Marian Schenkenberger left this world to join her Lord and Savior on the morning of Nov. 28, 2020. She began her earthly journey 92 years earlier, born Clara Marian Olson to Carl and Eloise Olson, on Aug. 24, 1928, in New England, N.D. She was their only child.
They left the family farm in North Dakota during the Dust Bowl years and settled in North Idaho in the late 1930s. After a number of years in Coeur d’Alene and Dalton Gardens, the family moved to Spokane, Wash., where Marian continued her education and graduated from North Central High School in 1946.
A serious bout of rheumatic fever kept her out of school during part of her junior year, and even though she had diligently kept up with her school work at home, her mother had to fight with school officials to allow Marian to take final exams to gain senior status for the next year. It was an uphill battle, but she was ultimately allowed to test, and passed with superior scores.
After high school, Marian completed training at Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1949.
Having established a firm friendship with Laverne Schenkenberger while living in Dalton Gardens years before, she was asked to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of Laverne to Cecil Chariton in 1947. Laverne’s older brother, Calvin, began dating Marian soon after the wedding. Love blossomed and they were married May 27, 1950, living in Kellogg for a year or two before returning to Coeur d’Alene, where they raised three children: Jean, Gary and Lori.
Cal and Marian owned and operated the Cove Bowl bowling alley for many years and hosted and ran the Cove Bowl Invitational Tournament for more than 30 years, which drew bowlers from across the Pacific Northwest. They were together in “the house that Cal built,” until Calvin’s death in 1979, and Marian remained in that house until June 2020.
In the course of her life Marian worked at both Lake City General and Coeur d’Alene General hospitals through the ‘50s and ‘60s, and then at Kootenai Hospital when it opened in 1966. She rose to the position of head surgical scrub nurse and knew most, if not all, the local doctors. She was active in the State Nurses Association, serving a term as state president, and was also honored in 1978 as Idaho Nurse of the Year.
Sometime in the 1970s she began working for Dr. Roy Toyama’s practice, which later became the North Idaho Eye Institute with the addition of Drs. Wold, Moss, Parden, and others who followed. During her career there, a group of doctors and other staff, including Marian, made a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, representing Northwest Medical Teams International, to perform cataract surgeries for people there who had neither access or funds for surgery. She retired in 2007 at the age of 79.
Marian was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church in Coeur d’Alene, and her Christian faith was deeply important to her. She served for a time as a deacon and an elder there, led Bible studies and was active in the ladies’ circles. She was also very involved in the Idaho State Button Society, serving in several capacities at the state and local level.
She enjoyed gardening, bowling, knitting, playing pinochle and cribbage, solving crosswords and cryptographs, time with her large, extended family, and of course, jigsaw PUZZLES. The grandkids knew there would always be a jigsaw puzzle in progress on Grandma's puzzle table!
One of the family’s favorite memories is Marian’s 75th birthday, which she celebrated with her friend and sister-in-law, Laverne, (they were born in the same year, 13 days apart) by parasailing over Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Marian was preceded in death by husband, Cal Schenkenberger, and daughter, Jean Achenbach. She is survived by son, Gary (Gayle) Schenkenberger, and daughter, Lori (John) Gessner, all of Coeur d’Alene. Other survivors include 12 grandchildren, along with their spouses, and 40 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate any memorial donations be sent to Hospice of North Idaho, 2290 W. Prairie Ave., Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815.
A memorial service will be held at a later date when conditions allow.