Marjorie Engel, 83, of Ethan, SD, died Sunday, January 3, 2021 at Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls. Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Saturday, January 9, 2021 at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Burial will be at Graceland Cemetery in Howard, SD. A visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral service. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Marjorie Belle Olmsted Engel was born on January 23, 1937 in Huron SD. She was living at the Good Samaritan Village in Sioux Falls when she passed away on January 3, 2021. Marjorie is survived by her children: Valerie Lentz of Sioux Falls SD, Brett Engel of Huron SD and Rachel and Greg Steele of Plankinton SD. Marjorie has 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren: Katrina (Lentz) and Kevin Kruse, Zeke, Eli and Wesley; Joshua Lentz; Matt and Kayla Lentz, Tyler Struss, Blaine and Gabriel Lentz—all from Sioux Falls, SD. Cara (Steele) and Corey Carber, Tasia Westover, Amelie, Annadale and Oveline from Garretson SD. Caleb Steele from Plankinton SD.
Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents, Wayne and Minnie (Michel) Olmsted, siblings Donna Jean, Alan, Myron and husband John.
Marjorie’s faith was central in her life. She was baptized as a teenager and attended Christian Churches in Spencer and Huron. When John finally got the courage to ask her for a date she told him that she attended Bible study on Wed nights and would he like to come with her. John was also baptized and he and Marjorie were faithful and active members of the Huron Christian Church and Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mitchell. If you were looking for Marj you would find her in a classroom teaching kids or adults or in the kitchen organizing and directing activities for potlucks, weddings or funerals. Marjorie was never a pew sitter.
Marjorie was a lifelong learner and was laser focused when it came to education. Marjorie graduated from Howard High School in 1955. She attended Nebraska Christian College and graduated with a Bachelor of Sacred Literature in 1958. She then moved back to Huron and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Huron College in 1959. She then attended and was also a professor at Dakota Bible College graduating with her Bachelor of Theology in 1962. After her kids were school age she returned to college and graduated from SDSU in 1982 with a Master of Education. Marjorie taught third/fourth and fifth/sixth grade combo classrooms in Alpena SD for over 20 years. You can still run across Alpena alums who remember “Mrs. Engel” fondly from their grade school days.
Marjorie was a wonderful wife and mother. She was also an exceptional homemaker. Marj sewed clothes for all family members. Ask about the “love pokes” you were apt to get if she forgot to get all the pins removed before she gave it to you to wear! Marj was a cook and baker. Homemade bread, pies and cookies were always available for snacking—though her caramel rolls were truly the best! Marj always had a very large garden and she canned everything she could to be ready for the coming year. If it didn’t move—Marj canned it! Those home cooked meals are missed by all of her family.
Marj not only cooked at home but she also cooked for many years at Siouxland Christian Camp. It might have been camp but there were still homemade rolls for breakfast and fresh baked buns for meals. There are at least 2 generations of kids that remember their camp years with Mrs. Engel in the kitchen.
Marj always had a heart for adventure. “Have car—will travel” could have been her motto. She took Grandma Olmsted on yearly trips to Oklahoma to visit Aunt Shirley and the family. She also took Grandma Olmsted and Rachel and drove to Alaska in 1980. It took 7 days to get there as there was gravel road for 800 miles through Canada. Marj and Valerie also flew out to California and drove up and down the coast for a week. John had no desire to travel but told them not to call him if they got killed out there!
Marjorie was family historian and story teller. She had an interest in genealogy and knew all the connections that made up the extended families. Marjorie kept history alive by telling stories of cousins, uncles and grands. Family was not just old pictures but interesting characters with stories of how they fit in the family tree.
Above all, Marjorie had a servant heart. There was many times that there were relatives—close or sometimes shirt tail cousins—staying at her house after surgeries or illnesses. There were also grandmas and great grandmas that stayed for periods of time. She never sat still when she came to visit. It wasn’t uncommon to find that Marjorie had cleaned your oven or washed your walls while she was in between activities. It was said that if Marjorie wasn’t moving then she was asleep!
Over the last five years, the effect of Alzheimer’s disease have been more and more apparent. Marjorie lost many of the wonderful abilities that made her who she was. She also lost the awareness of who people were and how they belonged in her life. In the last 18 months there have been 2 things that Marjorie never lost—she was always looking for John and waiting for him to take her home. We rejoice that the day has come—she is with John and is home at last! Praise God for the hope that we have through Jesus Christ our Lord!