrude Schmidt; dear sister of Marilyn Reynier and the late Henry Schmidt, Jr. and the late Barbara Remien; also survived by many nieces and nephews. The family will be present Sunday, July 5th at the Marshall Funeral Home, 420 West Grove St. in Greenville from 10:00 to 11:30am, followed by a short burial ceremony at noon in Section 33 at Forest Home Cemetery. Because of the ongoing pandemic we ask those who attend the visitation at Marshall Funeral home to please wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines. And, if being inside with others is uncomfortable, all are welcome to join us outdoors at the cemetery. Flowers gratefully declined. Memorials can be made to The Alzheimer's Research Foundation, www.alzheimersresearchfoundation.com.

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