Marilyn Morton Hartke, 89, passed away peacefully on May 31, 2022 in Worcester, MA. Marilyn loved her large extended family unconditionally, was a tireless letter-writer, loved to laugh, and inspired devotion and joy in all who knew her.
She leaves behind her daughters Linda of Westborough, MA, Janet (Mark Bowser) of Dover, MA, and Sue (Anna Bowman) of Carnation, WA, along with loving nieces and nephews. “Ammy” was cherished by her grandchildren Lexie and William of Somerville, MA and New York, NY. She was preceded in death by her husband Jerry, daughter Nancy Ann, and her siblings Marjorie Morton Mattson, Helen Morton Fincke, Raymond Morton, and Harold Morton.
Marilyn was born on the family farm of her parents Raymond and Leafy Thierolf Morton on May 3, 1933, outside of Wamego, Kansas. She was the baby of the family, and grew up collecting eggs, taking care of her dog Laddie and her pet lamb Bubbles, and trying to keep up with her older siblings. She graduated from Wamego High School in 1951 and then attended Kansas State University, where she received her BS degree in child development and education. Just out of college, she taught second grade at the Wakefield, KS elementary school.
Marilyn met Jerome ‘Jerry’ Hartke on a blind date in college, and they married on June 3, 1956. They built a home and raised their family in Webster, New York and then Sudbury, MA, retiring to Lancaster and then Westborough, MA. They enjoyed 63 happy years of marriage together.
Her first priority through her entire adult life was her husband and three girls, and her large network of family and friends. She created a beautiful home wherever she lived, and loved sharing it with others. An avid bridge player and an excellent cook, she mailed hundreds of homemade Christmas cookies each year to family members across the country. Marilyn also loved gardening and plants, especially African Violets which filled her homes.
Over the years she worked as an ‘Avon Lady’ and in clothing retail at Appleseed’s, and later was an antique dealer for many years specializing in Nippon and Shelley china. Her antiquing expeditions with family and friends in Maine and elsewhere were legendary, as was her extraordinary collection of teacups. Also an avid scrapbooker, she created extensive family history albums for all of her children.
Always a woman of faith, Marilyn was an active member of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sudbury, MA and later of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Westborough, MA.
A memorial service will celebrate Marilyn’s life at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 16th at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Westborough, MA, with interment at a later date in Wamego, KS. For those wishing to view the service live via Facebook, you can view it at https://www.facebook.com/gslcwestboro/. A recording of the service may also be viewed later on the YouTube channel of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Westborough, MA.
Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 183 W. Main St., Westborough, MA 01581 or www.goodshepherdcares.org.