Marilyn Mae Kallem Mueller passed on to life eternal on January 8th, 2021 following complications from COVID 19 at the Kavanagh Hospice Center in Des Moines, Iowa. She filled her 96 years of life with the deep purpose of loving and nourishing her large family, to being the soul of a teacher and mediator, to enjoying her many good friends, to keeping faith in the worst of times, to laughing whenever she could and living a life full of reading and sharing books. Her grandchildren cherish the many memories of baking cookies and eating kringlas with her, playing gin rummy and croquet. She had a way of making each child believe that they were her favorite. When asked for advice about any difficult situation in life, she most often responded, “This too shall pass.”
She was born in Blue Earth, Minnesota to her farming parents of Alvin and Ruth Kallem and moved with them to Ellsworth, Iowa soon after. She lost her father at age 8 to cancer, but grew up supported by her strong mother and extended Norwegian family. After graduation from high school, she worked in a munitions factory in Ankeny, Iowa during World War II before going to school to gain her teacher’s certificate from the University of Northern Iowa. She took her first job in Manson, Iowa teaching second grade where she soon met and married her husband, Delbert Mueller, who farmed in the area. After losing him to cancer in 1985, she moved from the farm to town.
A hard-working farm wife and a mother of seven children, she still found the time and desire to be an active member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Manson for 61 years. She was devoted as well to the Manson Library Board. In 2009, she moved to Ankeny, Iowa to be closer to her children.
Always up for an adventure and traveling, she never stopped learning or encouraging others to do the same. She had a treasured quote from Tagore that says: “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is turning down the lamp because the dawn has come.” She now resides in that new dawn.
She is survived by her sister, Rosalie Arneson, children, Paula Krueger (Keith), Marcia Wakeland (Steve), Karen Zaabel (Denny), Douglas Mueller, David Mueller and Jon Mueller, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Delbert, her sisters, Polly Martin and Maxine Sterrett, her brothers, Darrell Kallem, Wesley Kallem, her close double-cousins, LouAnn Clark(Wendell) and Merlyn Kallem (Doris), daughter, Jayne Anderson and great grandchild, Evie Mueller.
Funeral services will be held in Manson on Saturday, May 22 with visitation at 1:00 and service at 1:30. Reception to follow in the fellowship hall (if COVID appropriate). She may be remembered by a gift to St. Paul Lutheran Church, the Manson Library or by simply living a life full of grace and harmony.
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