On Saturday February 25, 2006 Denise. Gravlin, John Gravlin's wife, lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer and passed away with her family at her side.
For those that do not know John, he is a true ambassador to Michigan Cup skiing and a reflection of the personality and comaraderie that make cross country skiers the nicest people of any sport. John was also a great competitor with several individual Michigan Cup victories, however, his real passion grew from the Maybury Ski Team where his introiduction to the sport started. John's competiveness not only surfaced on the race circuit, but every aspect of his life. For several years he was a varsity baseball coach and even won a Class A state title. He is a dedicated teacher that touches the lives of young kids both in the classroom and on the field. I was fortunate to meet some of John's former students and they all said John had a major impact on their lives.
John's greatest passion has been time spent with his wife Denise and their two young kids Jeri 12 and Delaney 7. His eyes light up whenever he talks about his family and has been active in everything they do. Despite John's competiveness, he would say that it didn't compare to the courage and toughness Denise had to endure for six years of chemotherapy and treatment of Ovarian Cancer. Her story would have even inspired Lance Armstrong, because his illness was nothing compared to what Denise had to overcome.
When most people would have given up and quite, Denise fought though the pain and discomfort searching for and prayer that some treatment would be successful. She was introduced to new drugs and revolutionary treatments all the while maintaining a positive attitude and hopeful smile. Just last year I meet Denise and John at a local restaurant and you would never know she had cancer. She was so beautiful with a radiating smile and gregarious personality one would have thought she won the lotto. In many ways Denise did win the lotto, she had a wonderful husband who stood by her side and was her biggest supporter. John sacrificed his love of skiing for a much greater love. Denise will feel at peace knowing that her two precious children will be well cared for and that in passing she will always be remembered and loved by her children and remain John's soul-mate forever.
Funeral is scheduled for Tuesday. Contact Tron funeral home in Bay City for details if you are interested. 989-893-6583.