Marilyn Marie (Siersbeck) Erling died March 20, 2018 in St. Peter, MN at the age of 88. Born July 18, 1929 in Atlantic, Iowa to the Rev. Lawrence and Cornelia Siersbeck, she completed a BA degree, beginning at Dana College and ending at Augustana College, Rock Island, raising necessary funds along the way by teaching. She met her husband, Svante Bernhard, on a hike in the Colorado Rockies. They were married in 1954 and left soon thereafter for their first of many years abroad. Marilyn was adventurous. She relished years abroad -- in Sweden, Germany, England, Japan, the West Bank, and Nigeria -- and shorter trips elsewhere. She was proudly Danish American. She wove the broader world into her family’s daily life through meals flavored with the spices of these travels, rooms redecorated and renamed "the Middle Eastern room" and "the Japanese room," home-sewn outfits inspired by continental fashions, afternoon Armenian coffee. Marilyn was aesthetically skilled -- she sketched and painted, knit and sewed, and maintained a photographic record of the family’s adventures. She played violin as an adult in the Gustavus Adolphus College orchestra and sang alto in church and community choirs. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style of architecture, she and Bernhard created a unique family home. Friends all experienced her wit and intelligence, which remained with her to the end. Marilyn was attentive to politics, outspoken in her opinions, and a member of the local League of Women Voters. Trained as a teacher, she corrected people's grammar. Impatient with fuss, she was master of innovation. Marilyn was predeceased by her husband, Bernhard, her two sisters, Sylvia Larsen and her twin Mildred Rasmussen, their two husbands, Wally Larsen and Warren Rasmussen, her sister-in-law Corrine Dahlgren and brothers-in-law Jack Dahlgren and Loren Berthilson, and also by a daughter, Birgitta (Ruth) Erling Brodax. She is survived by her remaining children, Maria Erling (John Spangler), Paul Erling (Lise Sveen), and Anne Erling (Dominic Colafati), grandchildren Marta and Johanna Spangler, Sam and Luke Brodax, Elsa, Erik and Elias Erling, and Amelia and Ingrid Colafati, and by her sister-in-law Jane Berthilson, in addition to cousins, nieces and nephews. A funeral for Marilyn is planned for 11:00, Wednesday, March 28 at First Lutheran Church, St. Peter, with a light luncheon and committal afterwards at Resurrection Cemetery, St. Peter. Visitation will begin at 10:00 at the church. St. Peter Funeral Home is assisting the family. Gifts in memory of Marilyn can be made to First Lutheran Church, 1114 Traverse Road, St. Peter, MN 56082, to the Gustavus Adolphus College Orchestra, 800 W. College Ave., St. Peter, MN 56082, or to ELCA Global Mission, PO Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8009.
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