Marilyn Joy Decker was born to Willard and Bertha (Stucky) Albrecht on Sept. 3, 1944. She was baptized on her confession of faith in the Eden Mennonite Church on June 5, 1960. On Jan. 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 carrying 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.
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 also was a hobby. 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. 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 Carlsons 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 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 and 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 at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, at Faith Mennonite Church in Newton, with Pastor Rachel Siemens presiding. Visitation will be rom 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton with the family receiving friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Burial will follow the funeral service in Newton.
Memorials are suggested to Hopi Mission School Foundation in care of Petersen Funeral Home.