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Marlene Stacey

In a heartbreaking and beautiful broken heart story, Marlene has followed her husband of 59 years, Ken, to her final resting place on April 3, 2024.  They were true soul mates all the way to the end.   

When we first put Ken in to Hospice, he was in the hospital for nearly a week and Marlene was back at their apartment without him.  Ken was transported from the hospital back to their apartment and we arrived shortly after him to complete the paperwork. The hospice team was waiting for us outside their door and one of them looked at us and said, “have you seen The Notebook?”  When we walked in, we found them laying side by side in bed holding hands.

Once when Ken was in the ER, they needed to do a procedure to clear a blood clot and the doctor told us there was a 75% chance he would not make it through the procedure.  Ken pretended to be asleep because he didn’t want any of us to tell him “good bye.”  Marlene was complaining on repeat about being cold and when nurse came in to check on Ken, who was seemingly sleeping, the nurse asked him if he needed anything, he opened his eyes, pointed to Marlene, and said “she is cold and needs a blanket.”  So there he was, faced with a very serious situation and he had no concerns about himself, only her.

Marlene was born in South Dakota on March 13, 1941.  She grew up on a farm and raised sheep for 4H in high school.  She said she named all the sheep and they would come up and nudge her while she fed them.  She said her dad laughed at her because all her sheep died of old age because she was so attached to all of them.

Marlene was the breadwinner in our house, managing the HEB pharmacy near our house for many, many years.  Marlene was such an empathetic and friendly pharmacist that she could not walk through our local HEB. She was a rock star among all the old people in the store!  Every aisle, every turn…”MARLENE!”  It was extremely telling about the kind hearted and caring person Marlene always was.

Marlene led that pharmacy with empathy and caring.  We watched as she supported her employees, she paid electric bills from time to time for a single mom who had her electricity cut off, she supported a young woman through teenage pregnancy and was at the hospital to support her as she gave the baby to another family for adoption.  

Marlene was also a dedicated and hard working mom.  She worked 40+ hours a week, and she was at every event, game, match, whatever we had going on.  Ken and Marlene traveled to all of our away games for all of our sports and many times they would be the only parents on our side of the bleachers when we had travel games. 

Marlene also enjoyed baking, creating, and upholding family traditions.  Growing up in our house, we never saw store bought bread or cookies, those were all made by Marlene.  She was also an amazing seamstress who could fix or create anything, she even made prom dresses.  We have collected and recorded all of her holiday traditions and it is something that not only Tara and Trisha will cherish forever but her grandkids will as well.

Her grandkids were everything to her.  We did Sunday night family dinners for years as a way to pause everything and get together once a week.  Marlene enjoyed planning and cooking for these dinners.  No one wanted to miss family dinner, it was never a duty it was a privilege and a time of joy.

We learned inclusion from Marlene which was amazing for her generation.  When Trisha went off to college and was part of a women’s collegiate soccer team, she was concerned when she learned that there were members of the team that were lesbian.  Ken and Marlene happened to be in town that first weekend for a warm up tournament.  Marlene explained to Trisha that her concerns were ridiculous and that they are just humans and there was nothing to worry about.  It was a time when people didn’t feel as free to express these things and it was just uncomfortable because it was new.  Having her be so empathetic and accepting was definitely a wow moment and set the tone for how we view people who don’t look like us, believe what we believe, or do things we cannot understand.  She was like that about everyone and everything.  She taught us to stop and listen and think about the fact that we may not know what that person is going through or feeling in that moment.  

She was preceded in death by her husband and soul mate Ken Stacey, her parents Percy and Minnie Wallace, and her sister Joyce Hove.  She is survived by her children Tara Bodwell (Walter) and Trisha Stacey, and her 4 grandchildren Brynn Bodwell, Maya Fuller, Erika Bodwell, and Abby Fuller.

She was a beautiful human who has always loved life and has always been the life of the party.  She set an amazing example of a strong woman for her daughters, she lived “you can be whatever you want to be.”  Wherever she goes we know she will be loved and have tons of friends.  Thanks for being you, Marlene, love you forever.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice Foundation of America ( Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis (Animal Humane Society) appreciated but not necessary.

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