Marlene E. Brunner 1936-2019
Marlene E. Brunner was born February 28, 1936 to Frank and Edna (Korf) Buchanan in Yuma, Colorado. She passed away on April 8, 2019 at Greenview Living in Akron, Ohio.
She graduated from Yuma High School and continued her education at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, where she met the love of her life Duane Brunner and the couple was married on September 9, 1956. To this union 3 children were born: Robin, Diane and Kevin.
Marlene grew up on the family farm north of Yuma. She had an older brother, Bernerd, and has a younger sister, Yvonne. She was baptized a member of Community of Christ Church, with her best friend Ardith Dickson, and was a faithful follower and leader of her church. Later in life, this dedication led to a priesthood office in the Yuma Congregation. After they graduated and were married they moved to Independence, Missouri where they both found employment. Their first child, Robin, was born while living in Missouri. Wanting to move back to Yuma near her parents, Marlene and Duane decided to make the move. Diane and Kevin were born in Yuma. Marlene was a stay-at-home mom for quite some time and provided excellent care for her husband and children. She was an expert seamstress and made several bridesmaid and prom dresses.As time went on, she felt the desire to work outside the home so she could use her bookkeeping skills learned in college. She was employed at Seedorf Implement for many years.
Her desire to be involved in her community led her to the American Red Cross Volunteer group, Gray Ladies. She was very active in that group and volunteered whenever called upon. She faithfully read the Yuma Pioneer newspaper to the residents of Life Care Center every Thursday. On June 28, 2014 she was awarded a certificate for her many years of service. She started a group called the “Widow’s Might” in support of those who had a spouse pass away. She also volunteered for Baby Bear Hugs taking a teddy bear to each newborn and visiting with the mothers. She had a passion for reading and over the years read a variety of books. A lifelong dream was met on October 24, 2004 when Marlene traveled to Japan. Duane and she also traveled to Europe, Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Alaska, and many other places in the United States. She served as pastor for the Yuma congregation of the Community of Christ for several years. She also played the organ for Sunday worship. She enjoyed playing and singing hymns. She lived out her faith in God and it was a testimony to many. Yuma residents often saw Duane and Marlene walking around town hand in hand.
After Duane passed away on September 24, 2013, Marlene had a difficult time adjusting to living alone. She tried to continue to live at the family home but her children noticed she was not doing well. In May of 2014 she moved to High Plains Manor where she resided until October. On October 29, 2014 she moved to Ohio to be near Robin. They enjoyed many outings and activities including trips to the duck pond, movies, baseball games, with her great grandsons, and of course many visits to the ice cream stand. In October 2015 she was honored to be a part of her great granddaughter, Olivia Marie Jones’, baby blessing. She told many people about that special experience. When she couldn’t remember someone’s name, she would often call them “Olivia.” Her precious grandchildren and great grandchildren were always in her heart.
She will be missed but will live in our hearts forever. Marlene is survived by her children Robin Higgins and Eric Bouch of Akron, Ohio, Diane and Randy Jones of Anton, Colorado, and Kevin and Heather Brunner of Lamoni, Iowa. Grandchildren Chris Higgins and wife Lena of Barberton, Ohio, Jonathan Higgins of Akron, Ohio, Morgan Jones and wife Jamie of Burlington, Colorado, Vance Jones of Anton, Colorado, Krystle and Brent McInelly of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Keeley and Jesse Godfrey of St. Joseph, Missouri, Tim Brunner and fiancée Anna Williams of Lamoni, Iowa, and Tiffany Brunner of Waukee, Iowa. Great Grandchildren are Bradley and Brandon Higgins of Barberton, Ohio and Olivia and Henry Jones of Burlington, Colorado. Sister Yvonne and David Simons of Ft. Collins, Colorado, Ila June Brunner of Morro Bay, California, Elaine and Jim Lamm of Lake Havasu, Arizona, Marlene and Duane Anderson of Cochabamba, Bolivia, Brian Lauer of Arkansaw, Wisconsin, Darwin and Charlotte Pardoe of Yuma, Colorado, Terry and Debbie Brunner of Norwalk, Iowa and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 57 years Duane, parents Frank and Edna Buchanan, brother and sister in law Bernerd and Janey Buchanan, nephew Darton Simons, Parent’s in law Beryl and Orrie Brunner, brother-in-law Galen Brunner, sisters-in-law Joan Lauer and Joyce Pardoe, and niece Kim Lauer Chambers.
A memorial service was held June 1 at Community of Christ Church in Yuma. Memorial contributions may be made to Baby Bear Hugs.