Marilyn was born May 27th, 1934 in Marshalltown, IA to Leo and Florence (Thiel) Piper, surprising her parents by arriving shortly after her twin brother. She died January 27, 2018 at her home in Rochester, surrounded by her family, after battling cancer since October. A Celebration of Life will be held at Zumbro Lutheran Church on Friday February 2, 2018 at 11:00 AM. Visitation will be Thursday February 1, 2018 from 6-8 PM at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service on Friday at the church.
Marilyn graduated from Marshalltown High School in in 1952 and then attended St. Mary's School of Nursing in Rochester, graduating in 1955. She worked as an OB nurse and nursing instructor at St. Marys Hospital, and was married to Richard "Dick" Fryer in July of 1957 in Marshalltown. After starting their family, Marilyn stopped working at St. Marys and focused her time and attention on their 3 children, including their youngest who was born with special needs. In 1976, Marilyn returned to the work force, taking the position of Health Services Coordinator (RN) for Bear Creek Services and worked in this capacity until her retirement in 1992. Marilyn, along with her husband Dick, were involved with Bear Creek Services for the entire 40 plus years of its existence, having worked with a group of parents who started the Olmsted ARC Homes (Bear Creek Services) for adults with Developmental Disabilities. Marilyn and Dick both served on the Bear Creek Board of Directors, with Marilyn attending the last board meeting of her term of office in December of 2017. In 2015, Dick and Marilyn were honored by the City of Rochester with the "Mayor's Medal of Honor". This award was given to recognize their tireless advocacy for people who have special needs in our community.
In 2016, Dick and Marilyn were presented with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by Bear Creek Services for their four decades of volunteerism and advocacy for that organization.
After retirement, Marilyn and Dick also spent many years enjoying their lake home in Stone Lake WI on Whitefish Lake, where they developed many treasured friendships.
Marilyn is survived by her two children Rebecca (Ron) Nystuen of Lakeville, and Chris (Kelly) Fryer of Plymouth and six grandchildren Paul, Leah (Nick Elstad), and Katherine Nystuen, Caitlin, Dan, and Sam Fryer, as well as her twin brother Mahlon (Dixie) Piper of Fairfax Station, VA. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Dick, infant twin sons, son Jonathan in October of 2017, and her sister Marian Paxhia.
Marilyn loved life and lived it to its fullest. She was hard-working, had a quick wit, and always 'told it like it was'. For these things and many others, she will be missed by many.
Memorials suggested include Bear Creek Services, PossAbilities, SEMN Arc, and Zumbro Lutheran Church.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home 5421 Royal Place NW Rochester, MN 55901
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Marilyn was such a wonderful lady and even better neighbor. My family and I will miss seeing her and visiting with her. She always loved to see our little boy. She will be missed, prayers to her family.
Sincerely, Alina, Jeremy and Joseph Peterson
We are sorry to hear of your loss. Marilynn was always nice to talk to and visit with. Never had to guess what she was thinking. Haha! We had many conversations while outside. My mom Debbie lives across the street. She had such great accomplishments in her lifetime! She will be missed. Sending our condolences,
Stacy Jensen and family
I always considered my cousin Marilyn (and Dick too) my buddies. So loving, caring and really engaged in all aspects of their kids and grand kids lives, so proud of all their accomplishments. But the great thing was, they always wanted to know about what I was up to, how my kids were doing and everything about what was going on with my family....All truly sincere! It's been a super challenging year for the Fryers and our hearts go out to all of you. Much love Becky and Chris! Our loving thoughts are with you all! The Mark Lehman Family
Marilyn and Dick were terrific parents and strong advocates for not only Jon but, the special needs population in general. Marilyn had a "velvet hammer" way about her when advocating for her son or other students.
She and Dick were a great pair, working together as advocates. She will be missed.
Parents like her and Dick are a rare breed. They made their point without castigating or belittling staff..working as a "team" for Jon and others.
May she, Dick and Jon enjoy the rewards of eternal life..they've earned it.
Marilyn, your work on earth was amazing. You were an inspiration to many and you will be remembered as a great and fierce fighter for the many developmentally disabled people who are so often forgotten. May you and Dick rest in peace together now.
Rest In Peace, Marilyn. I consider myself fortunate to have had such a close friendship with you. You will be missed. My condolences go out to the entire Fryer family. ---- Brian
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