Marilyn Anne LaBrant Karlsen was born Nov. 13, 1933, in Belden, N.D. She passed away quietly at home Nov. 20, 2020. Marilyn had just turned 87. Her husband of 63 years, Marvin Karlsen, passed away in 2019, but she had continued to live at their home in Hockinson, Wash., caring for her flowerbeds and yard, accompanied by her beloved cat, Sophie.
Marilyn was the eighth of nine children born to Arthur LaBrant and his second wife, Anna, joining another six siblings from Arthur’s first marriage. Her childhood was spent on the family farm in Belden, where she attended school in the local one-room schoolhouse during the seven months outside of North Dakota’s harsh winter.
In the summer of 1949, a revival swept through the region, and Marilyn was affirmed that her sins were forgiven through Christ’s perfect sacrifice. That launched her into an active Christianity that carried her through the rest of her life.
She graduated from Stanley High School in 1951, but kept in touch with many of her classmates. In 1952, Marilyn followed some of her siblings and moved “out West”. She ultimately settled in Portland in 1953, where she worked at the advertising company Taylor & Co., until marrying Marvin in 1955. The newlyweds soon bought their farm in the Hockinson countryside and became active members of the local Apostolic Lutheran Church. Her love of religious music inspired her to collate several different song books over the years, and she even compiled the histories of most of the songs in her church’s hymnal into a self-published book. Besides hymnology, she also had a keen interest in history and of both her own and Marvin’s heritage, pursuing genealogy, and writing several books of memoires.
Marilyn was preceded in death by husband, Marvin; and son, Neal.
She will be deeply missed by her family. Marilyn is survived by Neal’s wife, Lynn of Battle Ground, Wash.; and the eight remaining children, Laura (Van) Matson of Battle Ground, Wash.; Gail (Allan) Spreadborough of Battle Ground, Wash.; Amy Helmes of Vancouver, Wash.; Corrie (Mary Ann) of Livermore, Calif.; Dwight of Vancouver, Wash.; Roger (Rachel) of Battle Ground, Wash.; Curtis of Washougal, Wash., and Wade (Anna) of Siuntio, Finland. She also leaves 40 grandchildren; 46 great-grandchildren; and her siblings, Dorothy Kannianen of Belden, N.D., Esther Waldrip of Steilacoom, Wash., and Darold (Grace) LaBrant of Minneapolis, Minn.; numerous nieces and nephews; and hundreds of people who knew and loved her.
Marilyn was laid to rest Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, in a private funeral service held at the Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church. She was buried beside her beloved Marvin in the Finn Hill Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were by Layne’s Funeral Home of Battle Ground, Wash.