Marilyn Bess Lemke

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Marilyn Bess Lemke Obituary
Marilyn Bess Lemke, 70, died on October 27, 2013, in her home in Oreland, PA. She died gently and peacefully following more than two years creatively managing a re-occurrence of breast cancer. The recent weeks leading up to this were filled with a lot of love, hilarity, music, and at times heart wrenching tears. During this time, she often said how lucky and blessed she was to have so much support, that she was at peace, and that she had had a really good life. Marilyn was born on February 4, 1943 in Berwyn, IL, daughter of Raymond Herbert Lemke and Gwendolyn Grace Griffin Lemke. She grew up in Joliet, IL, and was a graduate of the 1961 class of Joliet Township High School. She Graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL, in 1965 with a degree in Education and later obtained a Masters degree. Following graduation, she married Ben Levin of Joliet, IL. That fall she became harpist for the Oklahoma City Orchestra. Her son and daughter were born in June, 1966 in Washington, DC, where the family was currently living. Marilyn and her family finally settled in Oreland, PA, in 1976. Marilyn taught for about 30 years at Wyncote elementary school, Wyncote, PA, before retiring in 1999. Following retirement, her life-long love affair with the harp took on a life of it's own. She joined the Philadelphia Harp Society, became a Bedside Harp Therapist, gave harp lessons, and started composing music for the harp. She was often found as a volunteer playing in hospitals in the area much to the delight of hospital-bound patients. She and her loving companion for the past 27 years, Jerry Lacey, loved to travel, heading several times to Ireland and going to Rome for the canonization of St. Gianna, as well as many winter trips to Florida and the family cabin in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. She also regularly got together at various places around the country with her close high school friends known as the "Woofies". Marilyn gathered her friends closely. Once she made a friend, it was for life. And it was real, and it was personal-just ask her oldest best friend Karen Chaney Fletcher from Grade school; ask her newest best friend Nancy Ostroff, from Hospice nursing. She had a zest for life and she shared it with anyone with whom she came in contact. She is survived by her long-time, dearest friend and companion Jerry Lacey of Warminster, PA, her son Michael Raymond Levin, Jenkintown, PA, her daughter, Amy Elizabeth Levin, Boston, MA, her sister and brother-in-law, Barbara (Lemke) and James Griffith, Madison, WI, Jerry's daughters Erin Lacey Benninghoff, Quakertown, PA and Heather Lacey, New Hope, PA and son Brian Lacey, Warminster, PA. She is also survived by seven nieces and nephews: John Hurschik Jr., Elkhorn WI, Marie Hurschik Dillard, Newnan, GA, Gigi Hurschik Burbatt, Poynette, WI, Connie Hurschik Dewitt, Newberry, MI, Patricia Griffith Briggs (Tim),Lisle, IL, Carolyn Griffith (John Chaval), Canmore, Alberta, and Julia Griffith Schulenberg (Alan), Mt. Horeb, WI; cousins on both the Lemke and the Griffin sides of her family as well as many great-nieces and great-nephews and her former husband, Ben Levin, Denton, TX. She was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond Herbert Lemke and Gwendolyn Grace Griffin Lemke Cleale; her step-father Ralph Morton Cleale; and a sister, Margaret Rae Lemke Hurschik. "Marilyn is above us, she is beside us, she is limitless and her music will continue to play for us all in our hearts."-Frances Schwabenland. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 8, 2013 from 3:00 - 7:00 including a supper, at the Flourtown Country Club, 150 McCloskey Road, Flourtown, PA 19031. Supper reservations may be sent to marilynbday@gmail.com. Her body has been cremated and her ashes will be scattered at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: The Marilyn B. Lemke Memorial Fund http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/the-marilyn-b-lemke-memorial-fund/103660 , which will be used to support breast cancer patients under hospice care at home.
Published in Montgomery Newspapers on Nov. 17, 2013
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