MARQUETTE, MI – Coby Lexmond of 1314 Cleveland Ave., Marquette, MI (and 50 years of Ishpeming), quietly danced into The Mystery on Sunday, March 5th at The Trillium Hospice House in Marquette, while in the loving care of her family and UP Home Health and Hospice. She was 92.
Coby was born Jacoba Bernadina Schrader on January 17th, 1931, in Stompwijk, a rural village in the Netherlands. She was the eldest daughter of the late Theodorus J. and Wilhelmina A. (van Santen) Schrader, who had nine children. As a girl, she helped her mother care for her siblings, belonged to St. Laurentius parish and waited to become old enough to attend the local dances. She loved visiting the Dutch tulip fields after Holland was liberated from Germany following the 2nd World War. Coby was shaped by the challenges of the war years. Even so, she was a natural performer (regularly cast in local plays) and became a registered nurse. In 1955, she graduated from nursing school with a specialty in labor, delivery, and newborn care.
On February 14th, 1957, Coby married, Martinus J. Lexmond (Martin), and immigrated to the United States for his medical internship in Baltimore, MD. There Coby worked as a Registered Nurse. In 1958, they moved on to Youngstown, OH, where they began their family, and Coby used her nursing skills to care for their firstborn child after a serious infection. Following Martin’s surgical residency, they moved to Ishpeming, MI for the rest of their professional lives, where beloved neighbors and St. Joseph’s parishioners became the extended family they’d left behind in Holland.
In Ishpeming, Coby raised their five children and immersed herself in church and community activities. She sang in the St. Joseph’s choir for the better part of 30 years. She also became a reader and discovered her Dutch accent was an asset in commanding the attention of the congregants. She provided leadership in the local efforts of the Right to Life movement and engaged with political causes that matched her values well before she became a US citizen in 1994. She took education seriously and wanted to model for her children the importance of understanding US history and government to be a citizen of a democracy. She therefore completed a GED in 1980 through Ishpeming’s Adult Education program and walked in her graduation ceremony with great pride.
Coby was also a dancer. She found an outlet with the Marquette area Square Dancers and acquired an extensive collection of skirts and petticoats. The years of dancing and the friendships formed brought her immense joy. She spoke of dancing and the desire to dance with every caretaker who accompanied her in her final days. She also enjoyed listening to music and tracking her children’s and grandchildren’s professional and personal adventures.
Coby is survived by her husband of 66 years, Martinus Lexmond, who saved the best of his caretaking skills for his bride’s final years. She also leaves behind her five children: Theodore Lexmond (Janette Cadieux) of Cooper Landing, AK, Michelle Lexmond (Paul Gray) of Marquette, MI, Marty Lexmond (Michael Harris) of Milwaukee, WI, Brian Lexmond of San Diego, CA, and Angela Lexmond (Tom Goodney) of Bloomington, IN, and her five grandchildren: Marty Gray (Cassie Jenema), Kees Gray (Nadia Finley), Ketlove Cariste Gray, Robbie Gonyea, and Teddy Gonyea, along with an impressive assortment of grandpets. Finally, Coby leaves behind five siblings in Holland and many nieces and nephews worldwide.
Coby was preceded in death by her parents: Theodorus and Wilhelmina Schrader and three brothers.
The family wishes to offer special thanks to Dr. Thomas Huffman and nurse Marcie Snowaert, LPN, for their longtime compassionate care and guidance, Erin Swadley, Laci Mitchell, and Bethany Babieczko of Marquette Home Care for loving care of all of us, Melissa Koepp for stepping in with her quietly powerful caregiver team and sustaining meals, Dessa Lalonde for bringing laughter and light, Sheila Leahy for bringing order and joy, Patience McCarthy for showing us how to take difficult steps and make them into dances, UP Home Health and Hospice staff (especially nurse Sarah Monroe and her RN colleagues, Dr. Michael Grossman, and Martha Process, MSW), Trillium House, a remarkable place and beautiful resource in our community, staffed with special people who showed us that dying is no reason not to live well, and the dearest of family friends Gerry Nault and Douglas Coron for following the arc of a long friendship across generations. And for the contributions of so many others in the end-of-life journey, we also thank you.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 18th, 2023, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ishpeming, where the family will greet relatives and friends from 10:00 am until the time of service. A livestream of the service can be found at https://ishpemingcatholic. com/live . A luncheon will follow in the St. Joseph Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites support to UP Home Health and Hospice https://uphomehealth. org/ and Trillium House https://trilliumhouse.org/ in Coby’s memory.
Coby will be remembered for her brilliant smile, her clean and tidy home, her love of flowers, and her will to dance.
Coby’s obituary may be view at bjorkandzhulkie.comm where relatives and friends may leave a note of remembrance.