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Marilyn Merle Freemyer Riley Lindberg passed away October 5, 2023 at Dignity Care Home in Salina after an extended illness of many years. Services will be Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 10:30 am at Ryan Mortuary, Salina. Later interment will be in the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery at Wakeeney, Kansas.
Beloved, Marilyn Merle Freemyer was born November 11, 1931 to Robert “Bob” Monroe Freemyer and Nancy “Neen” Maria Pickens Freemyer in Sheridan County, Kansas at the home of Nancy’s sister Bea Neff. Her sister Roberta Pearl was six years older. Bob and Neen first leased Neen’s sister Laura’s farm on the highway north of Menlo, in Cherokee County, Kansas, but later purchased a farmstead south of Menlo, where they lived until their retirement. Marilyn attended the Menlo schools until her graduation in 1949. She converted to Catholicism as a teenager after being in a car accident and finding a rosary no one in the car claimed in her pocket afterward. Marilyn travelled extensively with her parents, hunting, fishing and antiquing and was adored by her sister’s older children who always called her Aunt Mardi.
Marilyn’s first job was in Hays, Kansas as a nurse’s aide at St Joseph’s Hospital operated by the Sisters of St Agnes. In the early 1950’s she moved to Colby and worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company employed as a telephone operator. In 1954 she was engaged to Lauren Eugene “Gene” Riley, a parts salesman employed by S&W Supply Co. They married April 15, 1955 in Seguin, Kansas at the Parish House followed by a wedding brunch, and a honeymoon in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Making their home in Colby in 1956 they welcomed their first child, Nancy and the next year purchased a home on Grant Street. In 1958 their son Kevin was born and another son David followed in 1959. Two more children were born with the addition of Lisa in 1964 and Clay in 1970. The family enjoyed family vacations camping and visiting with relatives. Sunday dinners were a special time to gather (no fighting allowed!) and share a meal with the grandparents and her children, but Marilyn especially loved Christmas and large family gatherings. Her grandson Ian referred to her as a child as “two table grandma” and her grandson Jehd is now famous for his “chicken nugget” fable recounted at a family meal. She was a Scout mom, a neighborhood mom, a wrestling and football mom, a swim team mom and a theater mom to all her children and their friends, neighbors and school mates. Her house was open to all and she welcomed them all to her table.
In the 1970’s Marilyn was promoted to Management and eventually transferred to Topeka, Kansas with AT&T, residing in Silver Lake, Kansas. Gene and Marilyn divorced in 1981 and Marilyn then transferred to Salina, Kansas purchasing a home on Front Street with a pool for her family of swim fanatics. In 1990 she married Marvin Lindberg and retired from AT&T that same year. She enjoyed traveling and auctions and operated antique booths in Salina and Abilene. She liked organizing family picnics in the park or even in her back yard. She enjoyed spoiling her children and grand children and Christmas was a joyous time for all, as she insured that Santa Claus always stopped by on Christmas Eve to pass out gifts. No one could say Santa’s not real in her house--not ever!
Her five children and their children are: Nancy (Robert Golden; children Ian and Sara), Kevin (Kay Sherman; children Kimmy, Levi, Ashley and Ceara), David (Ronda Jefferson, son Jedediah; Lisa Debord; sons Darcy and Cory; Jennifer Mikkelson; son Jake); Lisa (Jay Penry, son Jamie) and Clay. From her five children Marilyn had 11 grand children and currently has 27 great grandchildren, all of whom she especially loved to spoil and play with-coloring, playing paper dolls, building with Legos and playing various games to entertain them. Marilyn also loved music and dancing, rocking her babies and singing to them.
Her husband, Mr. Lindberg survives, as well as her children and extended family including many nieces and nephews, as her sister Roberta had 12 children! She was preceded in death by her parents, her ex-husband Gene, her sister Roberta Schlageck and her husband Bernard, as well as Roberta’s children Marilyn and Bernard Jr, and sadly very recently her especially beloved grandson Cory Riley.
Memorial service will be 10:30 am Wednesday, October 18 at Ryan Mortuary and will be live-streamed at https://www.livewebcastevents.com/marilyn/. Inurnment will follow at 2:30 pm at Kansas Veterans Cemetery, WaKeeney.
Memorials may be made to Tammy Walker Cancer Center, St. Jude’s Children Hospital or Genesis Food Bank, in care of Ryan Mortuary, 137 North Eighth Street, Salina, Kansas 67401.
Tammy Walker Cancer Center
511 S Santa Fe Ave, Salina KS 67401
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Genesis Food Bank
350 S Range, Colby KS 67701