Marilyn Joyce Kusler, aged 76, of Myrtle Creek, OR, and a South Umpqua High School teacher of 33 years, has provided all of us with a final course on love, grace, and strength in confronting the unknown. Her family surrounded and comforted Marilyn as an overwhelming soft tissue infection in her arm led to her unexpected departure to discover a place more interesting than a Wyoming girl’s first look at the Pacific Ocean.
She was born May 26, 1941, in Buffalo, Wyoming, to Albert Ross and Alice Jane Page, who taught her the pragmatism of life on a homesteader farm and the value of education by building the one room schoolhouse she and her eldest brother attended until the third grade. These hard-working and humble beginnings were the crucible forming her deep compassion for the well-being of others and her cooperative work ethic. Teaching was a profession that allowed her to collaborate with others to solve any problem; care for people; and share the gift of self-awareness where it was needed most, whether in the classroom or outside of school. Marilyn was a no-nonsense instructor who expected students to learn and treat her respectfully. In return, she might surprise you with a mischievous prank or a deadpan quip.
One evening in 1967, an enterprising Allan Kusler contacted Marilyn Page after reading about her in the local newspaper. With a smooth pickup line and promises of free coffee at the 3 J’s Truck Stop, they struck a partnership that would last 48 years. Despite the protests of other community members that said Allan would ruin her life, Marilyn was a supporter of underdogs of all kinds and Allan was her favorite, particularly when she needed to win at card games. Her love and caretaking continued until the last moment she could draw breath and we pray it will bless this world long after we step into the stars.
As a mother, she was committed to parenting children with an awareness of the larger worldview, a strong work ethic, the desire for lifelong learning, and to value all people no matter what their life circumstances. Fiercely loyal and supportive, she loved unconditionally, her family and those that behaved like family.
After her professional retirement, she was a tireless entertainer of grandchildren and caretaker for some very ‘spoiled’ horses, burros, Labradors, cats, deer, and family members. Each is saddened by the impending reduction in calories and treats. She always gave selflessly so others could enjoy themselves.
Her values and her lessons will be carried on by thousands of former students and her favorite people, including her husband, Allan; her sister, Judy Ireland (Carl); brother, Jerry Page; sons, Scott (DeDe) and Darien (Jessica Fieger); nieces, Katie Ireland, Darlene Ireland; grandchildren, Sabrina, Ashley, Nikki, Alysha, Evan (Rachel), Kristina, Braven, Emily, James, and John; plus five great-grandchildren.
She will not be alone. Her eternal journey was preceded by her parents; brother, Ross Page; son, Allan Kusler, Jr. (Shawna); nephew, Patrick Ireland; and second family members, Kenny and Georgia St. Clair.
A service of remembrance will be held on Sunday, July 23, 2017, 11:30 a.m. at the Myrtle Creek Millsite Park Band Shell on Volunteer Way, Myrtle Creek, Oregon. Afterwards, the celebration will continue with food and no-host bar upstairs at the Myrtle Creek Elk’s Lodge located at 106 Main Street (a short walk from the Memorial).
A lover of books over ornamental vegetation, in lieu of flowers, she would be honored that tax- deductible donations be made to: Friends of the Myrtle Creek Library, P.O. Box 910, Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 (Tax ID: 82-0925882).
Special thanks to the staff at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital Acute Care Surgical Staff for their professionalism and expert care.
“In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.” aaa – Khalil Gibran