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Marilyn Bartz

HETTINGER — Services for Marilyn Bartz, 77, Hettinger, will be held at 10:30 a.m. MDT Saturday, Sept. 29, at Hettinger Lutheran Church with the Rev. Rebecca Aardahl officiating. Burial will be held at 1:30 p.m. MDT at Hettinger Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. MDT Friday at Evanson-Jensen Funeral Home, Hettinger, and one hour prior to services at the church on Saturday. A family service will be held at 7 p.m. MDT Friday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Reeder.

With her family by her side, our mom was reunited with our dad on the evening of Sept. 22, 2012.

Mom was born Jan. 1, 1935, the first of four children born to Cecil and Susie (Stevens) Melby. She was raised in Hettinger and married Dad on Jan. 6, 1952. Throughout their marriage, they shared life’s adventures. From farming to Minnesota family vacation, to Rose reunions (which occurred even when someone got a new pair of shoes), to celebrating holidays and birthdays, to ushering six children to the front pew of the church, where we quietly sat each Sunday watching Mom play the organ — they enjoyed each and every minute of their married life until Dad’s death on Aug. 24, 2004. The greatest joy of their adventure was the blessing of six children: Susan, Patricia, Ronald, Robert, Gae Lynn and Sallie.

As her children were growing, Mom chose to stay home baking cookies, brownies, pies and other delectable treats for her children and their many friends. In addition to her family’s many activities, Mom felt community and church involvement was essential to her life. She was active in Jaycee’s, BPW, Dakota Concert Series and loved playing piano and organ at various community events and in church.

After the marriages of their children, Mom and Dad enjoyed the empty nest years by road tripping with numerous friends, card playing, coffee drinking, casino excursions, evening drives and travels to their children’s homes for Sunday family meals.

After Dad’s death, Mom continued to play cards with the bridge clubs, the Lakeside Rummy clubs and the birthday club. She played organ at her church and continued to travel on Sundays to see her children and grandchildren. She read veraciously anything she could get her hands on. She loved her morning breakfasts with Grandma Susie and the breakfast clan. Mom, Grandma Susie and we four girls enjoyed our many “unique” adventures on our casino outings. Mom loved the opportunity to travel with us girls to Iowa, to Branson, to Montana to visit her beloved younger sisters, Cecilia and Mary and their families. She loved road tripping with her best friend, Pauline, who kept Mom involved with her clubs after she moved from Hettinger due to her illness.

We are proud of her dignified and courageous battle with cancer. She demonstrated grace during a time of extreme adversity. She gave us hope in the darkest of hours and she fought through the times when the doctor said there was not a prayer of her survival, proving them wrong on several occasions. She was an example of how a person should face the real trials that life can sometimes hand us.

She is survived by her children, Susan (Keith) Anderson, Richardton, Pat (Bob) Anderson, Ashby, Minn., Ron (Willetta) Bartz, Elgin, Bob (Kris) Bartz, Richardton, Gae (Dennis) Zentner, Richardton, and Sallie (Guy) Wilz, Bismarck.

Her great joys were her grandchildren who include Jonathan and Cassondra, Michael and Mollie Anderson; Justin and Leslie, Jeremy and Jackie, Jon and Jana Anderson and Jennie and Blake Quinn; Erika and Shannon Horst and Leslie Bartz; Rob and Amber Bartz, Kate and Brian Stephens and William and Samuel Bartz; Marc, Seth and Maggie Zentner; and Mack, Hollie and Brady Wilz.

In her later years, the apples of her eye were her great-grandchildren, Marie, Dakotah and Dalilah Anderson; Aanika and Bobby Anderson, Lukas and Noah Anderson, Ruby Grace and Simon Quinn; Eden, Robby, Ava and Harper Bartz and Sadie Stephens.

She is also survived by her two sisters, Cecilia (Mike) Tank and Mary (Dick) Gustin; two sisters-in-law, Ruth (Bernie) Ratzlaff and IvaDell Honeyman; three nephews, Rick (Godson), Todd and Steve; nine nieces, Gina, Kris (Goddaughter), Brenda, Cathy, Shelly, Pam, Charlotte, Annie and Jennifer; her high school buddy, Pauline; and her long-time caregiver and “adopted grandson,” Rusty Bender.

She was preceded in death by our dad, her life-long love; her loving parents, Cecil and Susie; her only brother, Tom Melby; her in-laws, Emil, Sadie and Erik; her niece, Barbara Honeyman; and her grandson, Christopher Robert Zentner, who she now cradles in her arms in heaven.

Mom, we will miss your smiles as you play a game of Lakeside Rummy with us or one of the grandchildren. We will miss our endless trips to Barnes and Nobles to find the next book. We will miss our road trips to the casino. We will miss the smells of your baking and cooking. We will miss your laughter, your curly brown hair and your loving arms.

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