June 9, 2019 – West Bend, WI – Marlene I. Frey, 77, of West Bend, found peace on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, with her family at her side at Kathy Hospice in the town of Polk.
Marlene was born on January 5, 1942, in Yankton County in South Dakota, the daughter of the late Edwin and Lenora (nee Herr) Oswald. Marlene grew up on a farm near Menno, South Dakota. Her love of music began with her mother teaching her piano lessons at the age of four. Her work ethic started early, learning to sew and cook from her mother, but also helped with doing farm chores and helping her father in the barn. She went to a one room school house from first through eighth grade. In 1960 she graduated from Menno High School. She met her sweetheart Elmer Frey at a church social and a courtship ensued. On April 16, 1961, they were joined in marriage at Salem Reformed Church in Menno.
They started their journey on a farm near Menno. After some good years and two beautiful children, their luck began to change. A devastating fire destroyed their barn, crops began to fail, and Marlene got kicked by a cow. In 1971 an opportunity for work at the West Bend Company brought them to West Bend, Wisconsin. They built a house with a custom music room to help Marlene’s career as a piano teacher flourish. After they established their careers, two more children were born to complete their family. That home gave them 43 years of loving memories. In 1977, Marlene fought and won a courageous battle with breast cancer. Marlene was blessed with eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Holding those babies gave her so much joy and happiness. She enjoyed babysitting and teaching piano to the grandchildren.
Marlene started teaching piano lessons while in high school. Her love and passion of music turned into a full time career. She taught piano and organ lessons to countless adults and children in West Bend for 48 years. Being a church organist became one of her favorite passions. Marlene played for numerous churches over the years and also played for weddings and funerals. She felt blessed to share in so many people’s special days. Most recently was her position as full time organist at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in West Bend as well as co-directing the choir with her daughter, Peggy.
Those Marlene leaves behind to cherish her memory include her husband, Elmer; her children, Peggy (Fred) Kriefall of West Bend, Tim Frey of West Bend, Tracey (James) Myrhum of West Bend, and Matthew Frey of West Bend; eight grandchildren, Elizabeth (Josh) Harju, Melodie Kriefall, Kassy Frey, Emily Frey, Taylor Frey, Jacob Myrhum, Grace Myrhum, Lily Myrhum; three great-grandsons, Rhyan, Braeden, and Linkon; a sister, Carol Newberry; a sister-in-law, Darlene Holec; a brother-in-law, Norbert Zirpel; other relatives and friends.
In addition to her parents, Marlene was preceded in death by her parents-in-law, Otto and Hulda (nee Weisser) Frey; three sisters-in-law, Violet Thum, Marlene Frey, and Elaine Zirpel; five brothers-in-law, William Wenzel, Marvin Holec, Ernest Frey, Ray Thum, and Duane Newberry; and a nephew, Gregg Frey.
Visitation for Marlene will be held on Monday, June 17, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Myrhum Patten Miller and Kietzer Funeral Home, 1315 W. Washington Street, in West Bend. Visitation will continue on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 7750 Hwy 144 North, in West Bend.
Funeral services for Marlene will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. Rev. Jonathan Vierkant will officiate and burial will follow at Washington County Memorial Park in West Bend.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to the doctors and nurses at ICU at Grafton Hospital and the nurses at Kathy Hospice for the care provided to Marlene.
The family encourages you to wear her favorite color, purple, to the visitation and funeral in celebration of her life and vibrant personality.