Marilyn Wible Rushmer Christensen McGee Austin was born in St Louis, MO on June 22, 1923 to James Frank Wible and Gretchen Delong Wible. She was the 2nd of three children. She had an older sister, Dorothy Jane, and a younger sister, Helen Virginia. The girls were all born within 3 years, so it was a very busy time for the Wible family. Marilyn grew up in Helper, Utah, attending school at Carbon High School until graduation in 1940-41. She then moved to Salt Lake City and remained there throughout her life. Marilyn was raised as a Christian Scientist, but later converted to Catholicism in 1972 and joined St. Ambrose parish, which she has always kept as her home parish. Marilyn was active in the Salt Lake City Eastern Star, Mizpah chapter, organization for many years.
Marilyn married Hessel Rushmer, on May 29, 1943 and she began her career as the optician in his optometric practice. She was very active in the optical profession for many years and was instrumental in the creation of a professional association for the Utah opticians. Marilyn was the first credentialed optician in Utah. During her professional life she worked for Dr. Rushmer until his death, then for Dr. Bruce Parsons, Dr. Sam Robinson, Dr. Robert Head and Dr. Spencer Mortenson in subsequent years. Marilyn had one child, Marsha, with Dr. Rushmer. Dr. Rushmer died on October 31, 1961.
Marilyn married Grant Christensen on October 20, 1964. Together they traveled extensively and enjoyed boating at Lake Powell, traveling the country in Grant’s small airplane and made many trips throughout the US. Grant and his family provided opportunities for numerous small and large gatherings. Marilyn quickly became a significant part of the lives of Grant’s 3 children, Karen (Dick) Paul, Marty (Ray) Malheiro and Jori (Jim) Oswald. Marilyn and Grant unfortunately divorced in 1969.
Marilyn served as one of the Patient Advocates at Holy Cross Hospital for several years in the early 1990s. She enjoyed visiting with the patients and staff members and has always held a special place in her heart for Father David VanMassenhove, the priest at Holy Cross during that time. She was always very quick to say – my family works here too, my daughter Marsha is a registered nurse; my granddaughter Kari is a unit clerk and my soon to be grandson in law, Anthony, is a pharmacist. They were amazing years and we have always valued that time. I am quite sure if her grandson, Cory, had been old enough she would have found him a job there also.
Marilyn then married Peter McGee, August 14, 1970. Peter (Mick) was a retired military master Sargent, so they were able to travel frequently using military benefits. Their most notable vacation was to Asia, China, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea as well as other places in the Far East and Hawaii. Mick had no children and Marilyn’s family became his own. They were married for 27 years, much of which was spent with numerous military friends and family. Mick died on September 28, 1997.
Marilyn then married one of her longtime friends, Ben Austin, on April 29, 2000. She and Ben had known each other for many years while Ben was married to Marilyn’s dearest and best friend, Shirley. Shirley died and after a couple of years Marilyn and Ben began to enjoy each other’s company. They traveled, played golf, and spent a significant amount of time with their families. Sadly, Ben died just 3 months after they were married, in July 2000. Ben’s two children, Douglas (Julie) Austin and Shanna (Blaine) Hendrickson and Ben’s grandchildren have been an active part of Marilyn’s life throughout the past many years.
Marilyn loved to cruise and enjoyed her many trips to Alaska (twice), Mexico, The Panama Canal, Canada, the Caribbean (several times) in addition to the many driving vacations she took, which included the Coast of California and the New England coast. One of her most favorite vacations was taken with a group of friends to visit all the Big 5 Utah parks. Her one big regret was that she never made it to see Mt. Rushmore.
Marilyn was a very active member of St. Ambrose parish after having been baptized into the Catholic church in 1970. She was involved in both the 49ers and the alter society for many years.
Marilyn has had many dear friends over the years who have been as close as any family member could be. Jim and Becky Leonelli and many of the residents of Homestead village have been incredibly helpful to Marilyn over the past 15+ years. She has enjoyed the best of what it means to be “neighbors” as she hosted gatherings in her garage and attended gatherings at the pool. Marilyn’s family is indeed grateful for the special relationships that grew out of the Land Rush home and have therefore adopted Jim and Becky as an integral part of the family. Elaine Owens (deceased), Jody and Don Rogers, Maureen and Joe Gallegos and others have been incredibly supportive of Marilyn and her daughter Marsha. There is no way to ever repay the kindness and love each of you have shown. We are indeed indebted to all of you who loved Marilyn as much as her family did.
Marilyn joked many times over her life about the fact that she was “older than sliced bread” and after intense fact finding by her Great Granddaughter, Alexi, indeed she was. Sliced bread became available in July 1928. So, there you have it!
Marilyn is survived by her daughter, Marsha, and her grandchildren, Kari (Anthony) Zoolakis and Cory (Gretchen) Cameron. She is also survived by her Great Granddaughters, Alexi (18), Sia (14) and Emmy Lou (4). She will be met in heaven by her Great Granddaughter, Melina who died in 2005. She is also survived by a wonderful and very supportive blended family, with Karen (Dick) Paul, Marty (Ray) Malheiro, Jori (Jim) Oswald, Doug (Julie) Austin and Shanna (Blaine) Hendrickson and many Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren.
Marsha and the family are incredibly thankful for the support we have received from the employees of the Olympus Ranch Senior Living Facility. The staff including Shelly, Jana, Debbie, Mona, David and others have made this chapter of Marilyn’s life very enjoyable. We also want to acknowledge and thank the many incredible care givers from A Plus Hospice who have encouraged, supported, laughed with, and loved Marilyn. Our special thanks to Maile, RN and the other professionals who covered the various tasks. There is no possible way to ever thank Jo Bolton, C-NA, who showered Marilyn and her family with more love than our hearts could hold. Jo, there is a special place in heaven for you and I know when your time comes in many years, Marilyn will be waiting at the door for you and singing your favorite song – the Gambler. Homewell care givers, thank you for all your support, your willingness to work with difficult situations and too many ups and downs to manage. We value your friendship, your commitment, your kindness, and your support throughout these past couple of years. Fola Mataao and Sasa Panuelo, your kindness will never be forgotten, and our family is incredibly grateful for the love, peace, and comfort you gave to “mother” as she transitioned to the end. A simple thank you is not nearly enough to show our gratitude.
A celebration of Marilyn’s life will be Thursday, January 28, 2021 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. Guests are asked to call 801-474-9119 to make a reservation between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday thru Saturday to help ensure compliance with current social distancing guidelines. Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Friday, January 29, 2021 at Starks Funeral Parlor. For those who are unable to attend, Mass will be live streamed.
Please return to this page where a "Watch Now" button will appear on the left side moments before the service begins.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Marilyn’s honor to the following organizations, the St. Ambrose 49er group, the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) or to Best Friends animal sanctuary.