Marlys (Backlund) Morland passed away on November 19th after a lengthy illness. She remained positive, readily amused, and gracious to the end.
Marlys was one of eight children born to Swedish parents near Alexandria, Minnesota in 1930. Times were very tough and the family moved often, but when they finally settled in the tiny town of Holmes City, Minnesota, Marlys found her home. As a child she loved reading, hated sewing, and giggled endlessly with her sister Shirley. Together they literally walked miles to school in the Minnesota winters, perhaps inspiring her lifelong commitment to education. She paid for two years at Augsburg College by pumping gas at a local station before making her way to Helena, Montana where she worked with high schoolers at St John’s Lutheran Church. Late in life she reflected that her time in Montana was the highlight of her life and she expressed her gratitude to God for leading her there.
Marlys eventually moved to Portland, Oregon and worked with youth at Augustana Lutheran Church where she met her future husband Bob—an engineer with the Soil Conservation Service. The young couple lived on NE 17th Street near Fremont where they had three children before moving to a farm in Newberg in 1971. The farm was Bob’s dream, not Marlys’s, but her dutiful acceptance of it opened new worlds for their children. Marlys eventually went back to school and earned a degree in education. She taught at Renne Middle School and Edwards Elementary, frequently ‘adopting’ students-and their parents-who needed extra support. Her fellow teachers and coworkers became some of her dearest friends.
Marlys and Bob loved to travel, visit with friends and continued in their work with the Lutheran Church at Joyful Servant in Newberg. Bob passed away in 2009 just before Marlys moved to Friendsview where she enjoyed her lifelong friends and impressed many others with her spunk in the face of adversity. She especially loved when her grandchildren called or came to visit.
Though she grew up in poverty, Marlys took great joy in sharing her time, talents and finances in the areas of education, hunger relief, poverty relief and homelessness and encouraged her children and grandchildren to do the same.
She is survived by a sister Shirley Peterson of Holmes City, MN, daughter Julie (Jeff) Csisek of Kent, WA, sons Mark Morland of Oakland, CA and Tim (Katherine) Morland of Newberg, three grandchildren Alexandra Morland, Sam (Rachel) Morland and Aaron Morland as well as many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, December 20 at 11am at Joyful Servant Lutheran Church on Villa Road in Newberg. Remembrances may be made to Joyful Servant Lutheran Church.