MARION ABBOTT GUNDERSON

Rolfe    Marion Abbott Gunderson, age 85, died of natural causes on Nov. 30, 2004, at the Rolfe Care Center.

 

Marion Loomis Abbott, daughter of James Thompson Abbott and Helen Margaret (Loomis) Abbott, was born on Sept. 27, 1919, in Ogden, Utah.  She graduated from Ogden High School in 1937 and received a B.S. in Applied Art from Iowa State College in 1941.

 

On July 23, 1941, Marion Abbott and Deane Charles Gunderson were married in Ogden.  They resided in Waterloo, Iowa, for nearly four years while Deane worked for the John Deere Tractor Company.  In 1945, they moved to the farm southwest of Rolfe where they continued to live for six decades.

 

For many years Marion painted watercolors and exhibited in galleries across the state.  In 1963, Marion accepted a position as assistant librarian at the Rolfe Public Library and later became head librarian.  She worked at the library until her retirement in 1998.  Marion taught Vacation Bible School at the Rolfe Presbyterian Church, was a Cub Scout den mother, 4-H leader and kindergarten volunteer.  She spearheaded several community projects including a flea market to raise money to build the Rolfe swimming pool, an oral history project consisting of interviews of 100 Rolfe citizens, and microfilming and indexing The Rolfe Arrow.  She provided the impetus for the new Rolfe library/community center/city hall building.

 

Marion was an avid reader, a Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League, and an ardent genealogist.  In 2000, The Iowa Genealogical Society honored Marion for her volunteer work.  She was a member of the Shared Ministry of Rolfe, Sorosis, and Chapter FR, P.E.O.  She served on the State Extension Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of the Iowa State University Alumni Association.  In 1980, Iowa State University awarded Alumni Recognition Medals to Marion and Deane.

 

Marion was preceded in death by her parents and an infant son, Christian Abbott Gunderson.  She is survived by her husband Deane; son Charles Gunderson and wife Gloria of Rolfe; daughters Clara Hoover and husband Harold (Omaha, Nebraska), Helen Gunderson (Gilbert, Iowa), Martha Carlson and husband Michael (Largo, Florida), Margaret Moore and husband Jeffrey (Canton, Michigan), and Louise Shimon and husband William (Perry, Iowa).

 

Marion is also survived by seven grandchildren: Christina Wehmeyer, Timothy Gunderson, Kevin Carlson, Joshua Moore, Jonathan Moore, Abigail Johnstone and Kathryn Shimon; and a cousin Kathryn Dye.

 

Through her paintings, community efforts and example as woman, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, the spirit of Marion the Librarian is very much alive.

 

Her memorial service is at the Shared Ministry of Rolfe on December 4 at 11:00 a.m.

 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to the Rolfe Public Library.

Earlier this year, Marion's daughter, Helen Gunderson, created a calendar for 2005 of Marion's watercolor paintings. Images and a biography about Marion from the calendar are posted on Helen's business web site. Images from the 2004 calendar of Marion's paintings are also on the web site. Marion also wrote an essay a few years ago for the RHS web site.