Marylin M. Idler
A Celebration of Life for Marylin Idler will be held at 10:00AM on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at the Peacock Family Chapel with Pastor Paul Floyd of the High Plains Fellowship Church officiating.
Born Sept. 5, 1922, in Las Animas, Marylin Marie Idler was the third of five children born to Mary Josephine Lucas and Clarence LeRoy Nickelson. A centenarian, Marylin died May 3, 2023, at her home of 81 years in Lamar.
Biographical Information and Personal Anecdotes
Marylin grew up close to Lamar after her parents moved from their Las Animas homestead. At the time of her birth, her parents were living on the prairie, so they went to a friend’s home in the nearby town to get help. She experienced a humble upbringing during the Great Depression, working hard on the family farm alongside her siblings.
Marylin was particularly close to her older sister, Rosalee. They were less than two years apart, and they did everything together, often each other's only company as they did farm chores. The children started milking cows at the age of 5, and eventually learned to ride horses and herd cattle. While Rosalee was bossy, Marylin had a gentle demeanor.
Their father was a warm parent, who knew how hard the children worked, so for fun, he’d take them down to the river to play in the water. He also enjoyed playing practical jokes on the children, such as waking them up with loud firecrackers outside their window or serving them the fibrous insides of a gourd instead of shredded wheat for breakfast.
Their mother, Josephine, once had to take over all of the farm duties while Clarence stayed home, recovering from a broken leg and caring for young Marylin.
Summers meant hard work doing chores, so Marylin and the Nickelson children looked forward to school. It was easier to be at school than to work on the farm during the summer. Marylin attended a rural schoolhouse where she was well liked by her peers and teachers. As a child, she was so little that bigger students at the school loved to pamper her, and her dad sometimes called her dinky.
Marylin was a good student and went on to compete at state for Geometry, as she was skilled at memorizing theories and rules. She was well liked by her teacher, who would often ask her to take charge when he had to leave the classroom. She graduated from Lamar Union High School in 1940, attended Colorado State University, and later married Leo Idler.
Marylin and Leo married on May 31, 1942. Leo was 8 years older than Marylin, and they became acquainted through his younger sister, Ellen. He would take them to the ballfields together. Her parents approved of him, as they would invite Leo over for Sunday dinner, and they thought he was a “kind of a catch.” On their wedding day, Marylin wore a navy blue dress with blue and white accessories and carried a bouquet of red roses. Her bridesmaid, Rosalee, also wore navy blue.
Over the next 12 years, they had four children: George, Tom, Kathy, and Jim. As the wife of a farmer, Marylin was a full-time homemaker, helping with farm duties, tending to her gardens, and caring for her family. The couple lived on a farm located on Road HH, also known as Prosperity Lane at the time. Leo provided for the family well, becoming a successful land and cattle farmer, buying up farm and dry land near the Arkansas River.
Marylin was devoted to caring for Leo when he suddenly became a wheelchair user in his 60s, driving him to physical therapy appointments and helping him walk on parallel bars outside their farmhouse. They were married for 63 years until Leo’s death at the age of 90.
During her retirement years, Marylin selflessly raised a second family when her son, Jim, became a single father and needed help raising three children.
She was an affectionate, doting grandmother, who loved to play games like Dominoes, Scrabble, and charades with her grandchildren. She also sewed them blankets, taught them to cross-stitch, and made homemade play dough. On breezy evenings, she would often grab a blanket and take her grandchildren outside to gaze up at the stars.
Marylin was a deeply compassionate person, especially attuned to those who were suffering. She would greet family members in need with her gray-blue eyes, unabiding love, and calming presence. At the supermarket, if she saw a scraggly plant, she would buy it, so she could nurse it back to life.
Her son, Jim, said that when he was a young boy, she would randomly say, “I wouldn’t trade you for a million dollars!” And she meant it. She would translate the love and warmth that she felt for you and share it with you.
Hobbies and Interests
Marylin was passionate about gardening, baking, and spending time outside in nature. She also had a deep love for animals, enjoyed sewing, and was an avid reader.
In her garden, Marylin grew an abundance of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, strawberries, pumpkins, and fruit from her cherry and crabapple trees. She also had a beautiful collection of flowers in her garden beds and in pots on her porch, with a particular fondness for roses. A visit to her home meant being greeted by the smell of lilacs from her lavender-colored lilac bush upon stepping onto her driveway.
Marylin enjoyed pressing flowers, a method of drying flowers in books. She would display her beautiful collections of dried flowers in photo albums. She had a large sewing room where she kept yards of fabric, embroidery and patterns for her sewing projects.
Marylin's deep love for animals inspired her to take in and care for stray cats and dogs that stumbled upon her farm. Through her tender rehabilitation efforts, these once-hardscrabble animals grew to reciprocate her affection, eagerly seeking her gentle touch and basking in the warmth of her loving presence.
Marylin's baking skills were legendary among her family and friends. Her pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and walnuts was a particular favorite. She attributed the cake's unique taste to using fresh pumpkin from her garden. Despite sharing the recipe, no one could quite replicate the taste of her cake.
She also enjoyed making fresh dinner rolls, sticky cinnamon rolls, batches of chocolate chip cookies, and cherry, pumpkin, and pecan pies. Her grandchildren loved her light, fluffy pancakes, peanut butter and marshmallow Rice Krispie treats, and strawberry-banana pudding dessert.
She also loved spending time outside in nature, taking long walks on her farm, and gazing out of her big bay window at the birds, whose presence added an ever-changing dynamic to the view from her window.
Marylin was an avid reader, a passion reflected in her home where shelves full of books adorned almost every room. She enjoyed a diverse range of genres, including biographies, politics and current events, mysteries, and literary and historical fiction. Her extensive collection of books and magazines showcased her intellectual curiosity and her love for immersing herself in various subjects and stories.
Marylin was deeply involved in her community, serving in various roles and participating in initiatives that aimed to improve the lives of those around her.
In the 1970s, she was part of a citizen's group called Health Resources Incorporated that successfully stopped a plan to demolish an old hospital building in Lamar to make room for fast-food chains. Today, the building still stands, housing county office buildings – something Marylin was very proud of.
During the early 1980s, Marylin was one of nine district winners named “State Farm Homemaker” in the Colorado Farm Homemaker's contest, which recognized outstanding farm wives of Colorado. In an interview with the local newspaper, she expressed her love for her farm and her rural community, saying, "I can't understand people who want to retire and move into town. I love this place; I never want to move." She also mentioned her love for the outdoors and her gardens.
In the 1980s, Marylin was selected as a representative to attend the International Exposition of Rural Development in New Delhi, India. Her husband, Leo, decided to join her, paying his own way. Marylin was always grateful for the opportunity to travel and see part of the world with Leo before he lost the ability to walk.
During her life, Marylin also served as president of the board at Lamar Community College and as the vice-chair of the local Democratic Party, further demonstrating her commitment to her community.
Surviving Family Members
Marylin's memory will live on through her loving family, who supported and cherished her throughout her life. She is survived by her children, George, Thomas, Kathleen, and James; her grandchildren, Scott, Amy, Roni, Mary, Megan, Bridget, Leo, and Elizabeth; former daughter-in-law, Nancy; step-grandchildren, Shelly and Gina; numerous great-grandchildren; and her brother, Dan. Marylin was preceded in death by her husband, Leo; her father and mother, Clarence and Josephine; brother, LeRoy; sisters, Rosalee and Georgia, and step-grandchild, Jeffrey. Her loving spirit and the values she instilled in her family will continue to inspire them for generations to come.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Lamar Area Hospice either direct or in care of the Peacock Funeral Home.