Marlene Esther Fricke King Heimlich, age 85, passed peacefully at home on June 4, 2021, surrounded by family.
Marlene was born on January 20, 1936, the third of four daughters born to Paul and Adah (Click) Fricke, in Marion, Ohio. The family moved to Cardington, where she attended school all twelve years and was an active member of the class of 1954. She served as class treasurer through her high school years, voted in as a freshman, as a sophomore, and as a junior--by senior year, the class didn't bother to vote. She was active in other areas in school as well, singing alto in the choir and glee club and playing percussion in the band.
For much of her high school career, Marlene also sang in a trio, the Melodettes, formed with classmates Betty Bowman McMurrin and Emily Mosher Pfeiffer and accompanied by Marlene's sister Evelyn Long. Their 42 performances over three years included appearances on TV, on the radio, at the state fair and several other fairs.
She was the first student in Cardington to play tympani when the Band Boosters presented the band with its first tympani in the fall of Marlene's senior year. The band director, Mr. Dowler, taught her to play, building on her experience playing snare drums, cymbals, and bass drum. When she went to Capital University after high school, she was again asked to play tympani--she was the only one in the Capital community with any tympani experience! After she left the band, the university had to hire a professional to fill the role.
Marlene started her working career at Stone's Drugstore in Cardington at age 14, with permission from her parents. She worked there for two years, then moved to Citizens Bank, where she worked until she went to college in Columbus. There she worked at another bank until she moved to Oklahoma, where she worked in a third bank. Later, living in Mt. Gilead, she worked for her aunt, Hilda Riggs, as Morrow County Deputy Recorder, for about a year before she became a full-time household manager and mother. Many years later, she finished out her work career with 20 years as the church secretary for St. John Lutheran Church (Windfall).
She was a life-long Lutheran and joined Lutheran churches wherever she lived. She was baptized at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Marion and confirmed there by the Rev. Martin Hollensen. Her last membership was at St. John Lutheran Church (Windfall), Cardington, where her great grandfather Samuel Hunziker was one of its early pastors. Whether she was a choir member, Sunday School teacher, or secretary, she actively participated in each church community.
Marlene married her high school sweetheart, Ralph King, who, as president of their senior class, worked closely with Marlene as treasurer. They wed on April 7, 1956, in the Tinker Air Force base chapel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where Ralph was stationed. After the Air Force, they moved back to Ohio, where Ralph worked for two years at the Marion Engineer Depot, ten years as an Ohio State Highway Patrolman, and then sixteen years doing easement work for Floyd Browne Associates, until his death in 1985.
In 1989, Marlene married Kenneth (Bucko) Heimlich, also a Cardington graduate and member of St. John Lutheran Church (Windfall). They realized one of Kenny's dreams when they built a home in the Beckel woods, outside of Cardington. They turned their kitchen into a strawberry kitchen, which was featured in the May 2000 issue of Country Woman. Marlene and Bucko celebrated 31 years of marriage on August 27, 2020.
Besides Kenny, she leaves three children--Debbie Yoho, Jennie (Doug) Heacock, and Mike (Molly) King, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, as well as four stepchildren-- Lynn (Becky) Heimlich, Connie (Tom) Tennant, Ronda Heimlich, LeeAnn (Joe) Teynor, good friend Lynn Tuggle, and stepson-in-law Jeff Dummitt, along with nine grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
Marlene and Kenny delighted in remembering each and every birthday of their descendants, who along with their families, number 72. They were happiest when they were hosting family gatherings celebrating birthdays and holidays.
Marlene also leaves two sisters, Evelyn Long and Joanne Mathews, along with a niece and four nephews and all their families, as well as numerous other relatives. Her youngest sister, Norita Mories, preceded her in death, as did all her brothers-in-law and a nephew. Also preceding her in death were a stepdaughter Judi Dummitt and a step grandson, Sammy Johnson.
Calling hours will be Sunday, June 6, from 2:00 PM to 5:00PM at Gompf Funeral Home, Cardington, Ohio. The funeral service will be 11:00 am Monday, June 7, at St. John Lutheran Church (Windfall), Cardington, Ohio.
Donations may be made in her memory to St. John Lutheran Church (Windfall), 5070 Newmans Cardington Rd. E., Cardington, OH 43315, or the Cardington Alumni Scholarship Fund, ℅ Evelyn Long, 312 S. Marion St., Cardington, OH 43315.
Those wishing to share a memory of Marlene or to express a condolence to her family may do so by visiting www.gompffh.com.
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