After battling Alzheimer's Disease for many years, Marilyn Arlene DeZwarte (née Bacus) was called home to Heaven on Monday, May 23, 2022. She was 88 years old.
Marilyn was born in Knoxville on February 24, 1934, to Charles and Josephine (née Glasgow) Bacus and welcomed home by her older siblings, Armelda (Tillie), Bert, Charles, Buck, Betty, and Bill.
She fondly reminisced on her childhood and the strong bond her and her siblings shared. Marilyn's childhood was healthy and happy (aside from the endless, good-natured pranks played on her by her big brothers).
As is true with most children of the Great Depression, Marilyn learned the importance of money earned with hard work, the value of kindness, and the enjoyment of collecting things. These early life lessons formed her adult work ethic, passions, and hobbies.
She met the love of her life, Kenneth Dean DeZwarte, in Knoxville. They were married on June 22, 1951, with the wedding held at the family farm. Kenneth's brother, Carol DeZwarte, officiated the ceremony. Family photos document their romantic road trip honeymoon to Wichita, Kansas. In 1953, they welcomed Linda Nadine, the first of the three DeZwarte sisters.
From 1952 until 1958, Kenneth's career as a truck driver for the construction industry took the family all over Iowa, including Ute, Correctionville, Dennison, and Sioux City. In Ute, they met two couples—Swede & Nora Hathaway and Sherman & Rachel Naab—with whom they formed lifelong friendships and shared many adventures.
The three returned to Knoxville in 1958 and built their first home on East Cronkite. It was here Marilyn and Kenneth rounded out the family with the birth of Lisa Gaye in 1960 and Lori Michele in 1965. The family then moved to their "forever home" on Terrace Lane in 1968. Marilyn was proud of that home, knowing it had been featured in a Better Homes & Gardens article.
Marilyn worked all her life and enjoyed meeting people through her various careers. Her first job was as a carhop at A&W Restaurant as a teenager. She later went on to work at Grand Theater, Elliott's Studio, and Harrison's. Later, she and the girls opened The Loft Antiques, fulfilling her love of collecting. Her last employment was with East Elementary, where she helped manage the staff and lunches for the school for over 25 years.
Marilyn had an eclectic collection of prized possessions. In addition to her beloved antiques, Marilyn also had a sizable assortment of Beanie Babies, elephants, salt and pepper shakers, and more! She loved to sew and crafted many of the outfits for her daughters as they grew up. Vacationing was a priority, and she saw much of the country with Kenneth. Marilyn also enjoyed NASCAR and sprint car racing. To the surprise of no one, her absolute favorite driver was Austin McCarl.
Every family holiday was held on Terrace Lane, with Marilyn cooking everyone's favorite foods (and desserts). Her homemade chicken and noodles were second to none, not to mention her "from scratch" potato salad!
Marilyn cared for people, whether family, friends, or strangers. Her ability to craft engaging stories was an art form. Her sense of humor was infectious, if not subtle. Marilyn could be counted on to raise spirits, provide love, and offer support. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were her pride and joy, and she never missed an opportunity to show her love to them. Marilyn rarely ever said no and was always willing to drop whatever she was doing if someone was in need. Her strong character has passed down generations and will last forever in testament to how wonderful she was in life.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brothers Charles, Buck, Bert; sisters Armelda (Tillie) and Betty; sons-in-law Barton Oldham and Leland Carter; and grandson Samuel Hake. She is survived by her brother Bill; daughters, Linda Carter, Lisa Oldham (Larry), Lori Hake (Tim); grandchildren Chris Carter (Carrie), Jacy Carter, Briane Carter (Dennis), Lindsey Carter (Jeff), Tony Carter, Nicole Morgan (Mike), Natalie Brady, Alyssa McCarl (Austin), Colton VanBaale, Jaymi Saunders (Chris), Hayli Douglas (Brett), Lexi Crozier, Hannah Pederson, Olivia Hake, and Caleb Hake, as well as 20 (soon to be 22!) great agrandchildren and many (numerous) nieces and nephews .
(… she is also survived by the hundreds of children who passed through the lunchroom doors at East Elementary, all of whom she cherished and loved as their honorary "grandma.")
Visitation for Marilyn will be held on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at Winfield Funeral Home in Knoxville from 3:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Marilyn’s family will be present to greet friends and relatives from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. A funeral service will be held on Friday, May 27, 2022, at 11:00 A.M. at Community of Christ Church in Knoxville. Burial will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville. Following services, a luncheon will be held at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Marilyn’s memory to Suncrest Hospice, Knoxville Racing Charitable Organization, or Knoxville Hospital Foundation.
Winfield Funeral Home in Knoxville is assisting Marilyn’s family with arrangements.