Marlyn Freer


The memorial service celebrating the life of Marlyn Freer will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday May 27, at St. John Lutheran Church in Wadena.

Family and friends may gather at the church on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m until the time of the service.

Marlyn Freer, age 88, of Wadena, MN passed away quietly in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 29, 2023 at St. Benedict’s Senior Community in St. Cloud, MN.

Marlyn Mary Juergens was born to Fred and Frieda (Rach) Juergens on June 2, 1934 in Bartlett Township near Verndale, MN, along with her twin sister Marlys. Growing up, Marlyn and her three sisters helped on their parent’s farm until the family moved to Wadena in 1948. She excelled at school, placing second in the MN State Speech Competition as a junior and graduated from Wadena High School in 1952.

During high school, Marlyn worked at Dr. Campbell’s dental office where she met her future husband who had recently joined the staff at KWAD radio station. Lyle Freer and Marlyn were married on May 30, 1953, at St John Lutheran Church in Wadena.

Lyle and Marlyn started their family in Fergus Falls then moved back to Wadena in 1959. Marlyn was hired as a business clerk at Wesley Hospital, joining other women as the first of their generation to work outside the home. Hospital administration encouraged her to complete a medical records program that ultimately led her to becoming Director of Medical Records. Her first career led to a second career. In 1979 she joined the faculty at Wadena Vocational Technical College to teach a medical secretary program. While working full-time and raising her family she went to college to get her teaching degree. After eighteen years of teaching, she retired in 1997. Many past and present students attended her retirement party.

Throughout her life, Marlyn stayed active in civic affairs, serving on many boards and committees. In local lore, she is best known as the first woman president of the Wadena Quarterbacks Club. Her passion for sports and politics was shared with her husband, yet Marlyn never let go of her love of teaching. She remained active on the Wadena-Deer Creek Community Education Advisory Committee for nearly three decades, while being an ardent supporter of the Voice of Democracy program offered by the local VFW Auxiliary. She used these talents at St. John Lutheran Church, serving in a variety of roles, including teaching youth programs and participating in the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and the Dorcas Guild. Marlyn and Lyle were also members of a couples bridge club for more than four decades.

In her final years, these passions and interests continued as she remained a loyal fan of the Vikings and Twins and was known as a cornerstone of the resident council within St. Benedict’s. She also encouraged and tutored nursing home aides in pursuing US citizenship and was often found playing cards with fellow residents and staff.

Survivors include her daughter, Janet (Wayne Frees) of The Villages, FL; sons: David of Knoxville, TN, Mark (Paula) of Delano, MN, Paul (Pam) of Buffalo, MN, and Jonathan (Margo Schwinghammer) of Royalton, MN; grandchildren: Jesse (Paula) Gleason, Delaney (Kyle) Sanford, and Ethan (Hope Mueller) Freer; along with great grandchildren: Liam Gleason, Brady Gleason, and Oliver Sanford.

Preceded in death by her husband Lyle (2010); parents, Fred and Freida Juergens; sisters, Lavonne Piepkorn, Marlys Besett, and Phyllis Olson; and their spouses Edwin Piepkorn, Dale Besett, and John Olson.

The Freer family wishes to thank the staff of St. Benedict’s Senior Community for the loving care and attention they gave to their mother.

Burial will be in Wadena Cemetery, Wadena, MN.

Arrangements are with the Schuller Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Wadena, MN (

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