It was an unusually warm November 17th that Marlyn was born at her family home on James Avenue in Yorkton. The doctor and nurse, in attendance, declared her premature, and not likely to survive. Her mother proved them wrong and made sure she did live. Her siblings, Dorothy, Georgina and Bob were pleased with the addition.
Her parents Theodore and Julia (Wrishko) Starr spent a few years in Yorkton before moving to Margo, Saskatchewan. Returning to Yorkton, Marlyn attended Simpson School then graduated grade 12 from the Yorkton Collegiate Institute. At the urging of their high school principal, Marlyn and two classmates boarded the train to Winnipeg. Here she enrolled and earned a 3 year diploma in nursing from the Winnipeg General Hospital in 1957. Mom talked about long work days and a few weekends off. Lifelong friends were made.
She returned to Winnipeg every 5 years to attend their annual class reunions. She was an Alumni member and just read her newsletter last week. She was offered a job at the Winnipeg General, however her mother wanted her close to home and she started her nursing career in Canora Saskatchewan instead.
She joined a group of other new nursing graduates and transitioned from a big city hospital to rural Saskatchewan. She lived in residence and along the way met a salesman named Dennis Wagner. This resulted in marriage on May 2, 1959 at St. Gerard's Church.
They rented an apartment and Marlyn resumed nursing at the Yorkton Airport Auxiliary Hospital, a 50 bed medical facility. She transferred to the new Yorkton Hospital and worked on the Obstetrical Ward. She especially loved working the nursery full of newborns! After the birth of Kevin, they bought a new home on Barbour Avenue, and lived there for almost 60 years. Gardening and fruit trees kept mom busy.
Then Greg and Grant were added to the family. A husband on the road and 3 young children made working difficult. Mom went to her Director of Nursing to tender her resignation. Kay Wood, the Director of Nursing, urged her to not quit, but take a new "temporary" day position in the Emergency Room. This "temporary" job turned into 30 plus years. Long time friendships were forged that remain today. Mom loved nursing and providing care.
Finally getting a drivers license in her thirties gave her much more independence. Marlyn and Dennis enjoyed travel. There were many trips over the years to Hawaii, Mexico, Florida and the Caribbean. They also enjoyed Australian and European tours. Later in life they became regulars on the Casino bus trips to the United States and Winnipeg. Often these trips were with their close-knit group of friends. Many years of camping in a trailer led to having a cottage at Good Spirit. Boating, fishing and snowmobiling were enjoyed, as well as golf and aquacise. Marlyn hosted many family gatherings, most all birthdays included her poppyseed chiffon cakes!
Failing health of chronic vertigo and loss of mobility ultimately forced mom to go to the care home in Canora for a few months, before admission to Country Meadows at the Yorkton and District Nursing Home. This was the same facility that both her parents resided in, and that she spent many hours caring for them before they passed.
She enjoyed reading, TV, playing bingo and going on an occasional trip to Madge Lake and Good Spirit Lake while in the care home. Covid took its toll on all the residents. Family and friends locked out. Isolated in rooms for weeks. Thankfully they were able to resume visits and outings. The activity department was a source of diversion and enjoyment. A weekly hairstyle was valued too.
Our thanks to those individual caregivers at Y.D.N.H. who enjoyed their work and made a positive impact on mom's life the last 4 years. A casual conversation and compassionate caregiving were so appreciated by her!
Mom continued to be supported by her retired ER workmates by visits, phone calls and monthly birthday lunches. On November 17th these cherished friends gathered to celebrate what would be her last birthday.
Marlyn was predeceased by her parents Theodore and Julia. Husband Dennis in 2020. Sister and Brother-in-Law Dorothy and Oscar Gellert. Sister and Brother-in-law Georgina and Alfie Achtymichuk. Brother and sister-in-law Bob and Doreen Starr. Sister-in-law Geraldine Wagner, brother-in-law Garry Wagner. Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law Gerry and Iris Torgunrud.
Left to celebrate her life are son Kevin (Kim) Wagner. Grandson Gage; Granddaughter Tara; Great grandchildren Derek, Cortnee, Alexia and Dominic. Sons Greg and Grant. Brother-in-law Morley (Carol) Wagner. Sister-in-law Moira Wagner. Several nieces and nephews whose visits, phone calls, iPad pictures, and love were so very much appreciated.
“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.”
A funeral service for Marlyn will be held at a later date.
Donations in honour of Marlyn can be made to the Yorkton District Nursing Home, ‘Country Meadows’ activity department.
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