Marilynn Jean Mayer(1923 - 2012)

Marilynn Jean Mayer

Des Moines

Marilynn Jean Mayer, 89, passed away December 24, 2012, at Wesley Acres in Des Moines. Born June 3, 1923, in Reinbeck, Iowa, to Norman and Elizabeth Bower, Marilynn spent her youth in Gladbrook, graduating from Gladbrook High School in 1941. She briefly considered attending art school in Chicago to study fashion design but, instead moved to Des Moines to attend American Institute of Business. She was employed by Bankers Life and Meredith Publishing, among others. She married Fergus Mayer on February 27, 1944, when he was on leave from the Army Air Corps. Together they raised four children, Jeff, Mark, Marshall and Molly. She lost Jeff to cancer in 2005.

Marilynn loved cooking and gardening, art, architecture and fine crafts; she studied architecture and interior design at Drake University, and took classes and was a docent at the Des Moines Art Center. She was an accomplished weaver (and served as president of the Des Moines Weavers Guild), and a knitter. She collected antique furniture, baskets, and ceramics, and shared her husband's interest in fine woodworking. Marilynn and Fergus traveled in Europe after his retirement, with the focus on art, craft and architecture. Her interest in art was passed to and encouraged in her children, all of whom studied and practiced art-making. Her beautiful garden and home and the memorable meals from her kitchen were the expression of her creativity and strong sense of aesthetics.

She is survived by her children, Mark Mayer of Olga, Washington; Marshall Mayer of Helena, Montana; Molly Chandler of Des Moines, Iowa; six grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Fergus, her son Jeff, her sister Virginia, brother Kenneth and her mother and father.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Funeral Home

Hamilton's Funeral Home
121 NW 60th Avenue Des Moines, IA 50313
(515) 289-2442

Published in Des Moines Register on Jan. 6, 2013