Marilyn Olseen

Final Resting place

Baker Township Cemetery
Osceola County
Melvin, Iowa, United States

Obituary of Marilyn Faye Olseen

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   Marilyn Faye (Wachtel) Olseen was born January 2, 1933, at home (as it was during the Great Depression) on the Wachtel Family Farm, 2 1/2 miles south of Melvin, Iowa. Welcoming her were her father, George W. Wachtel, mother, Clarice (Jochums) Wachtel, and brother, Steve (Gayheart) Wachtel.

   Marilyn (Aunt Mimi to her family) began her education by attending country school just 1/2 mile south of the farm. She walked with her cousin, Gordon Ziaser, as they were inseparable growing up. After the country school closed, Marilyn went to Sanborn High School in Sanborn, Iowa. She was active in music and was a very good basketball player, being named 3rd Team All-State. She graduated in 1951 and went on to Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa, earning both a 4-year degree and Masters in Home Economics Education. While in college, she took part in an International 4-H Youth Trip to Australia.

   Being an accomplished pianist and later, an organist as well, Mimi shared her talents at the Melvin United Methodist Church, laughing how she could extend the prelude just long enough for her parents to slip in the back door when they were running late. 

   Having taught Home Ec Ed in Iowa for several years, Mimi was well prepared for her teaching positions at John Adams and Kellogg in Rochester, Minnesota, eventually becoming the Home Ec Department Head. She retired early from teaching full-time, but continued to substitute for many of the smaller rural schools in southeast Minnesota.

   On February 21, 1972, Marilyn was united in marriage to William “Bill” Olseen. He was a Nebraska farm boy who had joined the U.S. Navy and was recognized top in his class for operating the ham radio and knowing Morse Code. In Rochester, he was employed as a professional piano tuner. Bill died August 27, 2008.

   Some of Mimi’s loves included traveling, especially rural road trips where she could stop for coffee at a local cafe and meet the nicest people. Having obtained the level of Master Gardener, Mimi was very involved in the Rochester Garden Club and was certified to judge flowers and flower arranging at local county 4-H fairs. She was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church, belonging to the Priscilla Circle Women’s Group. Having been athletic all her life, staying mobile was very important to her. She enjoyed going for long walks, biking, playing golf, and loved downhill skiing! Indoor activities included sewing, knitting, and reading…. Mimi loved to read, especially the books by Rita Mae Brown, since some of the greatest loves in her life have been for her dog, Emmy, and her many feline friends…Star, Peaches & Cream, and Rainbow to name a few. They were all loyal, affectionate companions to Mimi these past years as she became more home bound.

   Thanks to the amazing care of Visiting Angels, Marilyn’s prayer to die at home with her furry comrades close by was granted by God’s grace on October 18, 2023. She will be remembered and missed by so many friends, caregivers, and family including her sister-in-law, Sue Olseen and her family; and her three nieces and their families:  Kathy Wachtel, Nancy (Wachtel) Seufferlein, and Patty Wachtel.

   Mimi’s ashes will be placed next to her husband in the Wachtel family plot, which also includes her parents and Wachtel grandparents, in Baker Township Cemetery, near Melvin, Iowa.

   Aunt Mimi stated near the end, “I have lived a very good life!!”

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