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Obituary: Jill VanderMeer

As received from the  Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home:

Jill VanderMeer 65, a resident of Allouez passed away peacefully on Wednesday July 1, 2020 at the Omega House in Houghton.

She was born on August 21, 1954 in Lansing to Peter and Jean (Petrie) VanderMeer. She grew up in Okemos and graduated from Okemos High School with the Class of 1972. Following high school, Jill attended Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in 1978. Jill worked for several companies as a GIS Specialist, retiring from International Paper in 2015.

From her youngest days, Jill was always a free spirit; someone who marched to her own drummer. After graduating from college, and some time living in the Swiss Alps, it didn’t take Jill long to find that the Upper Peninsula was perhaps the best place in the world for her to find a welcoming home, full of people who shared that independent spirit while recognizing the importance of friends and community.

Jill was also a sensitive soul, who always pulled for the underdog. Jill felt at home in nature. She loved a variety of outdoor activities, hiking, kayaking, and cross-country and downhill skiing. While winter in the UP is not for everyone, for Jill, it was a chance to hook up one of her beloved dogs for a day of ski-jouring. For many summers she served as a park ranger or interpreter for Isle Royale National Park and Fort Wilkins State Park. She enjoyed, taught, and performed dances of all types including tap, clogging, square dancing, and international folk dancing. Jill was a member of a recorder group in Calumet, where she often transcribed the music making it easier for all to play. Jill was a renowned square dance caller, throughout the state of Michigan and Minnesota, having spent a couple of years “down south” in the Twin Cities.

She was the founding leader of the Keweenaw Heritage Dancers in 1985. She went on to organize the Keweenaw Stoutwood Morris Team, both groups traveled throughout the state performing and competing. Her love of music and dance brought people together, and developed many friendships over the years.

On December 30, 1998, she was united in marriage to James McAnallen in Glen Haven, Colorado. They were a perfect match and spent many happy years together in Michigan and Florida.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Jean VanderMeer.

She is survived by:
Her husband: James of Allouez
Her step-son: Samuel (Ikuha) McAnallen of Melbourne, Australia
Her step-daughter: Angela (Efi) Davidi of Boca Raton, Florida

Her brothers: John (Cindy) VanderMeer of Lakewood Colorado
Steve (Ann) VanderMeer of Fort Collins, Colorado

Her sister: Lynne VanderMeer of Grand Haven, Michigan

Along with numerous step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A celebration of Jill’s life will be held at a later date.

Online condolences for the family may be left at www.ericksoncrowleypeterson.com

The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Memorial Contributions can be sent to the Copper Country Humane Society https://www.cchumanesociety.com/donate/

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