I only knew my sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg, for 15 years before she passed away from cancer in 1989, and yet, I felt like I knew her a lifetime. Some people just have the ability to have that kind of an impact on others. Marlyce just radiated love for her family. Marlyce was developmentally disabled, but higher functioning. She could do many of the things the rest of us could do, but her mind was on the younger side. That made her eager to please people, and interested in fun projects. She loved to be creative and especially loved it when things she made pleased those around her. She loved baking, and chocolate chip cookies were her favorites, and mine too.
I can’t believe that Marlyce has been gone for 31 years now, more that double the amount of time that I knew her. With some people, the length of time you know them, doesn’t matter, because the impact that short time had on your life far outweighed the length of time you spent with them. That really is the way it was with Marlyce. Her sweet nature endeared her to the people who knew her, and still does to this day. Some people are never forgotten, and I think Marlyce was one of those people. Her influence reached far beyond her years of life, and for those who knew her, continues to this day.
Marlyce wasn’t perfect, of course, and she could get angry when things didn’t go her way. Like any child, she had a temper, when she was crossed, and her siblings sometimes enjoyed seeing that temper present itself, so teasing was not unheard of in the Schulenberg household. That was on thing I didn’t participate in, however. Maybe that’s why she always tried to please me, by making the signature chocolate chip cookies. I can’t say for sure. What I do know, is that Marlyce was always very sweet to me, and I can’t recall a singly time we had a fight, or even a simple disagreement. I’m glad, because I would never want to be the source of any pain or discomfort in her…not that her siblings were mean to her, but we all know that siblings are used to each other, and fights are par for the course. Today would have been Marlyce’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven sweet Marlyce. We love and miss you very much.
I have four sisters, and three brothers-in-law. My husband Bob had four sisters and one brother. He still has three sisters, his brother, a sister-in-law, and two brothers-in-law. We are missing his sister, Marlyce, who died of cancer on August 13, 1989 at just 39 years old. Marlyce was the first sibling death any of us had experienced, and it left a large hole in our lives. It just seemed impossible, like a horrible nightmare. How could our sweet Marlyce be gone? I suppose that disbelief at her passing, showed the innocence we all had about life, even though we weren’t seriously young. There are just people you don’t expect to lose…at least not until much later in life, and siblings definitely fall into that category. When Marlyce passed away, she took with her a portion of the joy the family had always had. She was always so sweet, and filled with a desire to help others, and make people happy.
One of the greatest events in Marlyce’s life was the day she became an aunt. She always loved babies, and each new niece or nephew was a treasure. Of all the nieces and nephews, there was only one she did not get to meet, Eric Parmely. And of course, she never got to meet all the grand nieces and grand nephews, or her great grand niece…sadly, because she would have loved every one of them. Marlyce’s developmental disabilities didn’t keep her from being able to hold the babies, and play with the little ones. She loved them as if they were her own babies. I suppose that if her circumstances had been different, maybe she could have been a mom, but that was not to be.
Marlyce went to Wood’s School as a child. Wood’s was a school for the developmentally disabled back then. These days the school district tries to incorporate these students into the public school system. I like that, whenever it is possible, but Marlyce had a great education anyway, and then they helped her to find a job. Marlyce worked several places, and always liked going to work. She never wanted to miss work…not for illness, holidays, or vacations…except maybe Christmas. Marlyce loved being needed. Baking cookies, holding babies, working, and knitting were things that made her feel useful. What she never knew was that she was so much more than those things to us. We would have loved her even if she couldn’t make things, work, or even hold the babies. Marlyce holds a special place in our hearts, and she always will. Today would have been Marlyce’s 69th birthday. I can’t believe that she has been gone almost 30 years now, but I miss her like it was yesterday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Marlyce. We love and miss you.