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Pauline “Polly” Ismond

Our beloved and adventurous Pauline (Polly) died at the age of 94 on Friday, December 22, 2023, at her home on the Ismond Tree farm that she and her husband Morrison, created as a legacy in honor of God.  She was born September 9, 1929, in coastal Mississippi, the daughter of Paul and Eva (Diehl) Kennedy and her much cherished stepfather Jerry Welch.

Polly attended undergrad at University of Georgia, then Cornell University and finally the University of Michigan, doing post graduate studies in the new field of Nutrition and Dietetics.  She was employed at Pipp Hospital in Plainwell, MI for over 40 years as a dietitian.

Polly met her husband Morrison “Mory” Ismond at the University of Michigan, and they enjoyed 35 years together. They both lived out their faith in practical and direct ways, and raised a family that nurtured the land they loved as well as nurtured the neighbors and friends around them.

Anyone who met Polly knew her true love was to share the story and living reality of Jesus with others.  She was passionate about teaching the Bible in many different ways.  She and her husband, Morrison, led many Bible studies through the years, including church, neighborhood, and ones at the Allegan County jail in the late 70’s. Following her husband’s death, she continued that ministry on her own for the next 35 years.  Polly also led a vibrant and long-standing Ladies Bible study group for over 50 years, spending countless hours preparing lessons, praying for all of those involved, teaching Sunday classes in various churches, and writing lessons in one of her hundreds of spiral notebooks.

Polly loved adventure, and was an accomplished canoeist, an avid open water swimmer, an expert Alpine and Nordic skier taking dozens of ski trips around Michigan, Montana, and Colorado…and even continued her Nordic skiing despite loss of her eyesight over the last 20 years, skiing by feel and by touch.

As Polly’s sight became a challenge, she determined to live fully alive in the Lord regardless.  She took several trips around the world (China, Haiti, Egypt, Israel, etc.)  She attended many photography classes, weekend seminars, and summer camps in her pursuit of displaying the beauty of God’s creation.  She took many Elderhostel trips to enjoy such adventures as camping, white water rafting, as well as kayaking.  Every year, she and her daughter, Deborah, would plan a vacation to seek out new adventures and new memories throughout North America. Polly was a woman not to be deterred by her loss of sight nor her age.

Polly’s love of the land was seen as she planted, trimmed, mowed, harvested and managed the family tree farm even into her 90s.  She honored all that she learned from her husband in both wildlife and land management. Many families and friends still come every year to pick out their special Christmas tree, enjoy bird watching walks, fish for trout and hunt for deer…or as she called it; “managing the herd”.

As a three-time cancer survivor and then becoming totally blind during the early 2000s, she remained independent and determined to stay on her farm and continued to live out God’s calling in her life.  With the care and help from her incredible neighbors and dear friends of many years it was possible for her to do so. Her family remains ever grateful for the generous and warm rural neighborhood culture that truly takes care of one another time and time again.

Surviving are her children, Deborah Ismond of Washington DC, Timothy (Kay) Ismond of Petoskey, MI and Mark (Pattie) Ismond of Ada, MI. She was blessed with five grandchildren Nathaniel (Kelsey) Ismond, Jonathan (Samantha) Ismond, Sarah Ismond, Mathea Kennedy Ismond and Morrison Ismond. Great grandchildren came within the past two years, Tatum (Nathaniel and Kelsey) and Eloise (Jon and Samantha).  Polly and her children would also consider her long-time dear friend and spiritual sister, Libby Dendel, as part of the Ismond family.

According to her wishes, Polly will be cremated with a memorial service to celebrate her life on January 20 2024, 11AM, at Trowbridge Community Church 355 26th Street, Otsego with a luncheon to follow.

In lieu of flowers please feel free to make a donation to the causes listed below which reflect her joy in sharing the beauty of nature, and sharing the love of Christ with others…

-The Mory Ismond Environmental Lab at Gilkey Elementary in Plainwell, Michigan.

-Solar Bibles in over 6000 dialects and languages via

-Special thanks to the caring nurses and staff at Wings of Hope, you are a blessing.

Messages of condolence may be posted at



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Condolence Messages

Larry &Sue Martin

December 27, 2023 at 3:11 pm

Our thoughts go out to all of Polly’s family. She was our dear neighbor for many years and Larry spent many enjoyable hours with her talking religion. She will be missed.


Kate Jones (Kathie Kuns)

December 27, 2023 at 8:31 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your mom passing! Debbie and I were just visiting the other day about Aunt Polly! We always enjoy the stories of going up to the farm house and staying over. It was such a neat house, I don’t blame her for wanting to stay there. I remember picking fresh blue berries and going back to the house and she made the “best” blue berry muffins! All good memories! That’s awesome of Pattie being able to stay with her and help her out at home. What a blessing! I wish I could come out there in January, but I live in South Dakota. Our hugs and prayers are with you all! Love, Kate Jones (Kuns)


Douglas Wood

December 28, 2023 at 1:43 am

Mory and Polly were my second parents all through my school age and high school years. Even then they inspired me with their integrity, humility, and commitment to people, and to nature. I’m fortunate to have had their influence during those years. I’m amazed, but not surprised, by Polly’s determination to stay home, and her resilience to do so in spite of blindness and advancing age. She was a force of nature. My warmest condolences to Deborah, Tim, Mark, and the spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren. You have been blessed to have Polly with you and I’m sure her loss is felt deeply.


Peter and Laura Vels

December 28, 2023 at 8:53 am

Thankful for all the years of knowing Polly, she always listened and gave us wise counsel from God’s word. She attended one of my first in home Bible studies and it was so great to have her with us to share her wisdom from the Lord and Bible knowledge.

Also we always looked forward to coming to her farm when our kids were young to pick out the “perfect” Christmas tree. Thankful how Polly shared her beautiful land with us all for hiking and sledding.


Kelley DePauw

December 28, 2023 at 10:03 am

I’m so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. Your family is heartfelt in my thoughts and prayers.


Sherri vassau

December 31, 2023 at 9:54 pm

Oh Poly, You will be missed by many upon many of peoples lives you had imprinted on. I was one and it was such an honor to me to know you. You were a walking bible and so inspiring. You were always so kind and patient to us beginners with our faith. I been to heaven and know God will treasure you. You are a Jewel to him and never hesitated over your faith and love for him. Hopefully you will visit me and check in. I will miss our talks from the days we seen each other. I will never forget your beauty inside and out. May the Lord be showing the ropes of heaven and your meeting back up with your husband. Until we meet again, and we will. I will do my best with my broken ability to Love the lord like you did. Rest in peace Polly.


Robert Hosack DDS

January 8, 2024 at 11:35 am

Polly was a very dedicatied dietition and awonderful lady. God has prepared a special place for her in His house. May the family be reminded of the Godly times during her lifetime in times of grief.


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