Faces in the Crowd: Jessie Sikkema

August 8, 2019

By Aaron Michell

Jessie Sikkema, a 2005 Marion High School grad, is excited about some of the big things that have been happening in her hometown of Marion.
As Assistant Manager for the recently opened Marathon Gas Station, she’s especially excited about some of the big things planned for her gas station.
Jessie, the daughter of Brenda and Corky Britton, loves her job at the Marathon, because she loves her customers. Her favorite part of the job is seeing all those familiar faces walk through the door.
But she’s more than just an Assistant Manager at the Marathon.
She’s a mom; she’s a daughter; she’s a sister; and she’s a good friend to many.
Jessie, along with her husband, Josh Sikkema, spends much of her free time with her kids: Sierra, Brayden, and Corkylyn. Family always comes first.
We caught up with Jessie recently, where she filled us in on what’s important in her life. We learned that she’s very passionate about her family and her hometown, and that she’s passionate about making every day count. We learned that Jessie Sikkema is more than just another face in the crowd.

Jessie Sikkema

Marion Press: Have you always lived in Marion?
Jessie: I was born in Flint, Michigan. And in 1994 we moved here – when I was seven – and I started second grade here. I don’t remember much of my life from down there!
My mom and dad spent a lot of time up here in Marion; my grandpa and grandma lived up here off and on – plus they had a place in Flint. My great-grandparents had a house up here too.

MP: What do you remember about Marion when you first moved here?
Jessie: Not a whole lot! It’s changed a lot. I guess I didn’t really pay that much attention. We had 40 acres, and we were always at home. I grew up in the old Grandon School House, out on the corner of Forest and Partridge. My brother Jamie actually lives there now. We had a big family: My mom, Brenda, and my dad, Corky; I had an adopted sister, Cassandra; my cousins who lived with us – Robby and Bobby Chesser, the twins; and my mom had another set of twins, Kaity and Kelly Gerow, who lived with us.

MP: That’s a big family! What were things like growing up in the Britton household?
Jessie: Farming; horses – lots of horses. We had goats, chickens, cows, horses, then we [downsized] to just horses. Just family stuff.

MP: Are you still into horses?
Jessie: I don’t have any. Someday my dream is to have one – when I can afford it!

MP: So farming kept the family busy?
Jessie: And my dad’s business, Countryside Engines.

MP: What are some of your favorite memories growing up? Who were some of your childhood friends?
Jessie: My best friend growing up was Chantelle Alberts. She’s moved back to the area, so we’re starting to reconnect again. We were inseparable growing up. She had horses; I had horses. When we were younger – probably 12 – and we were out messing with the horses in the horse pen. And my dad had a mean cow, and they called her the b. That was her name. [The cow] hated women; hated my mom. And we went to get out of the pasture, and the cow wouldn’t let us out – we were stuck on top of a round bale. And we were screaming for my dad, but he was in the barn and couldn’t hear us. And Chantelle took off running as fast as she could and caught her coat on the fence and tore it all to pieces. And she had to run and get my dad to [come rescue] me. After that we decided it was time to get rid of the b.

The Sikkema Family.

MP: What kept you busy in school?
Jessie: I did band; played the clarinet. And as I got older, I did the flags. I played basketball from sixth grade to eleventh grade, and I quit my senior year. I tried cheerleading in middle school, but when I was a freshman I didn’t make it so I didn’t try it again.

MP: Tell us about the Sikkema family.
Jessie: Josh and I have three kids together, and he has one. My stepson is 20, and I have three of my own: Sierra, 10; Brayden, 8; Corkylyn,3. They keep me busy, especially this summer. I’ve been pretty lucky, in eleven years of being a parent of my own, we finally this year had our first broken bone and first set of stitches. My son has a broken collarbone, and my three-year-old got stiches last Saturday.

MP: What keeps the Sikkema family busy?
Jessie: We spend a lot of time with family. Mud bogging – that’s our big one. Josh has a truck, and it’s a big one. He has the last motor my dad ever built in his mud truck – it was his racecar motor. Swimming, hanging out with family, camping. Old Fashioned Days is our big weekend for the summer. A lot of my family and friends from downstate come up and they bring their cars up for the car show. They do it in memory of my dad, because my dad always went to the car shows. My brother gets a trophy every year in memory of my dad, and the grandkids get to hand out the trophy.

MP: What have you enjoyed most about Old Fashioned Days?
Jessie: As a kid, being in the parade, in the band. And the car show – we did a lot of that. As I get older, I like to see a lot of people come to town and support it. But the car show is the biggest part of the weekend for us. And then we go back to my brothers and have a big ol’ cookout and ride the razors down the trails over by the gravel pits. Spending family time – we don’t get to see our Flint family a lot.

Jessie as a young girl.

MP: And you’re the Assistant Manager at the Marathon. What does it mean to you to have the gas station back up and running?
Jessie: I think it’s awesome for our town because it brings in jobs, and it brings in another gas station. It’s so much of a fight to get into the Shell sometimes; I think it’s good. We always had two gas stations, and when we lost it, it kind of hurt the town for sure. And having it back open is awesome. I hear a lot of people say that they’re glad there are more options for gas stations; more options for places to go.

MP: What is your favorite part of the job?
Jessie: I love my customers. Seeing everybody on a daily basis, and having faces that come in all the time. And sometimes there are faces that you haven’t seen in a really long time. Sometimes I wish we had a little more traffic, but we’ll get there.

MP: When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Jessie: I’m usually with my kids, or family, doing the normal mom stuff: grocery shopping, stuff like that. We enjoy just hanging out, sitting by the fire.

MP: What do your kids like to do?
Jessie: My son wanted to play football, but he can’t because he can’t play contact sports for six months. We do baseball in the summer; cheerleading, of course. Sierra is into basketball now. Corkylyn, she’s just getting to that age where she’s figuring it out. I’m sure when she gets to that age, she’ll be big into cheerleading just like the rest of the family.

MP: What’s the best advice that you’ve been given?
Jessie: Don’t take life for granted. Live everyday as if it’s your last, because you never know, it could change in the blink of an eye. I’ve seen it, my dad was healthy; died of a heart attack, that quick. I was 25. My son was 14 and a half months old when my dad died. He had big plans for his grandkids. I know they would’ve had a junior dragster if he was alive, and they would’ve been on the racetrack all the time!

MP: Who have been your role models over the years?
Jessie: My grandma, Loretta, and my brother, Jamie. I spent a lot of time with my grandma. It was only me and my brother, so we got spoiled. And my brother was older so I got to spend a lot of time with her. She helped me out through life, a lot. She helped me go to college, after I gave up my scholarships in nursing. And my brother, he bought a house when he was 18, just out of high school. He’s always pushed for everything he’s had, and he’s always been there for me. And his wife, Misty, she’s given me a lot of advice too. She’s my sister. And she’s my best friend.

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