Marlaina Kreinin (nee Marlene Louise Miller), beloved wife, mother, and grandmother died March 27, 2020 in Tarrytown, New York. She was nearly 87 years old and left us peacefully as she slept. Born April 26, 1933 in Crystal Falls, Michigan, daughter of Jean and Herman Miller.
The eldest of two daughters, one of a few Jewish families in Crystal Falls, she and her sister, Laela, were sent to a neighboring town for Hebrew school. Her grandfather, Eli, came from Poland and started Miller’s General Store. Marlaina’s family kept a kosher home. A proud yooper, Marlaina wrote a collection of stories about growing up in the Upper Peninsula, in which she remembers being in nature with her father and her friends. She graduated from the University of Michigan in English Literature, and later earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University, where she then taught Family Health Ecology and co-authored a textbook.
Marlaina met Mordechai “Max” Kreinin playing ping-pong at Hillel at the University of Michigan. They married and settled in East Lansing, where they raised three daughters. As a mother and grandmother, Marlaina encouraged mischief and fun, building forts, snow igloos, and leaf houses. An avid reader, she gave books for every occasion. Marlaina was a devoted Jew and a lifelong supporter of Israel. She welcomed the town to our Sukkah every fall and hosted festive Chanukah parties for all eight nights of the holiday. In 1970, Marlaina was part of a small group who started a new synagogue, Kehillat Israel, in Lansing and, eventually, was also a member of Congregation Shaarey Zedek.
Marlaina made a home for her family in over 20 different cities around the globe due to Max’s job as an economics professor at MSU. In numerous countries and in East Lansing she hosted countless parties welcoming international scholars.
Marlaina was a poet, a writer, and a storyteller. Both ahead of her time and a product of her time, her writing was informed by marching with her young daughter for civil rights, against nuclear proliferation and against the Vietnam War. She was an early health food advocate–much to her children’s dismay–and an environmentalist who knocked on her neighbors’ doors to stop pesticide use. Her daughters and their friends could earn a penny for each dandelion they picked in the yard because she refused to spray pesticides. As a feminist, she advocated for a women’s international court. She was part of a women’s yoga circle, loved her garden and nature, took voice and dance lessons, and loved music, and art.
Survivors include three daughters, Tamar Kreinin (Rosalind Hinton), Elana Markovitz (Dr. Dennis Markovitz), Miriam Souccar (David Souccar); four grandchildren, Raviv Markovitz (Michal Latzer), Netana Markovitz, Noa Souccar, Lyla Souccar; niece Melinda Saulson, nephew Eli Saulson (Michele Saulson) and the Saulson family of Franklin, Michigan; sister-in-law Oshria Pik and her sons and grandchildren and great grandchildren in Israel. Marlaina is preceded in death by her sister, Laela Miller Saulson, and her husband Max.