Cover photo for Marlene E Goodrich's Obituary
Marlene E Goodrich Profile Photo
1935 Marlene 2020

Marlene E Goodrich

May 10, 1935 — September 5, 2020

Marlene was a loving mother and a compassionate person who loved to help others. She enjoyed traveling and sharing those experiences with her family.  Marlene was a healer and giver of comfort as a lifelong nurse.  She had boundless creativity which she used to make all kinds of beautiful crafts and cultivate the flower gardens at her home.

Marlene was born on May 10, 1935 to Robert and Helen (Hefner) Duesler in Ligonier, Indiana.  She was raised on the family farm, “Belly Acres”, on the outskirts of Ligonier, Indiana with her twin brothers Dean and Gene.

As a child Marlene was very active in 4-H.  She participated in cooking, sewing, food preservation, and arts and crafts, winning many ribbons in those categories.  It was in 4-H that she honed her domestic and artistic talents and developed a love for community involvement that extended into her adulthood. Marlene was able to pass what she learned in 4-H on to her daughters. She spent many late nights helping her little girls complete their own 4-H projects, taking them to the meetings, ripping out sewing mistakes, and eating those sometimes-gone wrong baking projects. 4-H stands for head, hands, health, and heart and Marlene always put her HEART in every aspect of that club.

Marlene’s love for 4-H continued into a lifelong commitment to the Washington Juniors Home Economics Club and Noble County Extension Homemakers Association.  She held many leadership positions as a Homemaker and was involved in their community events. For many years, Marlene chaired the fundraiser Festival of Cookies, in which Homemakers baked and sold holiday cookies and candies to raise money for philanthropic projects as well as scholarships that went to Noble County students.  Marlene worked tirelessly to improve conditions for the less fortunate and her efforts did not go unnoticed.  The Noble County Community Foundation awarded her a Giver of Gifts Recognition Award.  They recognized her for a “puppy pillow” project in which pillows were made and donated to Alzheimer patients; a drive to collect and send embroidery floss to Third World Countries for use in cottage industries; and the organizing of Homemakers to sew book bags for Head Start students.  In 2008 the Noble County Extension Homemakers introduced a new award, Homemaker of the Year, and Marlene was one of three to be recognized in Noble County.

After graduating from Ligonier High School in 1953, Marlene continued her studies at South Bend Memorial Hospital to complete a degree in nursing in 1956. Marlene used her nursing skills to heal little girls scraped knees, calm neighbors concerned calls, and provide comfort care to aging parents. Marlene was able to use her nursing talents professionally when she went to work for Dr. Jerome Wait.  She worked for Dr. Wait until he retired and then worked for those who resumed that practice, including Dr. Cotton and Dr. Perez. Marlene retired from nursing in 1998.

Marlene met Lynn D. Goodrich while he was cruising Ligonier in his Hudson Hornet.  Their first date was a church service.  The two were wed on February 24, 1957 at Evangelical United Brethren Church in Ligonier.  Marlene and Lynn would welcome five daughters including Pamela, Karen, Ann, Jeane’, and Gayle.  They moved briefly to Columbia City and then Tri-Lakes.  In 1961 they purchased two acres of the Goodrich family farm from Lynn’s family just outside of Wolf Lake, Indiana.  Together they built their family home. Lynn built most of the home himself while Marlene focused on the details. One detail that she noted was with 6 girls in the house, Lynn would need to build a second bathroom. The family lived in the basement while he completed the top story of the family home.  Marlene was busy chasing little girls. Before the lawn was planted, the back yard was one big mud pit. More than once those little girls would go out to the back yard to play in the mud and get stuck. They would yell for Marlene to come and get them and would finally slip out of their boots and run into the house. Marlene was left to the task of walking into the mud to collect little rubber boots.  Lynn may have had the easier task during the house building years!

Marlene and Lynn shared a love for flower gardens. Over the years they changed that muddy yard into a park-like setting covered with hostas, lilies, peonies, and other flowers that they collected throughout their lives. People would stop in front of the house and sometimes pull into the drive to enjoy the beauty of the gardens. Marlene loved to talk about the flowers and often shared a seed, a shoot, or a root with friends, relatives, and even strangers who stopped by to admire them. I guess you could say that she literally spread the seeds of her love of gardening.

