Cover photo for Marilyn Graber's Obituary
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1926 Marilyn Graber 2022

Marilyn Graber

June 23, 1926 — November 22, 2022


Marilyn Graber, 96, of Freeman passed away on Nov. 22nd at Oakview Terrace in Freeman. Memorial Services will be held at 11 am on Monday Nov. 28th at Bethany Church of Freeman. Visitation and viewing will be from 4-6 pm on Sunday at the Walter's Funeral Home in Freeman.

Geraldine Marilyn Graber was born June 23, 1926, on the family farm homesteaded by her maternal great-grandmother in Moody County, SD. The daughter of Phillip and Marie (Hermanson) Martinson, she was baptized and confirmed at Bethania Lutheran Church in Moody County. Marilyn attended school in Jasper, MN, graduating in 1943.

Upon graduation, Marilyn enrolled in Sioux Valley Hospital School of Nursing in Sioux Falls, SD, as a member of the Cadet Nurse Corps (an organization designed to augment the dwindling numbers of RNs in the US during WW II). She was proud to graduate in 1946 as a Cadet Nurse, and she continued to work there until her marriage. She made lifelong friends and loved attending the Nurses’ Reunion celebrations for many years. As a student nurse she somehow acquired the nickname “Morty,” by which she was known ever after!

Marilyn married Melvin “Punch” Graber of Freeman, SD, on October 24, 1948. She joined Salem Zion Mennonite Church of rural Freeman. In 1961, she and Melvin transferred to Bethany Mennonite Church, where she remained a faithful and active member. She worked for a time as an RN at Freeman Medical Clinic, but then stayed home to raise her four children. Marilyn’s own notes for an obituary included this sentence: “She enjoyed her home and family, considering these among God’s greatest blessings.”

Besides home and church activities, she met with friends often and opened her home to host family get-togethers, especially to out-of-town visitors. She was an avid reader, baker, and crossword puzzle fan, and loved to spend an evening with a good book and a bowl of popcorn. As an empty nester she took on various part-time jobs, including becoming a Mary Kay consultant and working at the Kairos Christian bookstore in Freeman. She also volunteered at the Salem Mennonite Home, leading exercise activities.

Marilyn is survived by daughter Tamara (John) Goede of Spencer, IA; sons Gregg of Gillette, WY, and Frank of Oklahoma City, OK; six grandchildren: Kyle (Jessica) Letcher, Brittany Goede, Case Goede, Katie Graber, Matt Graber, Jaxon Graber; one great-grandchild, Andrew Letcher; four step-great-grandchildren: Natalie, Megan, Kyle and Olivia Lemme; sister-in-law Marie Martinson of Dell Rapids, MN; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by husband Melvin Graber; daughter Lisa Letcher; daughter-in-law Peggy Graber; her parents; brothers Eugene, Valire, and DeWayne Martinson; and infant grandson Ross Goede.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marilyn Graber, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, November 27, 2022

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Monday, November 28, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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