Marilyn Ann Kettler

Marilyn Ann Kettler of Bellevue WA  passed away peacefully in her sleep on September 10, 2017.

photo of Marilyn Ann Kettler

Marilyn Ann Kettler

Marilyn was born in San Angelo, TX in 1940  to Ralph and Edna Kettler.  She grew up in Rowena, TX, where her father managed and later owned the town lumberyard. A self-described tom-boy, when not getting into mischief, she attended Ballinger High School where she was voted prom queen her senior year.  After graduation,  she attended Texas Women’s University for two years, which based on her GPA, must have been non-stop fun.   After losing her financial backing from unsympathetic parents, she went to work for General Telephone in San Angelo as a secretary.  There she met her future husband, Daniel Polasek, with which she had two sons, Mark and Robert.  A company transfer took them to League City, TX, where she lived for approximately ten years as a homemaker, student at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, president of the local PTA, and later librarian at the newly opened public library.

Though a devoted wife, the marriage did not last and she became a single parent long before it became commonplace.  Despite the hardships, she was a wonderful mother and provider for her sons.  Her passions, adventurous spirit,  and need to support her family led her to the island community of Clear Lake Shores, Texas.   There she remarried and ventured  into the occupations of animal control officer and police officer before finding her calling in nursing.  She became an LVN after attending Santa Anna College in 1979, graduated with an ASN from Angelo State University in 1983, and, at the age of 55, she achieved a lifelong dream of receiving her BSN in 1995.  Through her career as a nurse, she worked in labor and delivery, ICU, psychiatric and chemical dependency, and home healthcare.

Marilyn lived her life by following her heart and acting on her desire to help others.  Never one to be constrained by traditional conventions, she spent time in an Oregon spiritual intentional community living in a tent through a cold winter.  After returning to mainstream society, she proudly joined the US Army and was commissioned  a 1st Lt. in the US Army Reserve Nurse Corps.  She proudly served her country and the brave soldiers of the US Army for ten years before having to retire due to an injury.  She was also forced to retire from nursing due to the same injury, and returned to her love of books by working at Barnes and Noble where she delighted in working in the children’s section and sharing her love of reading.

Her favorite places that she lived while working , in no particular order, were Clear Lake Shores, TX, Galveston TX, San Diego CA, Long Beach CA, Palm Springs CA.  In 2000 she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she loved the mild climate, abundant natural beauty, and liberal ethos.  She was passionate about preservation of our natural world, indigenous cultures,  empowering women, and social justice.  She eagerly supported groups advocating all of those, and would feistily defend her beliefs at any time.

She is fondly remembered by her friends and family for her generosity, quirky sense of humor, cheerfulness, love of music, love of nature, and adventurous spirit.  Unfortunately, she was stricken by dementia before age 60 and courageously battled the terrible disease for almost 20 years.  Even as the disease progressed, she stubbornly maintained hope, and, in her own words, “enjoyed walking the dog, hiking, flying with a friend, bird watching (esp. Eagles), WA state ferry rides, reading (mostly mysteries), and corresponding with friends”.  Her motto was “I will survive”, and her deepest wish was for world peace—and that people would learn to respect each other for who they are, and not hate them for their differences.

The last four years of her life were spent at Harmony Care Adult Family Home in Bellevue WA.  In that peaceful home-like setting,  she received the most patient, respectful, loving care imaginable.  Special thanks go out to the owner, Nancy Eze, and all of the caregivers who loved her.

She is survived by sons Mark(Nancy) and Robert(Joni), brother David(Joy), grandchildren Thomas and Michael, and longtime loyal friends Jim and April.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.


6 Responses to “Marilyn Ann Kettler”

  • Teresa Blakeslee-Edwards says:

    Marilyn was an amazing woman who conquered difficult situations with grace and a smile. I hope that the children she read to, took with them her love for reading. I also hope that when people reflect on their own lives that they may someday understand that when their paths crossed with hers for whatever reason, that they were truly blessed by knowing her. Please accept our sincere condolences. Teresa and Gerald

  • Nancy Eze says:

    Farewell dear Marilyn, we will miss your warm smiles and loving hands. You are a true caregiver at heart. I thank you for choosing Harmony care to be your home for the past four and a half years.
    Surely, times do pass by and we are left with the memories of the times we shared. On behalf of our Harmony care family we say farewell. Be happy on your journey onwards and upwards. May the Good Lord guide your steps and lead you into the realms of beauty, peace and light. We love you Marilyn. Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to serve you.

  • Lois A. Wagner says:

    Marilyn was one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. I met her in my twenties and she immediately became a very important person in my life. We had some great times–full of laughter, and I loved our conversations. She remained a very dear friend even when times were tough. I could always count on her for support and guidance. When I had my daughter, she helped me in countless ways as I tried to navigate my role as a new mother. Her sense of humor lifted me, her wise advice gave me direction, her ideals inspired me and her love got me through some dark times. She accomplished so much in her life and always made time to help others. Her love was immense. Marilyn was truly a good and amazing person. She will be missed.

    My sincerest condolences to her family.

  • Paula Gibson says:

    I read Marilyn’s narrative with sadness but also warmth, for she was a wonderful woman and was loved by so many. Yes, aptly worded – Marilyn Ann Kettler was undaunted and passionate! I especially remember her constant friendliness.

    My deepest sympathy to all of Marilyn’s family and dear friends at this time of loss. My heartfelt respect to Rob, Joni, and the Harmony Home staff – you faithfully filled her everyday life with kindness and compassion. May you be forever blessed.

    With loving thoughts,


    ….trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly….1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG

  • April Barrio says:

    Marilyn my long time soul sister. I met her in 1986 @ hosp just as she was going on a spiritual quest to Oregon I was so impressed that a woman would throw caution to the wind. Staff made comments for which I told them off as it took guts whether it worked out or not-I wrote her while she was there. I remember her as kind, positive loving woman. I would get mad at her at times telling her Marilyn don’t you see those pp are terrible. Telling her she was too nice she would say now April I am a southern girl & we just don’t confront pp like that I would get exacerbated with her kindness & nice ways that will be the end of you. She was never judgemental or mean. A great & wonderful nurse. We need more people like her in the world. I have missed her My entire family all said oh she was so nice. I am thankful that Rob has made her final time in a nice place blessings to him. Love April

  • Aubrey says:

    Hey Marilyn,

    I have been thinking about you a lot lately and I miss the genuine kindness and love you always showed me when growing up. You alerted such a sweet wonderful woman and I hope that someday I get to see you smiling again somewhere.

    With love,

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