A resident of Prior Lake, Marlene Bierlein died peacefully in the early morning hours of Thursday, October 23, 2014 at St. Gertrude’s Health Care Center in Shakopee, MN. The visitation will be Sunday, October 26, from 4-6pm, at Ballard-Sunder Funeral and Cremation, 4565 Pleasant Street SE, Prior Lake, MN, with an additional visitation from 10-11am at the church on Monday. The Celebration of Life Service will be Monday, October 27, at 11am at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church, 3611 North Berens Road NW, Prior Lake. Reverend Les Svendsen will preside. A luncheon will follow services at the church. An additional memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 9 at 3pm, followed by a fellowship supper at Zoar Lutheran Church, 314 East Indiana Avenue, Perrysburg, Ohio. Reverend Tim Philabaum will preside.
On November 16, 1948, Marlene Rae Bierlein was born to parents Rheinhold and Marion Fuhlbrugge in Midland, Michigan, and was later joined by her sister Margaret. At the age of three, her father died suddenly and several years later her mother married Norman Rippee. Marlene was blessed once again to have a father in her life. In her teenage years, she began playing the cello, which began a life-long love of music as Marlene played through high school, college, and with various church and community ensembles. This musical passion also expressed itself through more than 20 years in a hand bell ensemble.
Marlene attended Michigan State University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Feeling a call to help those in need, she did her student teaching in the inner city of Detroit, not long after the riots occurred in that city. Being a champion and encourager of children, Marlene continued to teach for the rest of her career, working one on one or in small groups with primarily 4th– 6th graders. In June of 2008, and after 20 years of a love for teaching, she retired from the Perrysburg school system. Always an educator, Marlene continued to volunteer in the elementary classrooms of her grandchildren.
During college, Marlene was also active in the Lutheran Campus Ministry and while doing one of her service projects, she became reacquainted with a former friend, Paul Bierlein. After a couple of years of courtship, they were married on August 14, 1971, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Midland, Michigan. They were blessed with two sons, Jeremy and four years later, Matthew.
Nineteen years prior to her death, Marlene was first diagnosed with brain cancer. Despite recurring tumors, her perseverance and determination repeatedly overcame physical challenges and setbacks. She lived life to the fullest, spending as much time as possible with her grandchildren. Marlene’s love for travel included the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Italy, a Baltic/Nordic cruise and a couple of trips to Europe. She was also an avid gardener, creating and caring for three water garden ponds and tending more than 300 types of floral plantings in her yard. Marlene also loved collecting antiques that needed TLC and reclaiming them into beautiful keepsakes.
A determined woman with perseverance and an adventurous spirit, Marlene will be deeply missed and gratefully remembered by her husband, Paul; sons, Jeremy (Heidi Edmonson) Bierlein of Eagan, Matthew (Jennifer) Bierlein of Columbus, Ohio; grandchildren, Ethan, Micah, Sophie, Ginny, Lyndee, Emmett, Anna; mother, Marion Rippee of Springfield, MO; sister, Margaret (Craig) Erickson of Branson, MO.
Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home and Cremation, Prior Lake Chapel, proudly served the Bierlein family. www.ballardsunderfuneral.com
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