Marilyn Louise (Somdahl) Roth
July 18, 1932, to September 21, 2023
Marilyn was the eldest child born to Ruth (Jensen) and Russell Somdahl of Ulen, Minnesota. She spent her early childhood on the Jensen family farm, which was part of Keene Township, a Norwegian farming community. As a child growing up during the Great Depression, Marilyn learned to appreciate and be grateful for what was truly important in life, in the absence of worldly possessions. She helped to raise her three younger siblings; Shirley, Gordon, and Barrett.
Marilyn graduated proudly from Ulen High School in 1950, where she was the star of the high school choir. She had a special place in her heart for children, and after high school attended Moorhead State University to begin the pursuit of a career in education. Her first teaching position was in Glenwood, Minnesota from 1952 to 1955. Shortly thereafter, in 1957, Marilyn and two of her great accomplices travelled to Europe to learn about the countries across the sea. She returned, beckoned by the “Big Sky Country,” and resumed her teaching career in Great Falls, Montana.
Her handsome Air Force knight, Tom, walked into the picture and she knew at first glance that he was “the one.” They were wed on October 31, 1959. In 1961 and 1965, Tom and Marilyn welcomed two daughters into the world; Jennifer and Hillary. After the arrival of their youngest, they elected to relocate to the windier town of Livingston, Montana.
Here, Tom became a partner in the insurance and real estate business and Marilyn completed her graduate studies and returned to the classroom from 1968 to 1991. Years later, former students would recognize Marilyn from across the room. She was a beloved teacher of many, and she retired with a tenure of thirty-three years from the profession she dearly loved. Even after retirement, her love for education continued. Marilyn was an active member of the local P.E.O. Chapter and AAUW, a dedicated supporter of academic scholarship programs. She and Tom attended many school functions and sporting events. They were their granddaughters’ most loyal fans!
Marilyn’s golden years were shared with family and travelling with Tom to the exotic destinations of Egypt, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand. She enjoyed performing with the Pelicanus Singers, entertaining, dancing, and playing bridge with friends. She and Tom belonged to St. Mary’s Catholic Church where Marilyn was a member of the Catholic Daughters. She had a strong sense of community, and instilled her values, ethics, and good heartedness in her children, grandchildren, and the students she taught over the years.
A creative and artistic nature translated into Marilyn’s distinguished style, adding special touches to outfits, and making a house into a home for her family. Looking her best meant feeling her best, and she loved to share that passion with others. Even her pansy pots had style!
Marilyn could slow down and soak up every ray of sunshine, savor every spoonful of ice cream and listen wholeheartedly to every story someone had to tell. She always had a way of bringing out the best in people, and never held back on a compliment. No matter how difficult the situation, you could count on Marilyn to come through gracefully, and with a smile.
Marilyn joins her beloved husband, Tom, and many dear friends and family. She is survived by her daughters, Jennifer (Daniel Jolliff) of Belgrade, Hillary (Bill Taylor) of Livingston, granddaughters, Sophie and Marissa Taylor of Livingston, sister Shirley Haugen of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and brother Barrett (Juli) Somdahl of Fargo, North Dakota. Bye for now, our sweet Marilyn…until we meet again!
A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, October 21, 2023 at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home, 118 N. 3rd St, Livingston, MT 59047.
Memorial contributions may be made payable to PEO Chapter BW, c/o Martha Miller, Treasurer, 158 Pine Creek Road, Livingston, MT 59047 or AAUW, PO Box 2261, Livingston, MT 59047.
Please visit below to leave a condolence or share a memory of Marilyn.