Marilyn began her life’s journey on March 13, 1942 as Delena and Leland Gill of Tekamah, Neb. welcomed their first born into their lives. Two and a half years later they greeted her brother Roger and five years after that her brother Kenneth.
Marilyn grew up in the rural Tekamah area, attending the one-room District 4 School until eighth grade when she went into town for her high school years, graduating in 1960. That fall she enrolled at Midland College, Fremont, Neb., from which she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1964. Marilyn was active with the year book staff in college, a gift she would carry into later years as a teacher, serving as advisor to the junior high yearbook staff in Lincoln, Neb. She earned a masters degree in mathematics from the University of WI, Eau Claire, graduating with a straight A average in 1972.
It was at Midland that she met Delwayne H. Hahn of Fremont, Neb. Two weeks after her graduation, the couple was united in marriage on June 14, 1964, at First Lutheran Church, Fremont, Neb.
Marilyn taught school, beginning that fall, at Henderson, Minn. and was the couple’s sole financial support during his four years of seminary, as well as in the mid-1970s, while her husband earned his master’s degree. Subsequently she taught at Robbinsdale, Minn.; Holcombe, Wis.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Atwater-Grove City, Minn. With the exception of the first two years when she also taught German, Marilyn’s academic discipline was math and computer science. After retirement she was a volunteer tutor to elementary students in Alta and Storm Lake, Iowa.
Over the years Marilyn spent many hours assisting in various capacities in the congregations her husband served in Cornell, Wis.; Lincoln, Neb.; New London, Minn.; as well as congregations to which they belonged in Spicer, Cambridge and Dalbo, Minn.
She was an active member of the Cambridge Quilt Club as well. Her annual display of Dept. 56, Alpine Village, encompassing nearly 150 buildings and accessory pieces stretched across several banquet-size tables in the couple’s living room.
Marilyn was no stranger to hospital settings during her lifetime. She contracted polio as a child and spent 18 months in an Omaha, Neb. rehab center. In 1999 after a 10-year struggle with a kidney disorder she underwent successful transplant surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., with her brother Kenneth as the donor.
In May 2011 she had colorectal surgery to remove a polyp from her colon. That surgery had complications of its own including two more operations in the next 18 hours and ending in an ileostomy. After several months with this change in her life she decided to have ileostomy take down surgery to reverse the 2011 operation and allow her to lead a more normal life. The surgery on Feb. 20 was a success but post-operative complications resulted in the failure of her liver and the transplanted kidney.
After a 36-day struggle in which she had some good days with family and friends she returned to the GracePointe Crossing Gables West care center in Cambridge, Minn., where her life ended on March 28, 2012.
Among those who will cherish her memory are her husband, Delwayne; her adult children— Heidi (Darrell) Smith, Cokato, Minn.; Orlando (Leticia) Hahn, Willmar, Minn.; Jairo (Jennifer) Amaya, St. Paul, Minn.; Arminda (Ron) Henkel, St. Cloud, Minn.; and Kristiena (Rick) Illies, Hawick, Minn.; her brothers Roger (Jill) Gill, Grand Island, Neb. and Kenneth (Janet) Gill, Bloomfield, Neb.; 11 grandchildren— K’iah and Landon Smith; Orlando, Augustine, Michael and Marcus Hahn; Carlos Amaya; Savannah and Sophia Henkel; and Dezirae and Brady Illies; two special aunts— Doris Reinert of Tekamah, Neb. and her late mother’s identical twin sister Delores Fleishman of Omaha, Neb.; three nephews and two nieces and a host of persons who simple called her “friend.” She was preceded in death by her parents.
Marilyn’s life and life of faith was celebrated at services in Salem Lutheran Church, rural Dalbo, Minn. on March 30, and Peace Lutheran Church, New London, Minn., March 31. Interment will be at the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in New London. Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Strike Funeral Home – Cambridge Chapel.