Marilyn Joyce (Olson) Hessman, 77, went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, September 29, 2018, at her home north of Joy, IL. Following a courageous and inspirational journey of pancreatic cancer, she passed from this life to the next with her loving family singing hymns surrounding her.
From her birth in Burlington, IA, June 13, 1941, to her death on Saturday, she nourished those around her with love, faith, and music. She was born to Lee Olson and Ruth (Noble) Olson. She was the eldest of four children. By the 8th grade, she began playing organ for her church services and continued sharing her music ministry as a church organist for 63 years, playing for countless weddings and funerals for all those she knew and loved. She started a chime choir at St. Patrick’s Catholic church as well, and considered her choir members there, to be extensions of her family.
After graduating high school in 1959, as the last graduating class of the original Joy High School, she attended Western Illinois University with aspirations of becoming a History teacher. After a tractor accident on their family farm claimed the life of her father, Lee Olson, she and her fiancé, Bill Hessman Jr, left college and returned home to help her mother with the farming operation.
On May 1, 1960, in Milan, IL, she married Bill, the love of her life. She chose a second career path and graduated from the Sterling Cosmetology school so that she could operate a beauty shop out of her home and continue to help at the farm.
Bill and Marilyn were blessed with three children, of which she believes were her greatest accomplishment. Throughout the years she also enjoyed a custom wallpaper and painting business with her dear friend, Doris Retherford and in retirement she enjoyed working part-time at the Greer Paint & Paper store in Aledo. She served the community in many facets, those of which include Mercer County Home Extension, an original member of the first Westmer Athletic Booster club, many years as the leader for the Mercer County Wrangler 4-H horse club, and an active member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Simmental Cattle Association, and Cursillo Group #723.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Bill Hessman, Joy, IL, and children Jeff (Nancy) Hessman, Joy, IL, Leanne (Paul) Thomas, Aledo, IL, Jason (Amber) Hessman, Joy, IL. Grandchildren, Cody Hessman (Elaine Hast), Beth (John) Standley, Mara Thomas, Cole Thomas (Kiley Carroll), and Taylor, Tanner & Emily Hessman, Brother, David (Bobbi) Olson, Webster, NY, Sister, Diana Nelson, Ocala, FL, and step sister Karen (Murrel) Sloan, Joy, IL. And sister in law, Bonnie (Bill) Bell, Moline. Her nieces and nephews were an extended sense of joy, as they spent countless days at the farm with her. There are numerous others throughout Marilyn’s life that fondly refer to her as their second Mother and Grandmother, especially Kaitlyn, Courtney and Jessica Stice.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, infant brother, Martin Eugene Olson, father-in-law William Hessman Sr., mother-in-law Helen (Bopp) Hessman and step brother, Warren Castle.
A rosary on her behalf will be recited at Wheelan Pressley Funeral Home, Milan, IL on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at 2:30 pm and the family will greet friends from 3-7 pm following the rosary. A Catholic mass celebration of life will be held on Thursday, October 4, 2018, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Andalusia, IL, at 10:00 AM, followed by burial at the Buffalo Prairie cemetery, and a luncheon and time of fellowship at the St. Patrick church hall.
Marilyn will be remembered as a friend to many, a bright light wherever she served and a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ.
Memorials on her behalf, may be made to the St. Patrick Church Choir, University of Iowa Dance Marathon (benefiting childhood cancer), or the Mercer County Ag Society (Fair Board).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marilyn J. (Olson) Hessman, please visit our floral store.