They had a wide variety of pets and also rehabilitated wildlife that neighbors brought to them to be nursed back to health.  Marlene cared for fox squirrels, a flying squirrel, wild ducks, a heron, as well as several stray dogs and cats that arrived at the family home.  They had a large vegetable garden and raised chickens and rabbits over the years.

The family enjoyed taking fishing trips together when the girls were living at home.  For many years they traveled to King Fisher Resort in Wisconsin for a family vacation. Marlene liked to fish but then would say “you clean them and I’ll cook them!” The family enjoyed countless family meals consisting of fresh fish and fried potatoes. The meal was usually finished off with a delightful cream horn that Lynn had snagged from the local bakery!

Lynn and Marlene continued traveling after retirement. They owned a time share which they utilized frequently in their travels, and especially enjoyed traveling with their adult children.  Marlene loved gardens, so it was a dream come true to visit the Netherlands while the tulips were in bloom and to see the flower market in Amsterdam.  For several years they attended the annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming in Norris, TN, which featured top bluegrass musicians and Appalachian arts and crafts.  They enjoyed meeting new people and exploring new places. Marlene believed that experiences and connections in life are what matter most and travel provided those for her.

Marlene also loved her hobbies and had several over her lifetime. Some of these hobbies included ceramics, sewing, quilting, painting, beekeeping, card making, and crafting. She would always say everyone needs a hobby. Many times, she would take her little girls with her to a ceramic session or a painting class; stressing the importance of working with your hands to create something beautiful. She made fabulous greeting cards for every occasion and they always had her signature hallmark on the back simply saying “meg”.

Marlene had a great sense of humor.  One Christmas she decided to have a themed Christmas drawing. These themed gifts were not the average Christmas exchange gifts. She encouraged the family to think outside the box and create instead of buying a gift. One year the theme was stockings. Most families would buy a Christmas stocking or stockings for your feet. Marlene and Lynn, instead recreated the famed leg lamp from “A Christmas Story” complete with fishnet stockings. That lamp reappeared for the 60s theme, the appliance theme, and the stinky theme (don’t ask). These themed Christmas exchanges went on for 25 years. We had so many laughs thanks to Marlene’s sense of humor. Oh, and the leg lamp ended up back in Marlene’s front window!

Marlene’s love for philanthropy influenced her involvement with the Sparta United Methodist Church, where she led their community outreach efforts.  Each year at Christmas time, Marlene and Lynn as well as other volunteers carefully packed shoeboxes full of toys and school supplies that were shipped to children living in less-developed countries.  She also encouraged church members to donate food, blankets, clothing, and other donations which she delivered to non-profits, including the Wolf Lake Food Pantry, the Rescue Mission, and Hope House.

Marlene E. Goodrich, 85, passed away on Saturday, September 5, 2020 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

She is survived by her daughters Pam (Jim) Young of Fort Wayne, Karen (Jim) Walters of Rockford, Michigan, Ann (Ron) Rider of Columbia City, Jeane’ (Mark) Sherburn of New Paris, and Gayle (Jeff Burdek) Goodrich of Fort Wayne; brothers Gene (Lexie) Duesler of Cromwell and Dean (Linda) Duesler of Fort Wayne; 12 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.  Marlene was preceded in death by her husband Lynn D. Goodrich and her parents.

A gathering of family and friends will be from 1-5 pm on Sunday September 20, 2020 at DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. With the current Executive Order, face masks are required for attendance.

Private funeral services for Marlene will be held at Sparta United Church of Christ.  Burial will follow in Sparta Cemetery, Kimmell.  With limited seating, the funeral service may also be watched live on Facebook through DeMoney Grimes Live. Memorial donations may be given in memory of Marlene to Sparta United Church of Christ or Washington Township Extension Homemakers.  Visit to send Marlene’s family online condolences.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marlene E Goodrich, please visit our flower store.

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