Marilyn was born June 4, 1927 in Sioux City IA. She was the second of three daughters born to Charles and Gertrude (Kies) Barron. She graduated from Cathedral High School in 1945.
After graduating in 1949 from Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, she taught elementary school in Yankton, SD; Denver, CO; Bremerhaven, Germany; and finally, back home in Sioux City, IA. It was here that she met and married Roger Immele August 13, 1955. They lived in Sioux City next door to Roger’s parents for 8 years before moving to Cherokee in 1963. They raised six children and enjoyed nearly 32 years together before Marilyn lost her beloved husband, Roger, on March 10, 1987.
Marilyn was an avid traveler, always ready to go anywhere at a moment’s notice. In September 1988, she embarked on a 4-week journey, along with her daughter, Kathleen. They served as citizen diplomats, walking 100 miles through Ukraine to promote peace between the United States and the Soviet Union. In addition to various other trips with her children and grandchildren to places in Europe, she took a backpacking trip to the Flattop Wilderness in western Colorado with her son Bruce and his wife Barbara, hiking in about six miles, climbing an 800-foot pass carrying a 30-pound pack. Another memorable adventure included a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota with several of her children and their families at the age of 69.
Marilyn fulfilled a childhood dream of having a horse when she took riding lessons at the Dick Wallen stables in Sioux City while in her 60’s and later owned Kalu, Satin, and her favorite, B.B. Tucker. She showed her horses several times winning various awards.
Marilyn was very active in her parishes of Immaculate Conception in Cherokee and Sacred Heart in Sioux City. Over the years, she served as eucharistic minister, lector, religion teacher, and a member of the bell choir.
On June 14, 1997 Marilyn married Sylvester “Sy” Rodgers. They resided in Sioux City and traveled a great deal all over the US & Canada. Sy had been the best man when she and Roger were married. Marilyn and Sy had nearly 19 years together before Sy sadly passed away on June 1, 2016. Marilyn then returned to Cherokee to be near her children.
Above all else, Marilyn was an awesome mom, grandma, and great-grandma and always loved spending time with her family and friends. Her homemade cinnamon bread was eagerly anticipated and rapidly disappeared on all holidays and visits. She was a competitive grandma when it came to board games, especially Scrabble and Qwirkle, her two favorites. The grandchildren learned lessons of sportsmanship and knew that when they won, it was on their own merit. She also enjoyed cheering on her grandchildren at their sporting events and activities. She was very proud of all of them.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her two husbands, daughter Karen, son-in-law Neal Pearson, parents, and sisters Jeanette and Norma.
She is survived by her children Joe (Darla) of Cherokee; Bruce (Barbara) of Louisville, Colorado; Anne (Ed) Vakulskas of Maplewood, Minnesota; Michael of Aurelia, Iowa; and Kathleen (Joe) Kessenich of LeMars, Iowa. Grandchildren are Jessica, Cassandra, Leann, Mark, Abby, Ryan, Ben, Nathan, and Kale. Two great-grandchildren are Addilyn and Nirvana.