Marelynn Weiss Zipser
1937 - 2021
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Marelynn Weiss Zipser

May 27, 1937 ~

February 19, 2021

On February 19, 2021, Marelynn Weiss Zipser passed away peacefully at the age of 83. Marelynn was born on May 27, 1937 in Jersey City, N.J. to Georgianna Miles Weiss, a registered nurse, and Theodore Weiss, a teacher in the North Bergen, N.J. public schools. She grew up in North Bergen with her younger sister Carol and graduated from Weehawken High School. She obtained a Bachelor's degree from Douglass College, part of Rutgers University. While at Douglass, Marelynn met Edward Zipser who was attending nearby Princeton University. After Ed and Marelynn married in 1958, they both attended graduate school at Florida State University. In their seven years in Tallahassee, Marelynn earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in food science and nutrition, published two academic papers, and gave birth to two children, Geraldine Miles (Gerry) Zipser, now of Newton MA, and Jacqueline Claire (Jacqui) Zipser, now of Fort Collins, CO.

Ed and Marelynn moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1966, where their two daughters grew up through high school. While Ed was a professional meteorologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Marelynn's career in food science began with part-time teaching at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, then to writing children's textbooks on nutrition for the State of Colorado in Denver, then to quality control for a pickle and salad dressing company in Denver. Finally, she spent twelve years as Director of Product Development and Quality Control for Celestial Seasonings Tea Co. in Boulder. She formulated many new tea blends for the company, including Mandarin Orange Spice, Lemon Zinger, and Cinnamon Rose. She was active in state and local politics and served for several years as a Colorado State Fair commissioner.

Marelynn and Ed enjoyed the outdoors in Colorado and introduced their daughters to the joys (and occasional hardships) of hiking and camping in the mountains all over the West. Marelynn relished finding antiques at garage sales and taught herself how to refinish and reupholster furniture, and even how to cane chairs. She was also skilled at knitting, needlepoint, and embroidery. She was more than a wonderful wife and mother; she was a role model for her two daughters which no doubt contributed to their becoming professional women – both are attorneys – while also raising children of their own. Marelynn was so happy to know her four grandchildren (Gerry's daughters Ruth and Margaret and Jacqui's sons Julian and Adrian) and to watch them grow into wonderful young adults.

Marelynn gave up her own professional life when Ed's meteorology career took them to Texas A&M University in College Station in 1990 and then to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in 1999. In both places she was a tremendous support to Ed. Once settled in Salt Lake City, Marelynn volunteered for the Assistance League, the League of Women Voters, and the University of Utah Women's Club. But she especially appreciated the genealogy resources of the Family History Library. After tracing her own family tree back to the 17th Century, she turned her attention to Ed's ancestors, who came from the part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that is now Slovakia, and became adept at translating records from Hungarian into English. She volunteered for the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and in 2016 received the Volunteer of the Year award for transcribing over 150,000 records (!) for their Hungarian group .

For a long time, Marelynn and Ed enjoyed the cultural advantages of Salt Lake City, attending Utah Symphony, Utah Opera, and Ballet West, as well as offerings at the University of Utah. Marelynn was also up for travel and adventure; in addition to accompanying Ed on his professional travels to meetings in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, she joined in adventure cruises on Russian icebreakers in both the Arctic and Antarctic, visiting all seven continents before she turned 70.

It was with great sadness that Marelynn's family and friends learned of her diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in 2017, and in 2019 it became necessary for her to enter the Memory Care Unit of Capitol Hill Senior Living. Ed, Gerry, and Jacqui want to express their heartfelt thanks to all the caregivers at Capitol Hill who assisted Marelynn through the last difficult twenty months of her life. She is already very much missed, but the happy memories of her wonderful life and of her many, many contributions will live on.

Marelynn was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Carol. She is survived by her husband Ed, daughters Gerry and Jacqui, sons-in-law Jim Allard and Holger Kley, four grandchildren, and brother-in-law Don. In light of COVID-19 restrictions, no services are planned. In lieu of flowers, it would be consistent with Marelynn's volunteer work to donate to either the League of Women Voters of Utah or to the Assistance League of Salt Lake City

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Published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Feb. 24 to Mar. 8, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
March 24, 2021
I worked very closely with Marelynn for four amazing years at Celestial Seasonings. Together, we were responsible for introducing the new tea flavors that allowed the company to grow widely into supermarkets and become a household name in the U.S. Marelynn was superb in her technical, product development, QC, and lab work, and she made an immense contribution to the company. She also told it like it was, straight out, and didn't really care much for or about company politics. How refreshing! She kept us straight so often on what would and wouldn't work. I still recall her sharp, witty sense of humor. Her scientific approach, together with her innovative thinking about how to create foods and solve technical issues, was an inspiration to all who worked with her.

I think I was most taken with her one weekend when she and Ed came to visit at my cabin in northern Colorado. They hiked with us miles to a set of waterfalls, and even climbed rocks above the falls to enjoy cold beer and a view. Along the way, they both took their time to point out flowers and other species and wild growth that had always escaped my attention. This appreciation for nature and our immediate surroundings has remained with me to this day.

Page West
Emeritus Professor, Wake Forest University
North Carolina
Page West
March 24, 2021
I have very fond memories of Marilyn and am very grateful for her significant contribution to Celestial Seasonings through her professionalism and talent in the development of a number of our popular teas. My sincere sympathies to her family for her loss.
John Mancino
March 8, 2021
I am very sorry to hear of Marelynn's passing. I knew her from our association with the Daughters of the American Revolution. She did a great job as treasurer and I was honored to be able to take her place in that role.
Ruth Berrett
March 1, 2021
Marilyn was such an amazing woman. I spent many enjoyable hours with her through the U of Utah Women’s Club. I will cherish those times together. My heartfelt sympathy to Dr Zipser and family. Harriett Gesteland
Harriett Gesteland
February 28, 2021
Shelley and I hope your family has been able to celebrate this week all that Marelynn did for so many others over her lifetime. Our condolences to you, Ed, and your entire family.
John and Shelley
February 27, 2021
It was an honor to know Marelyn through the University of Utah Women’s Club
Wishing her peace in her next adventure, Sending our love to her family, especially her hubby Ed ♥
Leslie Satterfield
February 25, 2021
I did not know her personally, but I know something of who she was because of her indexing work which will anonymously bless countless others for generations to come. What selfless service. Thank you to her family for supporting her in her efforts.
Loretta Walker
February 25, 2021
I wonderful woman. It was my joy to know her through the Jewish Genealogical Society of Utah. Her service to others through indexing of Hungarian records will help generations of people find their families.
Todd Knowles
February 25, 2021
Marelynn was a wonderful, curious, engaging friend. I met her through the University if Utah Women’s Club and always enjoyed our conversations. I will miss her and wish her family the best.
Karen Mauger
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