Marilyn Joy Decker was born to Willard and Bertha (Stucky) Albrecht on September 3, 1944. She was baptized on her confession of faith in the Eden Mennonite Church on June 5, 1960. On January 17, 1964 she married Ronald Decker. They celebrated 51 years of marriage this year.
Marilyn grew up on a dairy farm southwest of Moundridge. She was active in 4-H growing up and carried her love of 4-H with her by working at the Harvey County Extension Office for 22 years. It was not uncommon for young 4-H’ers to share their excitement with her about their 4-H projects. When it was time for the Harvey County Fair you could always find Marilyn at the fairgrounds helping to set up for the fair and encouraging the youth with their projects.
Hard work was very common to Marilyn as she was growing up. Although there were just 17 months between Marilyn and her brother Keith, there were 10 and 12 years difference respectively between Marilyn and her younger sisters Sherylene (Shery) and (Rebecca) Becky. Marilyn easily fell into the role of second mother to the two younger sisters due to their mother’s severe asthma at the time. As the girls grew up, the difference in their ages faded and they became close friends with Marilyn, sharing confidences, and often asking her for advice. Marilyn greatly valued her friends, which was strongly evidenced by the many visitors and strong support group that helped her through her two year battle with cancer.
Marilyn’s strong work ethic followed her as she worked for Bethel College, the General Conference of the Mennonite Church and later earning a real estate license. In her spare time Marilyn also served as President of the Mid Kansas Military Vehicle Preservation Association. Her hobby of collecting Aladdin Lamps led her to coordinating the auction of the Aladdin Knights National Gathering in Topeka in 2013. Doll collecting was also a hobby. Shelves of dolls lined several walls of her basement. She also enjoyed her FCE group Modern Mrs.
Marilyn was no stranger to adversity. In June of 1965 she was one of many who were evacuated by boat from the roof of the north Dillons store in Newton, where she was employed. In June, exactly one year later she and her husband Ron were living in Topeka, Kansas. Ron was serving in Alternative Service when an EF-5 tornado moved through Topeka, heavily damaging the apartment they were living in. This proved to be an avenue to befriend Nelson and Jewel Carlson who were working to rebuild damaged homes after the storm. The Carlson’s remained as close as family after Ron completed his service and they moved back to the Newton area. Both couples found a love for hitting the trails in their jeeps in both Colorado and Missouri. Those friends officially became family when their hobby of jeeping introduced the Carlson’s granddaughter, and Marilyn’s nephew who married many years later.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, an older brother Gerald, and a younger sister Margaret. She will be missed by her husband Ron of the home; siblings, Keith (Mary) Albrecht, Shery (Terry) Kessler, Becky (Jeff) Koller, her in-laws Jerry & Delora Decker and Kevin and Teresa Brennan her nieces and nephews Marty and Mark Albrecht, Christy Shirack, Alan Koller, Cory and Jeremy Kessler, Gail Pryce and Denetta Denno, great nieces and nephews, cousins, and a host of loving friends.
Funeral service will be 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at Faith Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas with Pastor Rachel Siemens presiding. Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday evening at Petersen Funeral Home with the family receiving friends from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Burial will follow the funeral service in Newton, Kansas.
Memorials are suggested to Hopi Mission School Foundation in care of Petersen Funeral Home.