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Published: Wednesday, 1/9/2013

Nurse ran 2 shops with her husband

PORT CLINTON - Marion E. Brinkman, 92, former co-owner of gift shops in Port Clinton and East Toledo, died Saturday at Ennis Court Nursing Home in Lakewood, Ohio, where she had lived the last seven months. She died of cardiac arrhythmia, said her son, John.

Mrs. Brinkman was a native of Elmore and a graduate of the first class at Elmore High School in 1926, her son said. Graduating with her was her future husband, Chester Brinkman, whom she married in 1931.

The Brinkmans moved to East Toledo, where Mr. Brinkman became minister of music at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. Mrs. Brinkman was a nurse at Flower Hospital, where she graduated from nursing school.

Both Brinkmans moonlighted as organists at area funeral homes, a business a number of family members were involved in. Mr. Brinkman was the more accomplished organist, her son said, “but [my mother] got paid more.”

After World War II, the couple moved to Port Clinton, where they opened their first gift shop. By then, Mrs. Brinkman had left her job at Flower Hospital. They opened a second shop around 1956 on Starr Avenue and, shortly after moving to East Toledo, they closed their Port Clinton store.

Competition from the new Great Eastern Shopping Center hurt their business, and they sold the shop in 1958, John Brinkman said. Mrs. Brinkman then returned to her former profession at the former Colonial Nursing Home on Glanzman Road.

In 1981, the Brinkmans moved to Lakewood, where their son operated a funeral home. They lived in an apartment above the mortuary, and Mrs. Brinkman helped out by answering phones. Mr. Brinkman died in 1996.

Mrs. Brinkman was a first-rate knitter, who in her later years enjoyed making mittens for the poor. John Brinkman recalled that his mother's hobby kept him and his four children flush in clothes and blankets for years. “She knitted as far back as I can remember,” he said. “She made mittens, sweaters, and afghans.”

When John Brinkman was a young boy, he and his mother used to summer at Lakeside on Lake Erie.

Surviving are her son, John; sister, Lucile Garst; and brother, Donald Kuhlman.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today at Brinkman Dress Funeral Home, Lakewood. Services will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Trinity-St. Paul Methodist Church, Elmore, where family and friends may call after 11:30 a.m.

The family suggests tributes to the Lutheran Home of Toledo or Lutheran Home of Mercy.



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