Upjohn granddaughter Martha Gilmore Parfet dies at 91

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UNDATED (WOOD) – Martha Gilmore Parfet, the granddaughter of W.E. Upjohn, who founded the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company in Kalamazoo, has died.

Parfet died Monday at her home in Hickory corners at the age of 91 following a brief illness, according to her obituary. She was survived by her four children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

During her adult life, “Mart” ran her family’s department store, Gilmore Brothers, in downtown Kalamazoo. In the 1980s and ‘90s, she helped to revitalize the city’s downtown business district as part of the Downtown Development Authority, her obit said. As a nature enthusiast, she also helped to create the Kalamazoo Nature Center in the 1960s.

Parfet was also one of the first women to receive the Kalamazoo YWCA’s Lifetime Women of Achievement award.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners. Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home in Richland.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Kalamazoo Nature Center, the YWCA of Kalamazoo or the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

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