Marilyn Ardis Conklin, 87, of Pepin, WI, formerly of Red Wing, MN—devoted mother and grandmother, phenomenal homemaker, and quick-witted lover of life—passed away peacefully Thursday, November 11, 2021, at home, surrounded by her family. She was born on April 16, 1934, in Faribault, MN, to William and Loretta (St. Martin) Luckow. After graduating in 1952, from Bethlehem Academy in Faribault, she attended the Minnesota School of Business. She worked as a secretary for a time at Gamble-Skogmo in Minneapolis. On December 18, 1954, she married the love of her life, Roland “Rolly” Conklin. They were blessed with five children: Scott, Carrie, Holly, Jeff, and Anne.
During Rolly’s career as a Navy submariner, the growing family lived near naval bases up and down the East Coast, from Key West, Florida, to Gales Ferry, Connecticut. Marilyn served her country parenting on her own while Rolly served at sea. In 1973, the Conklins moved to Red Wing, where they raised their family and restored their Victorian home. In 2013 they moved to their new home on Lake Pepin where they enjoyed watching birds, hosting family gatherings, completing crossword puzzles over coffee together and many colorful sunsets before Rolly died in January 2021.
Marilyn volunteered with Meals on Wheels and the Red Wing Area Food Shelf. A DIYer before it was trendy, she belonged to the Evening Star Quilters and loved to garden, sew, do puzzles, and beat everyone to the punch while watching Wheel of Fortune. If it involved reupholstering, seamstressing, wallpapering, or refinishing, Marilyn was on it. For three decades she and Rolly belonged to a gourmet club in which the food was hit-or-miss but the friendships and laughter were always five-star. Some of her best memories were of traveling with Rolly after he retired. Most of all she enjoyed being with her family, especially her grandkids.
Marilyn is survived by four children, Scott (Renee) Conklin of Prior Lake, Carrie (Jim) Becker of Red Wing, Jeff (Cheryl) Conklin of Hastings and Anne Conklin (Dan McGrath) of Red Wing; son-in-law Craig Lunde, of Maiden Rock; 14 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; one sister, Marlys Kattenberg, of California; two brothers, Ronald and Gerry Luckow, both of Faribault; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her daughter Holly (Lunde); daughter-in-law Linda Conklin and a great-grandson, Silas Sheldon; four brothers, Billy, Spencer, Neil, and Pete Luckow, and two sisters, Jeanette Fritz and Audrey Schmidtke.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at the Church of St. Joseph in Red Wing, with Father Brandon Theisen presiding. Marilyn died on Veterans Day, and she will be buried at a later date alongside Rolly at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, in Minneapolis. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, November 22, at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel, and at the church for one hour prior to the service. Masking and social distancing are respectfully requested. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.
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