Knowing the value of humility, faithfulness and sincere generosity is the only way to know the person and life of Marilyn Meyer. Her life was built on the bedrock of her great faith, the inner compass that guided her every day of her life. Marilyn was devoted to her family and her faith, faithfully serving them both in whatever ways she could. Those she leaves behind will consider themselves blessed to have been touched by such an extraordinary woman.
Marilyn was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 6, 1930, during a difficult time in American history, the Great Depression, but also within her own family. Sadly, her parents, Edmund and Shirley (Naruskiewicz) Meyer, were grieving the loss of their oldest son, Clifford, who died on September 29, 1930, when Marilyn came into the world. Yet, they made sure that Marilyn and her brother, Richard, and sister, Joanne, grew up in a healthy and stable home. Her mom stayed home to care for the kids, while her father earned a living working as General Works Manager at Rex Chain Belt.
Marilyn led a typical childhood of the time, playing hopscotch, jump rope and tug-a-war with friends in the neighborhood (which included cousins who lived nearby). In the heat of the summer, she would follow the iceman down the street, hoping to get a piece of ice to eat. When Marilyn was 6, she came down with pneumonia, which almost took her life; however, many people from the Catholic congregation came to pray at her bedside, which planted a seed in her heart that grew over the years into a strong, devout faith.
Time together with family was a very big part of Marilyn’s life. There were many evenings spent around the piano while her father played and they all sang along. They visited with both sets of grandparents weekly, and when it came to the holidays, they spent the afternoon of Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa Meyer, and then went home to open presents together. When evening came, they bundled up and headed to the festivities at Grandma and Grandpa Narus’s house. Marilyn also had many fond memories of summers spent at her grandparents’ cottage on Little Muskego Lake, where she loved swimming until she turned into a prune. The cottage still had outdoor plumbing so everyone had to use the “house on the hill” when nature called.
Marilyn was always a quick learner, and in turn, loved to help others. Her mother taught her how to can fruit from their trees in the backyard, and how to crochet, embroider, cook and clean; Marilyn knitted socks for soldiers who were fighting in World War II. She taught her younger sister, Joanne, to do simple mathematics and read before she was even old enough to go to school. Needless to say, Marilyn did very well in school at St. Mary’s Academy. After graduating, her mother insisted she go on to college, so Marilyn headed off to attend Marquette University, where she earned at BA degree in Business Administration. She put her education to good use working at a bank before becoming an Investment Counselor at Loomis Sayles. Through her profession, Marilyn became involved with the Lalumiere League, a women’s professional organization, of which she served as a former President.
Marilyn led an active life all the way through to her retirement years. She had a generous spirit and loved to give of her time and talents, like volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and reading with a children’s group. Marilyn loved to travel, and had visited many fascinating places all over the world, including Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, England, Ireland, and many countries throughout Europe. If asked about a favorite adventure, Marilyn always talked about her trip to Turkey. When not gallivanting around the globe, Marilyn was enjoying cherished time with her family. She was proud to have been the maid of honor at her brother’s wedding, and the godmother to her nephew, Peter. Marilyn delighted in her two nieces and nephew, and they enjoyed time together, going to Gillis’ Frozen Custard, the Fruit Ranch market, trips to the Milwaukee Zoo, Rock Lake and Whitnall Park. When they got older, she sent them care packages at school with her delicious Christmas cookies and notes full of her love and encouragement.
Marilyn retired at the age of 62 ½, but never showed any signs of slowing down. She went to the YMCA four days a week for water exercising, and every Sunday (for the next 20 years) she and her sister, Joanne, got together to do something fun together. In the summer, they would go to Ottawa Lake recreational area, have a picnic lunch and take a dip in the water. In the cooler months, they would stay at Marilyn’s apartment, which had a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, and play games, eat and have lots of laughs. For many years, they also enjoyed going to hear the Milwaukee Symphony.
Like Marilyn, Joanne had a servant’s heart, and spent many years as a Sister with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. When it came time for her 50th anniversary as a Sister, Marilyn enjoyed putting together a party to celebrate her faithful calling; another time, she put her organizational skills to use arranging a 50th anniversary party for her parents too. Inspired by her sister, in 1987, Marilyn became an associate of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and participated in many of their activities, including serving on the Associate Board. In 2008, Marilyn made her lifelong covenant with the Sisters.
In 2002, Marilyn moved from her longtime home in New Berlin to St. John’s on the Lake. It didn’t take her long to make many new friends among the residents there, and she jumped right in helping out, serving as a floor representative and on the Council for St. John’s. She also read the Scripture at the weekly Mass held in the Chapel at St. John’s, and took communion to the Catholics in nursing homes, who could not attend Mass. After a bout with pneumonia and a stay in the hospital, Marilyn choose to stay at St. John’s, but moved to the nursing home area and was cared for by VITAS Hospice for her remaining days.
Marilyn held strongly to her faith, never wavering, never questioning even through four knee replacements and a melanoma on her leg – she was not afraid of death – knowing that death, as everything else in her life, was all part of God’s plan.
Born to Eternal Life on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, age 82 years. Sister of Richard (Irma) Meyer and Sister Joanne Meyer, OSF. Aunt of Peter (Nan) Meyer, Christine Schlid, and Karen (Rich) Perlot. Further survived by grandnieces, grandnephews, other relatives and friends. Marilyn lived a life-long covenant as an Associate of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. She was a resident of St. John’s on the Lake and served as Past President of Lalumiere League.
Family and friends will gather at St. Francis Convent Chapel, 3221 S. Lake Drive, St. Francis, WI 53235, on Friday, July 19, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Memorial Mass at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ann’s Center for Intergenerational Care, or Three Holy Women Legacy Fund.